Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Gabrielle Rifkind: The man to sell peace to the Middle East

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Israel/Palestine Donate to DU
 
bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 07:03 PM
Original message
Gabrielle Rifkind: The man to sell peace to the Middle East
---

Since Hamas's electoral victory in 2006, Western governments, lobbied by Israel, have insisted that the organisation should not be engaged with unless it fulfils three conditions: recognising Israel, giving up violence, and accepting all previous political accords. As Mitchell showed in Ireland, a subtle and nuanced approach can work. The IRA refused to recognise the British government but still engaged in a peace process that led to the end of violence. Mitchell recognised that preconditions closed doors, and the real skill is to draw groups into the political process and then encourage them to act more responsibly.

The Middle East conflict is much more complex than the one in Northern Ireland, and involves many more players. But there are still lessons that can be learnt. There were several false starts in Northern Ireland where attempts were made by the moderates to engage with one another while excluding the more hard-line voices. Breakthrough came only once it was acknowledged that it was necessary to bring in the more extreme voices. With both Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party now in a coalition, history shows that stability comes by incorporating these voices.

The Northern Ireland peace process also emphasises the limits of conditionality. In 1995, under John Major, the British government insisted negotiations could not go any further unless the IRA disarmed. In 1996, Mitchell recommended decommissioning should be carried out in parallel with the peace talks and not before. Here again there are important lessons to be learnt with Hamas. Until there is some sense of security and stability for the people of Gaza, they will do their utmost to arm themselves, not least because of the devastating consequences of the recent Israeli attack.

Key to the negotiations in Northern Ireland was the establishment of a standing conference. The parties met three days a week for seven years. Such a structure is just as necessary in this conflict, but a tighter time-frame is needed. This would have to be done in consultation with all those involved. Time is running out, and any long-term horizon would make all the parties despair. The international community has a responsibility to put this framework for talks in place. A long-term ceasefire needs to be negotiated before the talks both in the West Bank and Gaza, and the presence of international troops may be necessary on the borders.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/gabri...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Israel/Palestine Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC