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Gaza and the Plight of the Palestinians

June 18, 2007 1:44 AM
Palestine - A Distant Dream?

Palestine - A Distant Dream

The recent escalation of violence in the Gaza is another tragedy that has befallen the long-suffering Palestinian people. Recent aggressive stances by Fatah and reaction by Hamas has meant that civil war is now a fact on the ground. Added to this, Israeli press agencies have been publicising comments by senior cabinet members in the Israeli Government on the possible invasion of Gaza. These stories and probing statements by cabinet members and Government spokespeople in Israel means that an invasion is imminent and will mean further bloodshed in an area that is mired with the pain, misery and the blood of so many innocents.

We were told by the outgoing Prime Minister - Tony Blair that one of the trade-offs for his support on the war in Iraq was that a resolution on the Israel / Palestine question would be high on the agenda within the US administration. It was even sold like that to Palestinians - (both Christian and Muslim religious leaders in 2003) when Tony Blair visited Israel and Jerusalem. Yet, 4 years on there is little chance of a solution and the road-map looks in tatters. In fact, there is virtually no road map left!

So where does the plight of the Palestinians go from here? A proud race, they deserve leadership that ensures that the wider world can be engaged with and that no more boycotts are placed on them. This does not mean giving up on the vision of a future Palestinian state within Gaza and the West Bank with East Jerusalem as its capital, though it means stable and effective leadership and governance that is inclusive and driven by policies that reflect the desire of the Palestinian people whilst also taking into account regional sensitivities. The Palestinians deserve strong leadership that can overcome many obstacles in their way and isolationism (self-imposed or imposed on them), is not the way to a sustainable and successful future.

I do hope that I am proved wrong in the next few weeks, though a gut instinct tells me that many more will die and Gaza will be on the front-line of an Israeli attack that will cost further lives. I wait for the day when Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians can resolve matters through open and genuine talks rather than through the barrel of a gun!