Opinions

Removing irritants is a must to end conflict

FireShot 01012015 - 212352 - 543

The Israeli generals who wrote the letter to Netanyahu seem to be sincere in their appeal because they have seen that armed conflicts couldn’t solve such complicated issues. During the past several decades, all parties made many mistakes and lost many chances to end the conflict.

The Israeli generals who wrote the letter to Netanyahu seem to be sincere in their appeal because they have seen that armed conflicts couldn’t solve such complicated issues. During the past several decades, all parties made many mistakes and lost many chances to end the conflict.

By Abdulateef Al-Mulhim | arabnews | November 5, 2014

A few hundred yards away from where I live, stands a huge blue and yellow building with four letters written on the simple façade, IKEA. My family likes to shop from the store but there is a string attached to it. I don’t mind visiting the place and buying from there but I have made it clear that I should not be bothered about assembling the goods purchased from that store. I pay for it but religiously avoid playing any role in the assembling phase.

I had always viewed assembling an IKEA product to be the most complicated thing in the world. Interestingly, last week Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told his Swedish counterpart that the Middle East was more complicated than self-assembly furniture at IKEA. The question that naturally comes to one’s mind is: What strategy to adopt in the face of a complicated situation? The obvious answer is: One attempts hard to simplify the problem by removing hurdles or complicated issues to reach a solution. It is unwise to delay, as it only aggravates a situation.

One has to agree with Lieberman that Middle East is very complicated. But, let us face the reality of how long do we have to wait before the concerned parties seriously sit down and try to solve the Middle East’s agonizing problem called the Palestinian- Israeli conflict?

During the last two weeks, the media outlets were flooded with analysis and commentaries on the issue calling for a just and viable solution to the problem once and for all. Actually Swedish recognition of the State of Palestine has added a new dimension to the issue. Such a move from a western country was bound to attract global attention. As expected, it has created ripples in major world capitals, particularly in Israel.

I think that Sweden did not only recognize the Palestinian state but it also put the Israelis and the Palestinians to the test. In other words, Sweden has posed a billion-dollar question to both sides: How serious are the two parties to achieve lasting peace?

Following Swedish recognition of Palestinian state, many in Israel termed the Swedish move premature. Ironically, few days after Sweden’s recognition, an Israeli newspaper reported the largest-ever joint protest by senior Israeli security personnel, a group of 106 retired generals, Mossad directors and national police commissioners in which they all signed a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to “initiate a diplomatic process” based on a regional framework for peace with the Palestinians.

The campaign was initiated by a former Armored Corps commander, reserve Maj. Gen. Amnon Reshef. He told Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth that he was “tired of rounds of fighting every few years instead of a genuine effort to adopt the Saudi initiative.” The reserve major general was referring to 2002 Saudi-backed peace initiative.

Today, most people on both sides want lasting peace. Many, however, wonder whether it would be based on one or two states. And who should make the initiative to restart a serious peace negotiation. I think the first step to do it is to stop all forms of armed conflicts and all forms of violence because violence can’t go on forever. The two parties can either ask for a global conference to discuss the issue and then both sides should themselves come up with a solution. Resolution of this issue needs courage from both the Palestinians and the Israelis to draw a road map for the future generations.

The Israeli generals who wrote the letter to Netanyahu seem to be sincere in their appeal because they have seen that armed conflicts couldn’t solve such complicated issues. During the past several decades, all parties made many mistakes and lost many chances to end the conflict.

We all know that the Palestinian State has no definite borders or no one knows how can it be administered because of the geographical separation between Gaza Strip and the West Bank, but both the Palestinian and Israelis should look at Sweden’s recognition of a Palestinian State from different angles and use it to launch peace efforts afresh. Most important thing is to end the agony and misery of the forgotten Palestinians — the refugees.

Abdulatif-Al-Mulhim 655Abdulateef Al-Mulhim is a retired Commodore in the Royal Saudi Navy and a journalist.