Is the Peace Process Really Over?

[Arab News-Saudi Arabia] Gwynne Dyer - The last nail was hammered into the coffin of the "peace process" with the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, which flatly rejects the idea of Palestinian and Israeli states living side-by-side. Hamas' seizure of power there last June has effectively split the Palestinian proto-state in two. How can Israel do a deal with Mahmoud Abbas when he only controls the West Bank and cannot deliver Hamas' consent to the deal? Israelis who genuinely want a deal are increasingly reluctant to hand over territory in return for peace, since they cannot be sure that the regimes they are dealing with will stay in power. What if Israel finally gave the Golan Heights back to Syria in return for a peace treaty, and then a few years later President Assad was overthrown by Islamists who repudiated the treaty and remilitarized the Golan? What if the Islamists were to come to power in Egypt? In the 2005 election, the Muslim Brotherhood increased its seats in parliament fivefold, from 17 to 88. One of its promises, if it was elected, was to hold an immediate referendum on the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979. Egyptians would probably vote to cancel the treaty. It really is over: there will be no comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace deal in this decade.

2007-10-23 01:00:00

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