Middle East tragedy

2009-01-08 00:00

Many observers must despair of any constructive solution being found for the current renewed conflict between Israel and Gaza in the Middle East. The area seems to be trapped in an endless cycle of violence and intransigence on both sides, with occasional truces that do not last.

Yet with the right qualities of statesmanship and the willingness on both sides for a measure of compromise, the conflict is resolvable and a just peace between Israel and Palestine is possible. There was a time when many thought that such a solution in South Africa was out of the question. The same pessimism existed in regard to Northern Ireland. If negotiated solutions could be found in these situations of entrenched conflict, the same could be true in the Middle East.

In his feature on this page yesterday, columnist Allister Sparks recalled a media interview given by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the day after his resignation in September last year. Olmert openly stated that the solution lay in withdrawing from virtually all the territories occupied at the time of the 1967 war as a basis for making peace. Here was a politician who had just left the party-political arena, using his new-found freedom to speak the truth as he genuinely saw it.

Circumstances required Olmert to return as prime minister in a caretaker capacity until the Israeli elections in February. Ironically, in response to the recent Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel, he has presided over the military assault on Gaza causing disproportionate death and destruction. The solution he held out less than four months ago has become a distant memory. The politicians are looking to their prospects in the next election and the Gaza conflict has played into their hands.

Olmert’s proposed solution is ultimately the only way to go, although it will leave undecided the fragile question of the future of Jerusalem. The time has come for the international community to make a plan for this city of conflict to be internationally governed and managed in the interests of all parties. This could be at least a temporary arrangement until, in the new atmosphere of a settled peace, a permanent solution could be found.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.