[email protected]: Jonathan Fryer – What Hope for the Middle East?

Over at Society Today, Lib Dem blogger and London candidate for the European Parliament Jonathan Fryer examines the prospects for peace in the troubled region. Here’s an excerpt:

… the prognosis for the future need not necessarily be as grim as the pessimists fear. First and foremost, the arrival of Barack Obama in the White House should provide a whole new dynamic to the Washington-Tel Aviv axis. In the past, US administrations – including that of George W Bush – have allowed Israel to get away with murder, literally and figuratively. That has included the ongoing expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in defiance of international law, the expropriation of Palestinian land and uprooting of olive groves, the assassination of prominent Hamas and other political figures and the daily harassment and humiliation of large segments of the Palestinian population, not least those who need to commute into Israel for work.

President Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, have made it clear that while they will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself from aggression and terrorism, the incoming Israeli government cannot expect a blank cheque. There has to be new impetus given to the floundering Middle East peace process and the Obama administration has acknowledged what many in Europe have been arguing for some time, namely that Israel and Hamas have got to talk. Behind the scenes, discreet contacts have indeed been going on, with Egyptian mediation. Despite the huge setback of the Gaza invasion, those contacts must be restarted and reinforced. …

Alas, the EU’s policy on the Middle East has so far lacked much coherence, because of the wide divergence of views in various member states’ capitals. The EU certainly has a role in promoting Middle East peace – as it has demonstrated by funding much of the infrastructure in the Palestinian territories, for example – but if it is to maximise its impact as a mediator and facilitator, it needs to get its own act together first.

You can read the article in full HERE.

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This entry was posted in Europe / International and LibLink.
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