On Middle East Peace: Is it Possible? [Archives:2000/30/Focus]

July 24 2000

By: Hassan Al-Haifi

It is understandable why President Bill Clinton would like to cap his somewhat glorious Presidency with a final landmark achievement. What historic success could be better than the achievement of the “termination” of the Middle East Conflict? Of course, Mr. Clinton and his advisers know that this is no easy task. The problems are many and complex and are not solely tied to the people directly involved. It should not be surprising that the President, despite his direct mediation efforts, will find that: “They just could not agree!”However, in retrospect at Bill Clinton’s historic achievements, personally and politically, it is not difficult to visualize why it would be obvious for the President of the United States to feel that if there is any President who can achieve this goal of “lasting” peace in the region, it is he. Further delays in the effort would make the task even harder and perhaps more unpleasant for all those concerned.
No one with any inkling or knowledge of the complexity of the Middle East problem can fail to understand that there are bound to be difficult hurdles to overcome to achieve this “end to the problem”. There are so many diverse viewpoints as to what is right and what is wrong, or who is right and who is wrong. Perhaps for the Americans, the question becomes more in the line of: What is there for us if it goes this way or that? What have we done to let it become so difficult and how do we reduce the burden this problem has been to us, as taxpayers and as a global superpower?
For some reason, it would not be hard to think that for the Palestinians, the only hope they have in the near future of at least being listened to is to take advantage of the role that Mr. Clinton can play. Timing is crucial in any problem, and for this problem its significance is of profound importance. Mr. Clinton is not due for reelection and one of his goals is to bring an “end” to this problem. If he has succeeded in reaching most of the goals in his presidency, this one was the most difficult to work towards. He had hoped that there should be no problem, given the high degree of influence the United States enjoys in the region and the significant degree of arm-twisting it can do. He did not wait until the end, but met up with a difficult obstacle in the form of Former Prime Minister “Bibi” Natanyahu, who probably has no idea what the word peace means and who has absolutely no desire of even sitting alongside Palestinians in a negotiating table, let alone share borders or water with them. Mr. Clinton was bound to have difficulties from Zionists in Israel as well as in the United States, as US Zionist instigators sought to make his Presidency difficult by financing such sleazy projects as the “Monica Lewinsky Affair”. It is no secret matter, that it had the support of a “Mrs. Goldberg and her son”, who reportedly own a publishing firm in New York, and who appeared on numerous occasions on the Larry King Live Show on CNN to explain their patriotic deeds to the American public. This financing included a US $ 500,000 payment to Linda Tripp and other wishy-washy under the table payments that were obvious intentions to ensure that Mr. Clinton bear in mind that “Big Brother” is watching and working very well in the United States.
But to the dismay of the Starr Group and perhaps Mrs. Goldberg and her friends, Mr. Clinton managed to overcome the problem, because he was lucky enough to keep his Presidency functioning in top gear and producing record breaking achievements on the domestic economic front that just could not be so easily forsaken by a little pornography “under the table”.
With that over with, Mr. Clinton was not to be overtaken with the Netanyahu problem either. On election time, he sent his top strategists and consultants to Israel to ensure that Natanyahu was not to be reelected. Surely, Mr. Netanyahu was not to be allowed to continue to make a mockery of American diplomacy. For sure, Ehud Barak is aware of this and a lot of the difficulties that the Israeli position is getting to confront in a world of rapid satellite communications and digital flow of information, where it is almost difficult to maintain a monopoly on the image that the media should project on Israel Ð it is difficult to lie forever! One the other hand the Arabs of the 2nd Millennium are not the Arabs of the 20th Century, although they are far from being at their best. They do have a better understanding of how the Zionist machinery works and they do have a better mastery of getting a point across on the international airwaves. Moreover the world now has a better idea of the real kind of people we are dealing with here on the turf where prophets and messengers roamed for thousands of years trying to deliver the message of peace and salvation. The previous image of do-good pioneers and kibitzers who came to turn the dessert into a Garden of Eden and all that fancy fairy tale image that the Israeli colonizers are projected with. The world has also seen that the Israelis are not the invincible Rambos they have previously been projected as being. In fact they were no match for a meager force of 500 Lebanese fighters, who were able to give them a harder time than what the combined Arab Armies could not do for five decades!
One other important issue to take note of is that the Israelis are fully aware that the general populations of the entire Arab World have no illusions about peace with what they regard as an evil thorn, even if all the Arab leaders sign the peace agreements with “their blood”. Therefore it is not in their interests to prolong the peace they can scrounge out of an existing Arab leadership, that most Arabs regard as pawns anyway, at least to give some semblance of legitimacy to their being!
Therefore, Mr. Barak and Mr. Arafat are bound to contemplate all these issues as well as the play-on-maps and other intricacies that are involved in the peace making effort. On the other hand, Mr. Arafat will not find a more lucrative opportunity to get his post office box maintained and to declare the “Palestinian State”. Mr. Barak has to come home to a Zionist fired up constituency that is fearful that for intents and purposes, the Promised Land will not reach its full dimensions Ð at least not in the near future. He is bound to be confronted by gong-ho Zionists, who are going to ask him: “What are you and us here for? It is Eretz Israel – and all the other corny biblical myths that the Zionist demagogues preach – or nothing!
More on Middle East “peace” next issue.
On the Ethiopian Ð Eritrean War:
While not much further can really be added to clarify the different issues involved in the conflict, it goes without saying that, thanks to God, the guns have ceased and that the negotiating table (and Common Sense) have become the forums for exchanging views and expressing the claims and counterclaims of the antagonists in the conflict. While it was not the intention of the observer to cause ill feelings among any of the protagonists, nor to pass judgements on the rights and wrongs of the issue, it was and still is the view of this observer, and it seems to be national policy, we have gotten accustomed to here in Yemen, that governments must pursue every effort possible to avoid the terrible consequences of armed conflict. There is no dispute in the matter Ð that armed bloodshed, especially on territorial disputes, produces no real winners. Judging from this war and all the other wars that have occurred it is the general population that suffer the most and they are always losers, even if they are on the winning side.
Speaking on behalf of myself and presumably sharing the views of the editorial management of the YT, in this respect, I would like to express my appreciation to both Their Excellencies, the Eritraean Ambassador and the Ethiopian Ambassadors for providing our readers with greater insights as to the different positions of both countries. We all sincerely hope that the peace can be maintained and that the well being and prosperity of the peace-loving Ethiopian and Eritrean shall be the main concern of all involved.