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What did you do today, to promote peace?

Shopping for a Peace Plan

Ksenia Svetlova

It seems that recently the Middle East is being overwhelmed with a flow of various peace initiatives of different kinds. There are so many that it is becoming hard to keep track of them. It is likely that even right now, somewhere in the world, another prospective peace plan is being presented.

And they just keep on coming; apparently because the Middle East is blessed with so many people eager to achieve a just peace between the two nations and care enough to invest their hearts and minds into forging new variations of a future peace agreement.

Here are some examples of existing initiatives that are being offered today to both sides (not in alphabetical order).

There is, of course, the master plan of all the Road Map, whose time of death has already been declared once or twice, but luckily enough the kind American doctor has insisted on resuscitating it time after time.

There are the Geneva Accords a somewhat controversial plan that was signed just a few months ago, but since then, forgotten by many. The architects are talking about presenting it at the Arab League summit next month maybe then will it remind the world of its existence.

But then again the engineers of the Geneva Accords, Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, will have to compete for attention from participants with the author of yet another overall peace plan the Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah.

After two years of silence, he has also decided to revive his plan, known as the Saudi initiative, which is going to be the main subject at the gathering in Tunisia.

Along with Beilin-Abed Rabbo initiative there is of course the Ayalon-Nuseibeh peace plan--practically its twin brother. These guys have succeeded in gathering about 100,000 supporters for the plan, and that was the last we heard from them. Either the two are just getting ready for their big move (just a thought) or it’s just being put on shelf with all the peace initiatives.

Not long ago the Syrian president, deeply concerned with the future of the region, pulled from his sleeve a plan of his own. It made some flashy headlines in newspapers…and was forgotten before long to clear the way for new, bright, shiny and prosperous peace plans, like the Naif Hawatme’s plan the hottest offer in town.

Each of the plans mentioned here have their good points and bad points.

Each one has its supporters and opponents. But eventually the ultimate goal of all of them is peace in the region. Ironically, instead of joining hands and trying to reach some common ground, the architects of these plans are too busy pulling the blanket for only themselves and slamming each other.

Maybe this over-production of peace plans results in apathy from the public. Peace plans are being advertised and promoted as if they were designer clothes. And they are treated as such by the public: if it doesn’t fit you throw it away!

This is how it goes these days: a new plan is initiated; there is huge public relations company to promote it, then there is the presentation, the dinner, and sometimes even guests of honor from all over the world. But what happens after the glamorous party is over when the lights go out and it is time to get to the dirty work on the ground? The plan is just thrown away as “unrealistic”, “too difficult”, or “doesn’t fit reality”. And then it goes to the recycling bin with the rest of the half-used products of a consumer society.

So instead of wasting time and money on new plans, which are very similar anyway, one should think of uniting the existing ones and evolving them into an ultimate product, which will unify the peace camp, rather than dividing it. Stopping the crazy bloodshed in the region should be the highest priority, not competing for publicity and glamour. Take peace out of the recycling bin!

The writer is an Israeli columnist for the Russian-language newspaper Novosty Nedeli and an Arab affairs reporter for Israel Plus, Russian-language TV.

Source: AMIN.org, February 25, 2004, http://amin.org/eng/index.html

With Friends Like These

M.J. Rosenberg, Director of Policy Analysis for Israel Policy Forum and former editor of AIPAC’s (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Near East Report, reflects on a recent poll outlining Israeli viewpoints on the current state of affairs and Israeli perceptions of their government’s policies. (Source: Israel Policy Forum, February 20, 2004)

An Animated Discussion of Peace

With the help of Italian officials and artists, a group of Israeli and Palestinian high school students is working to transform the landscape of violence into a “Technicolor fairy tale”. In the fable, a Palestinian and an Israeli teenager are taken on journeys through scenes of terrorism and war, while transforming each scene into one of joy and peace. (Source: Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2004)

William Fisher:

U.S. Jews and Foreign Policy
William Fisher discusses the world’s misrepresentation of the U.S. Jewish community’s broad range of political and religious viewpoints which, according to the author, does potentially represent a substantial reservoir of goodwill for Palestinian aspirations...

Common Ground News Service February 20, 2004
CGNews promotes constructive perspectives and dialogue about current Middle East issues.

From the Common Ground News Service
hagalil.com 22-02-2004



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