Thursday, February 16, 2006

Living Together - In Spite of Everything

As the world struggles with how to deal with the Hamas-dominated government that will emerge in Ramallah in Palestine shortly, Henry Kissinger has added his experience and voice to the debate.

It's hardly surprising that his recommendations takes some indirekt distance from much of what seems to be dominating the international discourse over the issue. While there are speculations that the US and Israel would work together to destabilize any Hamas-dominated government - reports subsequently denied - he focuses on the need for some sort of regulated living together during a long period ahead.

That is in all probability a more realistic approach.

And he does not rule out that Hamas over time will undergo the same political evolution that Ariel Sharon has done - in his case from Greater Israel to a two-state solution, in their case from One Palestine to a two-state solution.

He focuses on the need for an agreed interim framework between the two. They would simply agree informally to put aside their ultimate demands for the time being, and Israel would have to withdraw from most of the West Bank. Kissinger also recommends that the issue of East Jerusalem - perhaps the most difficult of them all - is also put aside for the foreseeable futute.

"A possible outcome of such an effort could be an interim agreement of indefinite duration. Both sides would suspend some of their most intractable claims on permanent borders, on refugees, and perhaps on the final status of the Arab part of Jerusalem."

"Israel would withdraw to lines based on the various formulas evolved since Camp David and endorsed by American presidents. It would dismantle settlements beyond the established dividing line."

"The Hamas-controlled government would be obliged to a renunciation of violence. It would also need to agree to adhere to agreements previously reached by the PLO. A security system limiting military forces on the soil of the emerging Palestinian state would be established.

It's an approach that is constructive, although the devil on issues like these always stick in the details.

But as the starting point of a debate on a more realistic approach in the present situation it is certainly worth more than considering. Posted by Picasa