A Flotilla Lesson For The Middle East Summit

Last week saw the real test on the resolve of the World to see through a Middle East Peace settlement in this generation. It was known as the Flotilla, and it sailed within our very gaze into the troubled waters of
the Gaza strip expecting to be welcomed by the open arms of the much trumpeted
2-state solution. Instead it was awakened by the rude reality that this
beautiful dream had not yet taken off concretely enough to form a shield of
defense against the status quo of injustice in Gaza.


What went wrong? Why is the United States not forth coming in condemnation of the brutal murder of flotilla ‘citizens’ in international waters? Why did the US Vice President support Israel? What is the need for
President Osama’s Promise to increase Aid to Gaza on receiving Palestinian
President Abbas? People have continued to query in the last weeks. We need to
look at the problem dispassionately here to figure out what is going on here.


In my last article on how to bring back peace to the Middle East, I made it clear that the Two- state solution is the last chance for peace in the Middle East in this generation. I explained that it requires both sides
to make sacrifices in terms of softening their religious intransigence because
there will be no victory for any side in the basis of religious claims and exclusivity.
What was needed was a secular solution based on internationally acceptable
legal framework operating in the two states. Unfortunately the United States
seem to have moved too slowly in educating the two sides on what the new will
bring and require to take off.


In natural law when you make pronouncements you have to follow with action at a certain time lag or the action will follow you anyway when the time arrives. This is what happened with the Flotilla. After his Cairo
Egypt speech which was well received by the Arab world President Obama was given
a benefit of doubt by the Arab World to deliver peace to the Middle East. The
two state solutions was publicized and accepted in principles by the two sides
but what got delayed was the formal agreement in a summit because each side
permitted unnecessary conditions to divert their gaze. This situation exposed
both side’s intransigence arising from deep sited religious divide. For the
Palestinians the occupation of Gaza as well as Israeli housing was played up as
if it was a new event. It was as if there was no status quo ante to consider. Already Palestinian forgot that two
state solution was a proposal not yet a reality. There was no reason for
insistence on stoppage of the housing project before talks. It only placed
spanner on the wheels. It was presumptuous of territorial sharing which could
only occur after the talks. After all, the talks could come out with a
resolution for Israel to forfeit their housing to Palestine in good faith.


On the side of the Israelis there was no reason for attempting to drive away Palestinians from East Jerusalem insisting it remains Israeli capital. Such tactics remain too harsh for solving modern problems. Can
Israel stop the existence of other faiths within its bothers? Is this not an
old style? It is akin to making New York exclusive for New Yorkers and what
level of development in a Global world are achievable stands to be seen. So
Israel should drop its unwritten precondition that only Jews should occupy East
Jerusalem.


Now the flotilla has arisen from the condensation of the spiritually negotiated peace into material form despite intellectual delays from both sides. It was a mobilization that worked but not understood at its
time. The President Obama Promise to resolve the issue has taken on a life of
its own in the internationally supported push to stop further blockage of Gaza
by adjourning countries. You can see that this event built up slowly and
everyone knew its outcome but no one seems to want it stopped because they
hoped it will push America to hasten its promise. Unfortunately, America was
also involved in the security of Israel and could not jeopardize it by condemning
their effort at self defense knowing that the status quo had not changed.


The dilemma remains that of America to fulfill its pledge before the peace euphoria wanes. I am confident that America has all it takes to get the two sides into a conference to make peace and the world is counting
on her. The flotilla example should not be lost on the two sides because now
the world is impatient for the commencement of international legal mandate in
the two states. I say two states because there can only be two States of such
proximity defined by a common legal international framework and enforcement for
peace to reign. The clamor for proper internationally recognized inquiry into
the killings is only a sign of the above conclusion. Israeli disregard of this
call and later insistent on setting up its own probe is a message to the World
that you don’t change an existing scenario only by wishing it. There is need
for the two sides to come out more willing to make concessions. For Israel,
knowing that its military reliance has become an extant strategy in a
communication age, also knowing that religious exclusivity has become outmoded
an idea, there is need to update strategy and
make more friends. To Palestine and the Arab world, you need not
initiate war in your soil by being intransigent about religion. Love your
neighbor as your self and don’t wipe out your enemy as a pathway to victory. As
long as you harbor thoughts outside ‘live and let live’ with Israel, you invite
your worst fears to come true in your backyard. Mankind cannot choose who
should be his neighbor because he does not create human beings or Nations.
Therefore embrace this last opportunity to concretize the beneficent two -State
solution so that at last peace will reign in the Middle East.


Mr. Nworisara, an International Affairs Analyst aspired to be President of Nigeria in 1992


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