77236ER, I say this topic is not sensible for one simple reason; you're putting ALL the onus, ALL the responsibility, and ALL the wight on Israel to do end this conflict. But all tthe onus, responsibility and wight IS NOT on Israel. The Palestinians and Arabs MUST share some of the burden here, or there will never be peace.
Let's look at some points on this conflict, from what I think is your perspective.
1. Israel needs to withdraw from the Occupied Territories.
Ok, fair enough. I have no argument with that. Yet should they have to under the wieght of almost daily suicide attacks, which are most likely eminating from WITHIN the Occupied areas? Israel does have a right to national security, as does any nation, so would the Israeli government be responsible-TO ITS CITIZENS, if they simply withdrawl when the certainty of attacks will still be there?
2. Israel should curtail, if not completely stop, any military attacks against Palestinians.
If there were no attacks against Israeli citizens, I would agree with you 100 percent. Yet I sense a double-standard. If virtually any other nation on the planet was being besieged by these suicide attacks, we would probably descend like a pack of dogs on any nation that DIDN'T TRY TO DEFEND IT'S CITIZENS, as Israel is trying to do. It's all well and fine, and in the best spirit of peace, to demand Israel stop military attacks, but when there are daily attacks upon Israeli citizens, it isn't very pragmatic, is it?
3. Israel needs to get rid of Sharon.
I have absolutely no argument with that. Sharon was a warrior, much like Menacham Begin was, yet unlike Begin, Sharon seems incapable of living in a world where Arab and Jews can live in Peace. Begin had that vision, and he forged a peace with Egypt. Sharon isn't capable of that, and he needs to be replaced as Israeli Prime Minister, or there'll never be peace. Yet such a change won't take place under the current conditions.
Now, let's look at the Arab/Palestinian side. What do THEY need to do to foster a better climate?
1. Yassir Arafat needs to go. Whatever usefullness he once had towards building a peace, has been shot to hell. He had a chance to see the formation of a Palestinian state a few years back, and, under pressure from hard-liners on his side, he tossed it out the window. Despite his protestations to the contrary, he did not do enough to stop the attacks on Israel, that were coming from areas his Authority controlled. It's time, like in the case of Sharon, to find someone with a greater vision for peace.
2. The Arab League must come out publically and condemn the suicide attacks against Israel as immoral and hurtful to the Palestinian cause.
It's disingenuous of the Arabs, during the last Arab League Summit, to cry about Israeli "crimes" and Israeli "aggression", when on the day the Saudi's proposed a peace plan, 20 Jews were blown up by a nut, and no mention was made of it at the summit. The moral outrage they showed kind of rang hollow that day, when 20 Jews died. That simply can't go on. The violence will NEVER cease against Israel UNTIL the Arabs take a stand against the violence on BOTH sides. Then the Arabs must use their resources, as Arabs and Muslims, to put pressure to dismantle groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
3. Jeruselem needs to be declared an "Open City" in which neither Israel or a future Palestine has authority over it.
That simply has to be the case. Both sides claim it. But both sides can't have it, and you'll never have a peace if one side is awarded it at the expense of the other. Make it an Open City-a Holy City, where the 3 great Faiths Of The Book reside. Maybe a little utopian on my part? Perhaps, but how else can this one sticking point ever be solved.
Now, THAT, I think is a bit more sensible. Israel does have to change it's attitudes, no doubt, but so do the Palestinians. If some of the steps I've mentioned aren't taken, you'll never see a peace.
I welcome your comments.