Something new on The West Coast

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reached a truce

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a truce in the years-long conflict in the Middle East and agreed to mutual concessions. Footage from their historical handshake toured the world with hope, but doubt that violence in the region will be stopped. Agreement between the two leaders as a result of their meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh was identified as historic because for the first time since the start of the Palestinian intifada a commitment to end the bloodshed that killed more than 4,000 people.
The two leaders signed a formal cease-fire, considered sufficient either party to make a statement about it. Ariel Sharon committed Israel to cease all military operations against Palestinian targets in response to the cessation of violence by radical Palestinian groups and said it was ready to release most of the Palestinian prisoners. Mahmoud Abbas, in turn, announced that there will be more Palestinian attacks against Israelis wherever they are located, and stressed that it is time for peace.
The key point for the success of the agreement continues to be associated, on the one hand, the reaction of the armed Palestinian groups and the other – with the actions of the opponents of the Armistice by the ruling Israeli party “Likud”. Ariel Sharon made the explicit statement that its agreement with Mahmoud Abbas, not terrorist groups engaged in suicide bombings, and so effectively transfer the responsibility for the control of their actions entirely on the Palestinian president. Determination Abbas suggested that the president has supported the ceasefire by Palestinian factions, but recent events have shown that this will be a difficult process.
Day after the agreement, the leaders of the armed Palestinian groups “Hamas” and “Islamic Jihad” said it did not recognize agreements between Abbas and Sharon. Spokesman “Hamas’ Osama Hamdan said declarations ceasefire are not binding on the group and urged Abbas to fulfill his promise – the parameters of the armistice to be bound by the preliminary vatreshnopalestinski dialogue. Leaders of the “Islamic Jihad” was also adamant that what happened is nothing new and do not see how it will change the ceasefire situation without their consent.


The reaction of the armed Palestinian groups set once again to test the resources of political dialogue to achieve peace in the region and the question how long the truce would last, if provocation from either side. According to the renowned architect of many of the previous Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements Yossi Beilin, “if such violence erupt, the participants in this peace process need to see the bigger picture and to prevent a return to the vicious circle of terrorism and revenge.”
Notwithstanding a moderate optimism with which the agreement was discussed by the observers, all international media indicate that the situation in the region has changed. Factors for this are the death of Yasser Arafat and the nature of the new Palestinian leadership and a more proactive approach by Washington to achieve international peace plan, which envisages the creation of an independent Palestinian state in 2005
Indeed, the agreement between Sharon and Abbas announced the day after the visit to the region of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. “This is the best chance for peace we will have in the next few years,” said Rice, who continues her tour of Europe. According to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder a cease fire is “modest but significant step forward.” A British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the incident taken with caution because of the fact that the Middle East conflict there have been many false hopes. Diplomatic efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East process will continue with the summit on 1 March in London between the United States, European Union, Russia and the UN.


Sevda Shishmanova

Журналист в новините, актуалните и публицистични предавания на БНТ. Репортер, международен кореспондент, коментатор, ръководител на екип и автор на документални филми. Автор на статии във вестник “Капитал”. Режисьор и продуцент.



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