Conflict Israel/Palestine

Posted in Israel / Palestine | 23-Jan-04 | Author: Dieter Farwick

BrigGen(ret.) Dieter Farwick is former Director of Germany’s "Federal Armed Forces Intelligence Office" and
Global Editor-in-Chief of
You might ask: Why again Israel/Palestine?

Because this conflict – closely interrelated with the conflict in Iraq – is one of the two major stumbling blocks on the road to stability in the Middle and Greater Middle East. We cannot turn a blind eye to it just because there is no easy fix in sight. There will be no stability in Iraq without a solution to the Israel/Palestine question – and vice versa. There is no time-out in Israel/Palestine until there is a solution in Iraq. The Israel/Palestine conflict has direct impact to Europe’s security and stability..

“Terrorism” is the common denominator of both conflicts. A failure of the “coalition of the willing” in Iraq would turn Israel’s chances for peace and freedom towards zero. On the other hand, there are some positive signs on the wall.

The military victory in Iraq and the decision of Libya to stop its programme of producing weapons of mass destruction is positive for Israel. In addition, Iran sends mixed signals, but it might very well stop the military side of its nuclear development programme due to the political pressure from USA and Europe. In sum, there is no longer the threat of Israel being hit by long-range missiles launched in Iraq or Libya.

The “road map” to peace in the Middle East is still alive. There are a number of issues, however, that need to be resolved. What would be the status of Jerusalem? What about the “right” of Palestinians to return to Israel? Will the Palestinian authorities be willing and capable to break Hamas? What would be the role of Arafat ? What is behind the idea of a bi-nation state? Are there chances of serious talks with Syria? What will be the effect of the “fence”? Does Sharon have the political will and power to ask the Israeli people to accept a Palestinian state in due course? Are the people in Israel and the “territories” war-tired? What would happen with the “Geneva Accord”?

There are no clear answers to these questions. But there is no excuse for neglecting the Israle/Palestine conflict. The cost of failure would be much higher than that of a smart crisis management. USA must take the lead – this responsibility comes with the prize of being the world’s only superpower. What’s good for Iraq is good for Israel and vice versa.