Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories
According to recent polls in both Israel and the West Bank, both Israeli and Palestinian populations are looking to see Hamas step up to the plate in negotiations. But that might not be enough to make Hamas willing to resurface in the West Bank just yet.
Two days ago, the Israel Dialogue Institute released a poll saying that over half of the Israeli public wants to see Hamas brought into negotiations if it recognized Israel (See Reuters’ story here).
A Ha’aretz article said, “it turns out that the majority of the public – 57% – supports the view of (Knesset member) Shaul Mofaz of (Israeli centrist party) Kadima, who published a plan earlier this week, in which he called for dialogue with Hamas under certain conditions. Inside Kadima the idea has tremendous support by some 72 percent of the party’s voters.”
Today marks the 14th anniversary, according to the Hebrew calendar, of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination on Nov. 4, 1995, a day that many Israelis consider a stark reminder of political and religious fissures that have yet to be healed.
Rabin was shot in Tel Aviv at a rally to garner support for the Oslo Accords. His assassin, Yigal Amir, had a religious and right-wing background and rejected Rabin’s peace initiatives.
Want to know how it feels to be George Mitchell, President Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East? Try getting from Jerusalem to Ramallah on a typical weekday at the rush hour. And experience stalemate, frustration, competitive selfishness, blind fury and an absence of movement that even the most stubborn and blinkered of West Bank bus drivers might see as a metaphor for the peace process that is going nowhere fast right now.
It took me 2 full hours to drive the 100 metres (yards) or so from the Israeli military checkpoint in the West Bank barrier around Jerusalem to reach the relatively open main street through Qalandiya refugee camp, the gateway to Ramallah. The reason? Well, at its simplest it’s traffic chaos caused by anarchy, a vacuum of law and order. Look further, as with much else in the Middle East, and you get a conflicting and contrasting range of explanations.