Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
from Tales from the Trail:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly referred to them as "veterans" of the Middle East peace process.
That description is probably one thing everyone can agree on. The process to bring Israelis and Palestinians to a lasting peace agreement has been going on for decades and every U.S. president hopes he's the one who will finally achieve what those before him tried and failed.
President Barack Obama is the latest to take up the baton. He's already won the Nobel Peace Prize, but will he be The One to triumph on Middle East Peace?
"We are under no illusions," Obama said on Wednesday when he met with leaders ahead of today's talks. "Passions run deep. Each side has legitimate and enduring interests. Years of mistrust will not disappear overnight."
I met a young man the other day in Hebron, a bustling Palestinian city on many hills, half an hour’s drive south of Jerusalem. He was pleasant, a little shy, a bit embarrassed at the fuss of inviting a foreign journalist into the modest apartment he shares with his wife and son.
We drank tea. He talked about how Hamas once tried to recruit him as a suicide bomber and how Israelis put him in jail for more than two years. Then he began to frown more, blinking through his glasses, and rubbing his aching joints.
Four years ago this week, on July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, known as the World Court, ruled in an advisory opinion that the wall and fence barrier which Israel was building in the West Bank was illegal under international law and that Palestinians affected by it should be compensated. Israel responded by dismissing the decision as politically motivated and defended the barrier, which it calls the “security fence”, as an effective response to “Palestinian terrorism”. Israel says the barrier, whose projected route of fences and walls snakes through the West Bank for over 700 km, has saved Israeli lives by preventing a continuation of attacks, notably suicide bombings.
The United Nations General Assembly voted later in July 2004 to demand that Israel comply with the decision of the World Court. Following the court ruling, the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators – the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia – also reaffirmed an earlier statement which said “We note the Government of Israel’s pledge that the barrier is a security rather than political barrier and should be temporary rather than permanent. We continue to note with great concern the actual and proposed route of the barrier, particularly as it results in confiscation of Palestinian land, cuts off the movement of people and groups, and undermines Palestinians’ trust in the roadmap (peace) process by appearing to prejudge the final borders of the future Palestinian state.”