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Sludge Report #78 – Deadlines, Threats And Peace

NOTE: Authors of this report will be anonymous and wide ranging, and occasionally finely balanced. Indeed you are invited to contribute: The format is as a reporters notebook. It will be published as and when material is available. C.D. Sludge can be contacted at sludge@scoop.co.nz. The Sludge Report is available as a free email service..Click HERE - http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/myscoop/ to subscribe...

Sludge Report #78

Deadlines Are The Enemy Of Peace - Threats Are Weapons Against Peace

Deadlines are the enemy of peace. Threats are weapons against peace.

The chances for Peace that have emerged this weekend, have emerged precisely because of the change of Israel's policy response from one of retaliation to one of restraint.

It is because of the tragedy of Tel Aviv that Palestine has offered a ceasefire.

The Government led by Israeli PM Ariel Sharon’s need to respond strongly to the bombing in Tel Aviv for domestic political reasons is clear, and the blockade is an appropriate response, perhaps for a period, but it should be conducted in as humane manner as is possible.

But by making a threat and revoking the unilateral cease-fire offer a “peace target” is set up which can then be broken down by extremists.

By saying in effect, “this is your last chance”, a window of compulsory response is opened. This can be opened extremely easily by any enemy of the peace, and violence can return.

This is not the "last chance", no moment ever is. Hope never dies.

And surely if Israel was capable of holding a unilateral ceasefire during a period when Palestine was not formally offering one itself – as it is now – then Israel should be able to return to that position now.

This is what they said they wanted a clear statement from Chairman Arafat. Now they have it. That is what Sludge calls progress.

The policy of restraint has proved effective. So lets keep it.

In fact it is vital that this new policy be kept - that is if the chance of peace is to turn into something more than a spark.

The bombers of Tel Aviv did not want peace.

They probably still do not want peace. And they may well try again to smash its chances.

More importantly however, there are doubtless many others who are far less scrupulous for whom, for commercial reasons, or even for reasons of pride, the prospects of peace in the Middle East is anathema.

By holding its current position Israel is tempting fate, it is in effect challenging God to deliver it "security, or else!". Or else it will be forced to lash out again at its younger brother, the Palestinian people.

Let their be no mistake. Bombers from Tel Aviv, from Jerusalem, from Ramallah, from Gaza, from any of the hundreds of Israeli Settlements, From Iraq, from Syria, belonging to drug dealers, of arms manufacturers, of oil companies, of Egypt, of Jordan, of Iran, of France, of Afghanistan, of the UK, of the USA, from Texas from Germany or Russia, or from somewhere nobody has even thought of yet, who could all choose to take a pot shot at peace, again. It has happened so many times before, and it could happen again.

In fact under the circumstances it is probably more likely than not that there will be another incident.

And now a target has been set up, then I’m sure an insurance company would be likely to regard an incident in the coming days as a virtual certainty, unless the target is taken down.

That is the point of a high level, real, ceasefire, it is a ultimately a question of honour. The offers have to accepted and demonstrated. Ceasefires have to be enforced. And armies have to be allowed to do their own enforcing.

And they have to be able to liase effectively with one another when mistakes happen, as they do.

But when diplomacy is conducted in the name of peace, and a ceasefire is sincerely offered, then failure to accept (or to create conditions likely to lead to a failure of your satisfaction) is dishonourable as well as just plain stupid.

Anti©opyright Sludge 2001

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