Sunday, April 8, 2007

MK Bishara pessimistic about the possibilities of peace in the region

"Bethlehem - Ma'an - Arab member of the Israeli Knesset, Azmi Bishara, has said that the Palestinian unity government must confront the lawlessness and disorder and avoid slipping into any unjust settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Bishara played down the recent political activity in the region, in spite of its importance, because of what he called "the Israeli position".

Speaking to the Jordanian daily 'Al-Ghad', he said that the Palestinian issue has turned into a public relations issue with no goals. He did not exclude the possibility of a new war in the region. He added that emphasising the sectarian issue will lead to failure.

Bishara, who is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, said that the economy in the Palestinian territories should be improved and should be able to produce and build. He stressed that the Palestinian Authority should act differently and must stop acting like a beggar.

He added that he did not expect a settlement to be reached between the current Palestinian and Israeli governments.

He also warned Hamas against making any concessions in order to win international acceptance or satisfaction. He also warned Hamas to act like the Palestinian national movement did in the 1970s, or as what happened during the time of the Madrid and Oslo agreements.

Bishara did concede, however, that recent events such as the Mecca agreement, the Palestinian unity government, and the revival of the Arab initiative, could enable the situation to move forward. However, he said that this will result in nothing.

Bishara said he believed that movement at a political level has become a goal in itself, and the peace process is being used as a kind of anaesthetic.

He added that every time a crisis happens in the region, especially one that may harm the USA, activity begins in the region. He said that this happens in order to hide the failure of the Americans. Currently, he said, the political activity is to overshadow the events in Iraq, by making the people busy and creating the impression that the Americans and their allies in the region are working towards a settlement to the Palestinian issue.

Bishara believes that the Arabs are making concessions every time, but there is nothing in the horizon. He said that the Arab allies of the USA are interested in solving the Palestinian issue, but they are not pressurizing Israel and the USA to have the issue solved in a just and fair way. They believe that the USA has all the keys to solving the issue without any pressures needed in return, he said.

He also warned against making concessions regarding the 'right of return' as he believes that Israel will demand more and more concessions. Bishara added that he believes that the initiative came after September 11th, in order to improve the image of the Arabs in the eyes of the world and the Americans. "

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