Middle East peace is debt owed by the international community

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Whatever your attitude was to the Middle East peace process as at October 6, 2023 is a pré-qualification to comment on the dastardly and heinous events of October 7 and the unacceptable and unlawful reaction that followed.

In the end, the rights of all the communities involved are the responsibility of the international community because the innocent people of that region are paying unwarranted prices in lives and limbs for problems they did not cause or can be expected to solve.

The best we in the international community have come up with is the two-state solution and a determination of the status of Jerusalem. If we can summon sufficient statesmanship to get the Oslo Accord to work again, we would have redeemed our consciences a bit. The Jews are a victim of racial politics of Europe and the Palestinians are the victims of a half-hearted attempt by Europeans to pay their debt by writing a cheque drawn against an innocent third party account. I don’t think that the future of any community or State is bright in that region if the only guarantee of peace is their relative firepower. Peace is more valuable in the prospectus of the Israelis than of anyone else.

The Middle East peace process is for now a pawn in the internal politics of the United States and hostage to the problematic fortunes of some leading Israeli politicians. A true friend of Isreal would not support any further expansion of settlements in occupied territories and would give the PLO some face-saving concessions in the West Bank while finding a diplomatic way to let Gaza strip blockage end.

Related to the foregoing is the need to accord Iran her respectable standing in the region along the line of P5+1 that was working out well until the internal politics of the United States torpedoed the Iran nuclear deal.

In summary, Israel is destined to stay put in that region but it cannot be sustained by force from outside or turning herself into a permanent war camp. Peace is possible and advisable before the martial disparity becomes levelled out and no party can have any decisive war-tech advantage over their neighbours.

History has shown that the Arab League member States have demonstrated good faith since the Camp David Accord. Israel too has internal contradictions that need to be resolved in favour of the peace process. There should be nobody who still believes that they can be so militarily strong that peace is thereby unilaterally assured.

Hamas is extreme in its terror tactics and desperate in its actions. There are counterparts of Hamas in Israel who dish out daily doses of incremental terror to the Palestinians as well. But neither are the peaceful Palestinians rewarded with any peace or dignity, especially those with legally binding rights of return who have been unlawfully denied the same for 75 years.

For us who see victims on both sides, our best contributions would be to facilitate justice according to international law with the results that Palestinians can stay on their lands with full sovereignty and Israel can have a State that is not threatened with terror or non-recognition. It is a delicate and difficult goal for which there is no room for displaying emotional attachment to the sentiments of one side against another.

_*Prince Adewole Adebayo* a lawyer is a former presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party SDP in the 2023 general election in Nigeria_

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