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Friday, September 5, 2003 | return to: editorial


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Oslo is the past—what does future hold?

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The problem in revisiting the Oslo peace conference 10 years later is that too many analysts have spent their time looking at why the accords failed. Instead they should be concentrating on what must be done to bring peace to the Mideast.

There are many reasons for Oslo's failure; that's well covered by three analysts on Page One.

But we need to figure out how to reopen a peace dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

There are two major reasons to do that immediately. In a short time, Israel will end up ruling over a population that has more Arabs than Jews. The Arabs could then conceivably stack the Knesset with Palestinians.

Secondly, terrorism is taking too many Israeli lives, and there is no end in sight.

We don't pretend to have a new road map for peace, but it's obvious that President Bush's plan to mediate a deal is no better than President Clinton's efforts.

However, we will offer a few suggestions that might bring some results.

First off, Israel should stop building settlements. Israel agreed to do this after Oslo was signed but never followed through. Why should Israel spend money on new homes in the West Bank when ultimately much of the land there will end up in Palestinian hands?

Israel should also re-examine the fence it is building to separate Israeli cities and towns from Palestinian enclaves. While such a barrier may seem a necessity, Israel must find a way to avoid separating one Palestinian village from another. The fence makes the daily lives of Palestinians more difficult. Keep in mind that not every Palestinian is a terrorist.

In return for those major steps from Israel, the Palestinian Authority must be strongly pressured to arrest terrorists. If it doesn't respond immediately, the United States should work with other countries to turn off the pipeline for financial aid.

Also, the Palestinians must be realistic enough to drop the demand that they be allowed to return to land in Israel where they once lived. Israel is a small country. It will never remain a Jewish state if there is a Palestinian majority.

These are just a few ideas for moving the peace process forward. If you have others, send us a letter to the editor.


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