Friday, January 25, 2008

The Power of Solana

Curt Here....

I came across a couple of interesting articles recently and when read together I think we can get some pretty good insight as to what is going on in the Middle East peace negotiations. The first one was published yesterday and talks about how Javier Solana is frustrated with the fact that both parties are not really acting like they are very serious about peace. Israel has a blockade against the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and Hamas keeps firing rockets at Israel. The message from Solana was obvious, stop with your petty squabbling and get back to work towards fulfilling your commitments you made at Annapolis.

When I first read this yesterday, I wondered if this had any chance of working. Can Solana simply make a few phone calls and make a few interesting quotes to a newspaper reporter and get real results? I know Solana has some serious political clout but, still I was a little more than skeptical.

Then I read another article this morning that answered my question immediately. Both sides have miraculously agreed to comply with the requests of Javier Solana. They then renewed their commitment to the peace process and announced that they hope to have a final peace deal in place before US Presidential elections in November.

What was I thinking?

Solana: Gaza blockade should be eased and Hamas has to stop rocket attacks

Updated: 24/Jan/2008 23:46
BRUSSELS (EJP)---The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana has called "urgently" for the blockade on the Gaza Strip to be eased in order to allow humanitarian aid to reach the Palestinian people.

In a phone conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, Solana said that the EU was deeply concerned at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The EU top diplomat also said that Hamas had “to stop the rocket attacks across the border which endanger the lives of innocent civilians in Israel.”

Solana added that the EU would continue to follow the situation in Gaza and on the Gaza border very closely and that he would keep in contact with the Palestinian President as well as other leaders in the region, including the Arabe League Secretary-General, Amr Moussa.

The European Union urged the parties to the Middle East peace talks "to do their utmost to meet the commitments they made at the Annapolis Conference" and "to advance on the path to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that was set out in Annapolis."

Israeli, Palestinian leaders renew commitments to peace

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Israeli and Palestinian leaders reaffirmed here Thursday their commitments to the Annapolis peace process, with Israel urging the Palestinians to do more to rein in extremists, and the Palestinian side demanding easing of closure of the Gaza Strip.

"Both sides are convinced that war is not the choice" Israeli President Shimon Peres told a session at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting. "We have got a partner of peace in the Palestinians."

"The majority of the Palestinians are sincerely in favor of peace. We trust them full-heartedly. They are sincerely trying to achieve peace (with Israel) as soon as possible," Peres told the session under the theme of "Mideast: after Annapolis, after Paris" chaired by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the envoy of the Mideast Quartet.

Peres said the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is now on two tracks: to solve the conflict, and negotiate the peace.

Peres said the next 10 months are crucial for the peace talks, adding the hopes of a truce peace are "greater today."

Israel and the Palestinians hope to finalize the peace talks before the U.S. presidential elections in November this year.

The five-day Davos annual event, which opened Wednesday, has provided a good opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to talk face to face.

Participants to Thursday's session also included Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
"We cannot afford a failure, we need success," said Livni.

To achieve peace, both sides must make reconciliation and compromises, she said, adding that two states for two peoples is the only way out for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Meanwhile, she urged the PA to rein in extremists who are undermining the peace process, "we cannot afford an extremists' state."

In his turn, Fayyad renewed the PA's commitments to the peace process, saying "we are determined to stay on the course."

While stressing that the Palestinians took seriously Israel's security concerns, he also urged Israel to further ease the closure on the Gaza Strip, where the situation on the ground was "very dangerous." The closure by Israel had led to misery for the Palestinians, he said.

In response to a sustained and intense barrage of rocket fire, Israel blocked Gaza and stopped all shipments except emergency supplies last week.

Experts have warned that the Annapolis peace process could implode if something was not done quickly to address the Gazans' plight.

Tens of thousands of Gazans have rushed into Egypt to search for food and supplies since Hamas militants blew 15 holes in a security fence separating the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Wednesday.

Officials from the United Nations have called for an end to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. The 15-member U.N. Security Council is to meet Thursday to discuss a draft statement urging an end to Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip and to rocket firing into the Jewish state from the strip.



Anonymous said...

curt, nice find. I agree with your conclusion. JS is showing how influential he is. Mesage left via iPhone. Mike

Constance Cumbey said...

This is a very significant piece. Shimon Peres has been a vital player with Javier Solana for many, many years. If Israel has a big time, high level New Ager, it has been Shimon Peres who is also an activist in Socialist International. It was Shimon Peres and Javier Solana who signed the initial Treaty of Association between Israel and the European Union on November 20, 1995. Two days later, Israel had a 7.2 earthquake, the strongest in its history. Heads rolled from the Great Pryamids mummies in Egypt in that same quake. Thanks for posting it and for maintaining this very signficant blogspot.


the70thweek said...


I agree Shimon Peres is a very intresting player in this whole process and he and Solana have a long standing relationship. It should not shock us that when Solana speaks Israel listens.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Too bad Solana referred to "innocent" lives in Israel. Note that he could only be referring to those other than Jews, because anyone who knows what's going on there understands that all Jews are guilty.

the70thweek said...

Dear anonymous,

Well, I have a pretty good feel for what is going on, and yes it is complicated with thousands of years of fighting. To simply blame the Jews and say that all are guilty and none are innocent, is pretty ignorant of reality.


Anonymous said...

Curt, you missed the the point. I was not blaming the Jews, but others are. "I will bless them that bless you." The attitude and spirit behind Islam declares all Jews as guilty. The Bible says we are all guilty, but the Bible also says that God has made an everlasting covenant with Israel. "Who will cast the first stone?" Since you want to defend Israel, don't say "it is complicated with thousands of years of fighting." That seems to give weight to the implacable and indefensible cause of Islam in Israel. That's my opinion; like it or leave it.

the70thweek said...


Sorry for the confusion please accept my apologies, sometimes it is hard to pick up true intent when reading posts. :)

I would agree with you, the cause of Islam in Israel is indefensible, but just because I said the (political) situation is complicated does not mean that I don't fully support Israel. I do.

I think we are on the same page.