Encouraging signs in Middle East | SierraSun.com

Encouraging signs in Middle East

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon shocked his countrymen – and his party – this week after calling for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian West Bank settlements, a move that may indicate a real desire by the Israeli government to finally find a path to peace.

Sharon, who falls on the right side of the spectrum, may have been the last person Israelis expected to hear this from. The speech came a day after Sharon convinced the Israeli Cabinet to endorse a plan to create a Palestinian state.

With this move, mainstream Israelis and Palestinians will hopefully find a way to live next door to each other without the bloodshed by suicide bombers on one side, and Israeli army raids on the other.

If Israel is serious about the peace process, and really willing to endorse creation of a Palestinian state, it should roll back the establishment of Jewish settlements in debated territory until an agreement is reached.

Palestinian leaders also have the responsibility to police their own society, and end the practice of suicide bombings. If history is a teacher, progress in the Middle East peace process stops when the actions of the few defeat the desires of the many.

Sharon rightly recognizes the future of the Middle East includes a Palestinian state. Now it is just a matter of executing a plan that everyone can live with.

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