Dear Scotland

Scottish politics from a female, LibDem perspective

When everyone wants a solution, but no-one knows how

It seems like the simplest of tasks to complete a multi million pound development.
Just One kilometre of piping needs connected to the water supply, which already reaches the neighbouring settlement, to allow the Dubai style city of Rawabi in the Palestinian West Bank to begin welcoming its first residents.
Everyone agrees it should happen. Everyone wants it to happen. But Nobody seems able to make it become reality.
The issue in a nutshell is that last kilometre passes through an area which needs the agreement of both Israeli and Palestinian authorities.
This tale of abject failure to realise the simplest and most widely held aspiration seemed perfectly to represent everything I experienced on a recent fact finding trip to Israel and Palestine and ow see played now on my TV screen at home.
During the four day trip I heard from those on both sides of the divide and those trying to bridge it.
When we arrived the authorities were still searching for three missing Israeli teenagers.
But within 24 hours we had witnessed a protest on Temple Mount by members of the Arab population, passed a vigil being held for the Israeli teenagers now confirmed as dead, and realised we were at the centre of a potential powder keg.
Yet everywhere people were telling us they wanted peace.
The trip had been arranged by to give potential parliamentarians some on the ground insight to potential parliamentarians.
I had been to Israel before. Twenty years ago as a tourist.
This was different. This offered us face to face meetings with, among others, government spokespeople, past and present, opposition politicians, leading Palestinian activists and the organisation which represents Israeli settlers.
After those first twenty four hours none of them presented anything other than a picture of a situation which, they accepted, could quickly spiral into the conflict we have been witnessing.
It would be too simplistic however to suggest that each side blamed the other.
Or that each side presents a simple, straightforward, single faceted stance.
No the most striking thing was certainly the common agreement on what the issues to overcome are. And in most cases it boiled down to the same thing: the land.
Yes there were difficulties in reconciling the stances of the Palestinians wanting to see Israeli withdrawal from occupied land before a peace settlement and Israel’s need for a peace settlement before withdrawal.
But there were also the nuances among those on the same side.
There is an evident chasm between the approach of the mainly West Bank based Fatah and the Gaza strip’s Hamas movement within the unified Palestinian Authority.
Likewise the are those on the Israeli side keen to tackle the thorny issue of Israeli settlements, and those particularly those amongst the settlers themselves for whom it is not up for discussion.
Amongst all of that division, argument and counter argument however there were glimmers of light.
At the Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem we met Palestinian and Israeli parents looking out for each other in the maternity special care unit.
There was the Shimon Peres Centre for Peace where we heard tales of children from both sides building bridges through shared sporting activities.
And finally there was an Israeli academic – Dr Gadi Taub – whose vision for the future acknowledges the issues and profound difficulties they present but offers a potential compromise which could eventually offer the promised land of a two state solution.
A protected home for the Palestinians and a secure Israel.
If only those in huge leadership could hear those around them. Then they may find a way to agreement and The city of Rawabi could be the start of a bright future.

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This entry was posted on August 8, 2014 by .
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