Wednesday, June 8

Prospects of Peace after Disengagement

The prospects of peace are dependent on whether the Palestinian mainstream will be satisfied on the way the disengagement will take place. If there is no further momentum towards withdrawal from the areas occupied in the Six Day War of 1967, there could be a renewal of terror. There is a strong risk of terror attacks whether there is disengagement or not.

The prospect of future peace between Israel and the Palestinians rests on ability of the Palestinian Authority to reign in terror. As the situation stands now, there is still the firing of Qassam rockets into Sderot. If this is a prelude of what is to happen after the disengagement, there is very little prospect of any future peace. The Qassam rocket fire will more than likely threaten towns like Ashkelon and possibly Ashdod.

Israel could become more vulnerable to terror attacks. There is no hint on the Palestinian side that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have changed their attitude towards Israel. This will be a very important factor in determining whether there will be peace or not and a desire for negotiations. The situation in Palestinian street does not leave much room for optimism. Abu Mazen's political stance is showing signs of weakening as Hamas show signs of gaining popularity.

If there is calm, Israel should be willing to continue with the Road Map and encourage investment in the future Palestinian State in order to improve the economic situation there. At the same time, Israel should make it clear that she is willing to make bold decisions including withdrawals from occupied areas.

If terrorism does occur, the Israeli Army should be prepared to return to Gaza and reoccupy it once again in order to combat the terror.

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