Who wants peace in the Middle East?

BOTH Israelis and Palestinians have too much to lose if the Middle East problems that separate them are solved. Neither is interested in a solution for that would lessen the attention that is paid to them.

Israel receives $3b of aid from the US every year. If there were peace in the Mideast, that aid would fall away – after all when a country is at peace with its neighbours, why does it need such large amounts of aid? The Palestinians are in the same boat – if they were not at loggerheads with Israel who would pay them much attention?

Egypt has little interest in backing anything other than US plans. The US gives the country $1.3b in aid every year, second only to Israel. Why would Egypt, despite having Muslim fundamentalists being at the helm, want to put this money in jeopardy?

Down the years, there have been countless rounds of so-called peace talks. But if nothing has come of them, it is primarily because of the factors listed above. Additionally, there is the religion factor – some aspects of the Middle East imbroglio are not negotiable because of their emotional nature.

Jerusalem is a city that is sacred to both Judaism and Islam. Neither side will countenance the other taking command of this city. Even if peace talks make progress, they will stumble when they come to the question of this city.

Perhaps hopes were highest in 1993 when Norwegian brokers managed to put in place the so-called Oslo accord. But 19 years have gone by and there is nothing to show for it.

And there will not be any more to show than has been so far. There are too many vested interests who have a stake in the current game for any change to occur.


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