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It is not a Peace Conference

Friday 26 October 2007, by Michel Warshavski

A group of Palestinian and Israeli NGOs recently issued a statement entitled "Message from Palestinian and Israeli Civil Society to the International Conference on the Middle Eastern Conflict". Following is the reaction of the Alternative Information Center.

Walid Salem, from Panorama, is the coordinator of the signatures’ collection.

Dear Walid, dear friends,

As a member of Israeli civil society, I obviously feel concerned by your "Message from Palestinian and Israeli Civil Society to the International Conference on the Middle Eastern Conflict", and would have very much liked to share with you an appeal that aims to promote a just peace in our area.

To connect, however, such a message to the Annapolis Meeting (even George W Bush doesn’t call it a conference) is either based on a serious misunderstanding or is intentionally misleading. The Annapolis meeting is not a peace initiative but a war working-group, aimed at strengthening a regional front for a war against Iran, Syria and Hamas. The participation of President Abbas in such a meeting indicates that instead of keeping "The Palestinians" in the axis of evil, Washington has made a more cynical choice: to divide them into "good Palestinians", who may receive some charity money from the donor countries, and "bad Palestinians", who do not even deserve to live. Bush and Olmert are now pushing the "good Palestinians" to initiate civil war against the bad ones. While speaking about Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert uses the term "hostile entity", preventing basic food supplies, electricity and medical equipment to one and a half million civilians, men, women and children.

Who can seriously believe that an Israeli-Palestinian "peace initiative" can be taken without Hamas representatives being present, Hamas which received a large majority in Gaza as well as in the West Bank, in free and democratic elections?

Who can seriously speak of resolving the "Middle East conflict" without Syria and Iran?

Frankly, I do not think you are naïve or lacking the tools to understand the political context of your initiative. All of you are intelligent and most of you have a lot of political experience. I rather believe that some of you have made a choice and taken side in the coming war, on the side of George W Bush, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, against the peoples of Palestine, Syria and Iran. This choice is ultimately against the Israeli people too, who may well pay a terrible price for such a bloody venture.

As for the Alternative Information Center, we will double our efforts to help prevent this war, in particular in the framework of the Israeli anti-war coalition. This is our basic and urgent duty to all the peoples of the Middle East.

With sadness but determination,

Michael Warschawski

Alternative Information Center

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