Friday, January 30

Something new.....

Currently, the new U.S. envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, is visiting the Middle East. It’s a chance for a new start, with a new administration, which hopefully will bring a new perspective. Mitchell comes to his position with experience, as he helped brokered the peace process in Northern Ireland.

According to an article in Haaretz , on Thursday, Mitchell said that opening the Gaza Strip to commercial goods would help to choke off the smuggling that Israel fears could replenish Hamas's weapons stocks. Hopefully he will continue on this path to bring about positive change in this region.

The New York Times talks about how Mr. Mitchell planned to meet Mr. Abbas and other Palestinian Authority leaders on Thursday. Mr. Mitchell had no plans to meet with any representatives of Hamas, which the United States, like Israel, Canada and the European Union, classifies as a terrorist organization.

The longer I live here, the more the situation becomes complex and almost blurry. There are so many different layers to this conflict. One thing that I do understand is that it doesn’t seem very feasible for a peace agreement to happen if the U.S. isn’t willing to meet with Hamas officials. They, along with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, are a critical party in the peace process. Mitchell has met with both Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials. When the U.S. government neglects to talk to Hamas, there is a large piece of the already blurry puzzle, missing.

There have been many encouragements on the MCC blog over this past month to write your elected officials. The tragic events in Gaza during the past month are a reminder why the Canadian and U.S. governments need to invest more energy in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Let’s encourage them to make this a priority.

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