Once again, contradicting President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell said both Palestinians and Israelis are to blame for the current violence in Israel. Aside from Powell’s differing opinion, he was right when he confronted Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon about the violence. Perhaps Powell and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, and even Egypt, could work together in helping the Israelis and the Palestinians reach an agreement to end the bloodshed in Israel.
The current violence in Israel has gotten significantly worse in the past months. However, with each attack, both Israelis and Palestinians increase their tactics toward their enemy. For the most part, the United States has supported Israel and its use of force in protecting Israeli citizens. However, the blame does not belong to one group.
According to the Associated Press, Powell condemned Sharon’s declaration of war against the Palestinians Wednesday saying, “If you declare war against the Palestinians and think you can solve the problem by seeing how many Palestinians can be killed – I don’t know if that leads you anywhere.”
Powell is right. Until both sides sit down and acknowledge that they are using both excessive force and unfair tactics that are putting everyone – Palestinian and Israeli alike – in jeopardy, nothing will be settled.
Several diplomats have tried to help the peace process along in recent years, the last significant person being former President Bill Clinton. Now with a recent offer from the Saudi prince and Egypt, perhaps a joint effort could be forged. But Israelis and Palestinians must show a willingness to talk before any country can be of assistance.
If Saudi Arabia, the United States and Egypt can help end the violence, it will not only show a new relationship between the West and Middle East but could help end the violence that has been tearing Israel apart for years.