What kind of peace?

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What kind of peace?

The Oslo agreements did not bring good results for the Palestinians. So they do not feel good about the current peace talks. Ella David reports.

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A boy protests against illegal settlements near Hebron. (Gary Wlash)

The signing of the peace agreement in Oslo was twenty years ago - the Palestinian-Israeli Oslo Accords. People said this was the beginning of a lasting peace. But the agreement left Israel with control of more than 60 per cent of the West Bank. Palestinians say that the Oslo agreement was a very sad time in their history.

For many people here, the twentieth anniversary of Oslo makes people more pessimistic about the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) now.

‘The Palestinians have no hope for a positive result,’ says Mousa Abu Maria, co-founder of the Palestine Solidarity Project in the West Bank city of Beit Ommar. ‘The US have encouraged these latest talks to stop the EU boycotting products from Israeli settlements.’

The people I spoke to last August in Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem felt that the talks will not bring real change.

It seems that Israel agrees. The government talks about peace, but acts in a very hostile way. Two days before the negotiations began, Israeli authorities gave permission for the construction of 1,200 new settlement homes in the West Bank. The Israel Defense Forces have used more live ammunition against Palestinians - four civilians died in the last week of August. Maybe Israeli officials are trying to make the Palestinian Authority (PA) stop the negotiations.

In the 1993 Oslo agreement, Israeli forces agreed to slowly leave the occupied West Bank and Gaza and then give full control to a newly established PA within five years. But this didn’t happen. Israel still occupies most of the land in the West Bank. It has built illegal Israeli settlements and ‘military zones’. It has forced people to leave whole villages, destroyed homes and angered local people.

Palestinian officials are starting new peace talks. This shows the world they are serious about the two-state solution. Israel keeps building new settlements, and this makes the Palestinians feel afraid that time – and land – is running out.

But for most of the Palestinian population, the effect of the Oslo Accords shows there will never be a fair peace process while Israel has control. The majority also feel the PA does not represent them. This makes the peace process undemocratic.

Noam Chomsky said, ‘Of course, everybody wants peace… The question is: “What kind of peace?”’

As this article has been simplified, the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed. For the original, please see: http://newint.org/sections/agenda/2013/10/01/israel-palestine-peace-talks/