TEHRAN, Nov. 26 (MNA) -- When the United States and the Soviet Union adopted the policy of détente in the 1970s and peaceful coexistence was put on their agendas, many people throughout the world believed that the era of conflict had ended and humanity was on the verge of a new era of lasting peace and stability.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the war machine of the Eastern bloc was exhausted and the war machine of the West, which used to gallop like the wind at the height of the Cold War, went into low gear, hope for an era of peace and security once again arose and people started dreaming of prosperous days.


In the 1990s, with the end of the Cold War, the international community believed that governments would think of peaceful days in which they could live in harmony while respecting each other’s rights and international law. The world thought that enmity would vanish and that in such a situation, all countries would be much more committed to moral values and cooperation.


This fantasy only lasted for a few years. The irresponsible actions of the superpowers and the emergence of certain new powers led to the creation of another battlefield in the international arena. Under these new circumstances, the Rwanda genocide, the Kosovo crisis, the occupation of Iraq, and many other crises arose.


The issue of the sad history of Palestine also remains unresolved.


Now, after more than six decades of strife, resistance, internal developments, and foreign influence, a new peace process is being discussed.


Although the Camp David agreement was introduced to the people of Palestine and Arab countries many years ago, up to now, the Palestinian nation has never been given the chance to make decisions for themselves.


As a result of covert and overt meetings between the various sides involved in the Palestine issue, eventually, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the two main sides -– the Palestinians and the Israelis -- agreed to a start new course that was later called the Middle East peace process.


However, despite all the intense efforts of Arab and European states, the Middle East peace process did not last long and it was declared dead when the second Intifada began in the year 2000.


There is one important question for everyone interested in the Palestine issue. Why was peace not established in Palestine, despite all the diplomatic efforts, forcing the Palestinians to adopt another approach to obtain their inalienable rights after ten years?


Now the international community’s attention is focused on the Annapolis Conference, which seems to have all the characteristics of the previous “peace” gatherings, since many of the factors influencing this longstanding issue have not changed.


More surprisingly, despite the fact that there has been no change in the demands, policies, views, and all the other issues affecting the Palestine question, some people are now talking about the prospect of settling problems that have been festering for 60 years.


Though it seems too early to make judgments about the outcome of the Annapolis meeting, experience shows that all these conferences and all the regional and international shuttle diplomacy have failed to restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinians because none of the individuals, governments, and international organizations involved in the issue have ever been able to comprehend the real demands of the Palestinian nation.


People remember well the Oslo Accords and the Sharm el-Sheikh, Wye River, and Camp David conferences, which were all arranged to resolve the Palestinian question, and the fact that none of the proposals made at these gatherings were ever implemented.


Many nations and governments have made great endeavors to improve the bitter situation of the Palestinians, but all these efforts have gone nowhere.


In other words, the outstanding questions, such as those pertaining to Palestine’s territorial integrity, the final status of East Beit-ul-Moqaddas (East Jerusalem), and the fate of refugees and prisoners, have been raised repeatedly, but each time no proper answer has been provided. Thus, one cannot have much hope about such diplomatic talks and international conferences.


(Nov. 27 Tehran Times Opinion Column, by Hassan Lasjerdi)





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