Both sides of Middle East divide must give peace a chance

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 June, 2007, 12:00am

Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day war, which shaped the course of world modern history in a momentous way.

Forty years on, the world we live in is even more insecure. This is because of the Islamic-western feud.

Palestinians continue to live pitiful lives, without dignity and the people of Israel are also not enjoying genuine security.

There must be many who wish we could turn the clock back, but that is not possible.

This is not the time for an escalation of the Israeli-Arab feud. Both sides must realise that their fates are bound together.

One side cannot thrive, while the other side suffers.

Occupation offers no solutions. Instead both sides should be sharing resources as a means of ensuring prosperity. In the 21st century all races, cultures and religions should be living harmony. Practical decisions must be made based on a vision of a free, and harmonious Middle East.

To start, Israel should immediately abandon the brutal tactics its troops have deployed in Gaza and the West Bank, for instance, using children as guides in military operations. Such methods are unethical, by any standards. Israel should also remove its illegal settlements in the West Bank and allow Palestinians to return to their villages around these settlements.

After that, a deal can be made to establish a permanent Palestinian state, with EU and moderate Arab states acting as middlemen. Israel should be as involved as it can possibly can in the Palestinian state. This will hopefully help eliminate the hatred felt between the two people that runs so deep.

To ensure that the peace endures, a permanent EU-like Middle East organisation should be established, in which all member nations enjoy equal status.

Do these ideas appear too idealistic? Maybe, but if the will is there, it is possible to have a free, secular and harmonious Middle East in this century.

Let us not forget that 60 years ago, Europe was plagued by hatred and today Europeans enjoy peace and freedom.

Yik Fei Ko, Pok Fu Lam