Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has recently been taking initiative in creating a more palatable regional playing-ground through the hopes of peacefully ending the Palestinian crisis. A Cairo conference is slated to renew negotiations between Israel and Palestine, and to kick-start a serious plan for reconciliation. Allegedly, both the Palestinian and the Israeli governments are on board, and have been in contact with Cairo on the matter.
In 2002, the cultivation of the Arab Peace Initiative brought very similar notions of hope for peace in the region, however, for the most part it was rejected by Israel. This time around, Al-Monitor states that
“Israel has agreed to recognize the Arab Peace Initiative as the de-facto basis for negotiations, with the required ‘alterations’”.
The Paris Conference for Peace in the Middle East this June has paved the way for promoting support from Cairo, through raising international enthusiasm on the topic.
Some scholars are reserving excitement over the proposed peace talks due to the “lack of any sign of a proposed peace project” as well as rejection of Paris peace talks. Nevertheless, the fact that the idea is seeming to be genuinely considered by Israel, following Cairo’s advances, as well as becoming part of the political zeitgeist in itself is a positive step.
Although ‘actions speak louder than words’ and just talking about things won’t get anything done, its also important to remember that without providing time for the masses to acclimate to the idea, it can be nearly impossible to gain wide-reaching support. This is particularly necessary and relevant in cases such as this one, where regional tensions have been high and drawn out for a long time. June 5th will mark the 49th year of instability, to be exact.
While working with the French initiative has been a prickly and unfavourable situation for Israel, the Egyptian one has been an easier pill to swallow, and the quick and positive responses from both the Palestinian and the Israeli government in regards to it are definitely a promising sign. It shows both parties’ desire for creating a more stable region, rather than just Palestine’s agreement, re: 2002, as well as in relation to the Paris peace talks. Not only this, but it also shows regional support, between a more or less neutral country and the two warring ones.
Furthermore, something I find particularly positive is that this initiative is not just coming from an external and foreign source, but it is also stemming from local players; those directly affected by it. This supports my opinion that in order for changes for the better to genuinely be made, it needs to be desired by those involved. If it is not, while the result may be peaceful, chance are it will not last. Thus, there is hope that this time, peace talks won’t be abandoned, and may even pave the way for ending other conflicts diplomatically.