Israel and Palestine: Hope and Disengagement

The next few months offer the tantalising prospect of greater tranquillity between Israelis and Palestinians. Settlers and troops could soon be gone from Gaza. Realignments are in prospect, cautious optimism is all around.

The World Today Updated 15 October 2020 Published 1 April 2005 4 minute READ

Sharm el Sheikh, the picturesque tourist resort on the tip of the Sinai peninsula, has hosted many major international political gatherings. However, the one on February 8 outshone most previous summits. It represented renewed hope that Israelis and Palestinians might return to peaceful negotiations to resolve the decades-long conflict between the two peoples. It was a very Middle Eastern affair, at which even the customary peacebroker, the United States, was not present.

Only a few months ago the very idea of a meeting between the Israeli prime minister and the Palestinian president would have been met with disbelief if not scorn. However, with the passing of Yasser Arafat the door was open for Ariel Sharon and the newly elected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, to meet under the auspices of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in the presence of King Abdullah of Jordan, and declare an unlimited truce.

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