Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday, 29 November 2003

Can the Israeli Palestinian 'logjam' be broken?

I have just been listening, about 25 minutes ago, to a piece on BBC Radio4 'Today' programme about a 2-day conference in the UK at a country estate 'somewhere in the English countryside' between pretty high-level Israeli and Palestinian delegates. I have been unable, yet, to find a website link for the several interviews which formed the core of the segment, to verify the names etc, but one of those who was there was the son of Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister, for example. Although he and the Palestinian delegate with whom he was taking a walk in the grounds of the estate would not be interviewed for the programme, a couple of the other delegates were. So far as I can recall one was 'Zeyad abu Zeyad' (sp?) and the other was a member of the Israeli Knesset (name?) and both sounded positive about the desire of both sides for an end to the conflict. The conference was apparently organised by a group called Labour Friends of Israel and Barbara Roche, a Labour MP who was there, was interviewed. She characterised the atmosphere between delegates from both sides as 'surprisingly cordial' and said that some of them seemd to know each other well and to like each other. Apparently both sides agree that the mediation of the US would be crucial in any future major talks, although some form of UK 'intermediation' is hoped for by both sides, bearing in mind the close US/UK ties. Could this kind of thing be a glimmer of a hope for the future?

Another 'glimmer of hope' which I noticed whilst looking for a web link for the above story is here. A young Arab-Israeli has apparently become popular with Israeli youth, having just won a popular Israeli TV 'reality show'; the prize is to become a presenter on an Israeli youth TV channel.

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