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Tuesday, October 10, 2000, updated at 18:22(GMT+8)

Call for an End to Clashes and Resumption of Peace Talks

Large-scale bloody clashes between Palestine and Israel have continued unabated and become increasingly fierce since September 28. According to incomplete statistics, the conflicts had led to the casualties of more than 3,000 Palestinians by October 8. People are worried that the ongoing bloody conflicts between Palestine and Israel have replaced the earlier peace statements, there has emerged the danger that in Palestine and the Mid-east region, the active volcano of war is likely to erupt.

The provocative visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli Right-wing Likud leader Ariel Sharon has kindled the anti-Israel sentiment among the Palestinian people, and has thus become the blasting fuse for the bloody clashes. The two sides of Palestine and Israel originally planned to race against time, striving to reach a peace accord on a series of major issues, including the founding of a Palestinian State early next year. The current conflict has, without a doubt, added fresh sentiments of hostility between Palestine and Israel and has set up new obstacles to the final-stage negotiations between Palestine and Israel, that had proceeded with difficulties. The current bloody clashes show more clearly that to achieve a stable and reliable peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel, it is necessary to earnestly push forward negotiation and reach a final peace accord between Palestine and Israel as soon as possible, so that the Palestinian people could regain their long-lost national rights. Palestine and the entire Mid-east region are a stretch of war-ravaged land that is thirsty for peace and development. The fundamental lesson serving as a warning for others left behind by the half-century-old war and confrontation between Arab countries and Israel is that solving national contradictions by recourse to force or bullying the weak by the strong can only lead to just the opposite result. As far as the two sides of Palestine and Israel are concerned, the urgent task at the moment is to relax the situation and restore peace talks, and continuing conflicts will not only hinder the process of peace talks, but will even possibly forfeit the hard-won limited achievement of peace.

The resurgence of violence has provided the radical forces of both Palestine and Israel that oppose peace talks with loopholes to exploit. During the period of conflicts between Palestine and Israel, Palestinian radicals Hamas and Djihad organizations demanded withdrawal from the talks and re-embark on the road of armed struggle. The Right-wing forces represented by Likud of Israel also kept on spreading the view about giving up Israel's peace commitment and about Israel's eternal ownership of sovereignty over Jerusalem. What is more, Lebanon's Party of God (Hizbollah) also indicated that it would join forces with Hamas and other organizations to retaliate upon Israel, and captured three Israeli soldiers, as an expression of its support for Palestinian people's struggle against Israel, and has thus created a new crisis in Israel's relations with Syria and Lebanon. While taking military actions in the southern part of Lebanon, Israel once again posed a war threat to Syria and Lebanon, thus arousing serious concern among Arab countries. The Arab nations have decided to convene an emergency summit meeting in Cairo from October 21 to 22, with the aim of taking unified countermeasures to deal with Palestine-Israel clashes and the deteriorating situation relating to Mid-east peace talks. If this situation continues to expand, the relationship between Arab countries and Israel, which was once relatively stable, is bound to witness a reversal, reducing the relationship between Arab countries and Israel to a vicious circle of retaliation and anti-retaliation. This situation merits vigilance.

The process of Middle East peace has been in operation for 10 years. Under the condition featuring the slow progress of the peace process and little achievement, it is especially necessary to create an atmosphere of mutual trust between Palestine and Israel and there must not be deliberate sabotage. If the cabinet of Ehud Barak considers only political rivalry and unhesitatingly go to war and even sacrifice the achievements of peace talks, then it would be the greatest mistake. Peace is the serious choice made by the two sides of Arab countries and Israel after experiencing long-term historical suffering, any retrogressive action that goes against peace has no way out.

(This commentary is written by Zhu Mengkui.)

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Large-scale bloody clashes between Palestine and Israel have continued unabated and become increasingly fierce since September 28.

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