Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Caution! Peace Ahead?

Part of me says that I should be overjoyed by news of the ceasefire at the same time as another part says "I'll believe it when I see it".

This dual reaction is a result of my natural tendency to optimism, coupled with a cynicism developed over the last 4 1/2 years of daily attacks.

In September 1993, amidst historic scenes at the White House, pretty much everyone wanted to believe that we were taking a historic step onto the right path and it seemed that this was indeed the case - until it blew up in our faces showing us that, as we had suspected all along, the Emperor had no clothes.

Is this therefore merely a question of history repeating itself or is it truly a new dawn? We surely have a duty to find out; to grasp the olive branch that is being extended; to take the chance that this really is a true opportunity for a better future. The ugly alternative that we've experienced over the last 4 1/2 years certainly provides us with no hope.

The euphoric reaction that followed Oslo in '93 will be replaced by caution - we've been here before and got carried away. We will follow Abu Mazen's actions and pronouncements day by day. Our natural suspicion of the other side will hopefully be allowed to lessen over the course of time but we have learned the lessons of the past and will not lower our guard. But at the same time, we will take the steps necessary to promote the peace that we so desperately long for.


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