After a 20-month hiatus, Palestinian and Israeli leaders came together Thursday for direct peace talks, launched in Washington at the prodding of US President Barack Obama.
Within a year, these talks are supposed to enable the participants to reach a deal that would see the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living next to a secure Israeli state.
The task ahead is arduous. People lost confidence in talks, and they were many, often considering them futile, and that is a reason more for all concerned parties - most importantly Obama himself who has said that peace in the Middle East is a national security interest for his country, but also the many countries around the world, including Europe - to lend support to these negotiations.
Peace in the Middle East will thwart the acts of extremist elements who base their ideology and raison d’گtre on the continued state of conflict in the region.
In his remarks at the White House on Wednesday, His Majesty King Abdullah wisely summed up that conclusion, warning that the failure of the process would give such people the chance to thrive.
“This is why we must prevail. For our failure would be their (radicals’) success, in sinking the region into more instability and wars, that will cause further suffering in the region, and beyond,” said the King.
And this is why the process of negotiating peace should receive all the support it deserves from all parties, from the highest political echelon to the grassroots.
Time is very important and should be used wisely during the negotiations to both end the suffering of the Palestinian people who, for decades, have endured so much pain, and to deprive the enemies of peace of the opportunity to sabotage the process by means of killing, destroying, grabbing land or building settlements.
Peace, as the King said, is the right of every citizen in the region, and to deny this right is an injustice.
There is little doubt that the people of the region - all the people of the region - aspire at anything but a future of peace for themselves and their children. For the parties to the negotiations to make peace a reality, they need to negotiate with goodwill, sincerity and courage.