posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 07:13 PM
The Star of David flag no longer flies above Jericho, the oldest city in the Middle East. Israeli security forces removed barricades and pulled back
mobile armor divisions. Traffic has increased, and local merchants are hopeful that their business will improve. Jericho has been fought over since
men first began living in cities.
Israeli troops took down their Star of David flag, removed a roadblock and handed the town of Jericho to Palestinian control Wednesday, boosting
Mideast peace efforts and sending a message to Palestinians that ending the violent uprising is starting to pay off.
However, a last-minute argument over formal handover documents reflected the distrust that has built up during four years of conflict.
Symbolic steps turned practical as Israel removed one of three roadblocks around the isolated desert oasis, allowing free travel to the rest of the
West Bank. Israeli soldiers stopped checking cars entering Jericho a boost for the town's economy and for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who needs
to show he can get results as he seeks to renew the peace process with Israel.
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Violence has dropped considerably since Abbas took power, and many are genuinely surprised at the level of progress being seen. It seems that Sharon
has done a 180 degree turn, and is truly willing to accept a peace with the Palestinians. The two politicians have made more progress in short order
than anyone believed possible.
One of the true casualties of war is trust. These two groups have been killing each other for centuries, they are in a state of shock it seems,
almost unable to accept what their eyes see. Hopefully this is just the begginning, and more progress will follow.
The fact that Jericho was the first city to change hands is largely symbolic, in my opinion. Jericho was the first city built by man, according to
most scholars. It appears as if the Israeli occupation is trying to send signals to the Palestinians. One can only hope those signals are received,
and the peace process will continue.
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