Tags: Working | Globally | for | Peace

Working Globally for Peace

Monday, 14 March 2005 12:00 AM

Sen. Allen also visited Israel where he met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu, Labor party leader Simon Peres, and General Amos Gilad.

The topics leading the agenda were laying a foundation for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and Hezbollah.

Sharon was anxious to discuss Allen's support regarding the refusal of the European Union to recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Allen has sent a letter to EU Foreign Policy and Security Chief Javier Salana urging them to change their stance, and is sponsoring an upcoming resolution on the matter for the U.S. Senate. Sharon was very appreciative of Allen's efforts.

"All of us have had our hopes [for peace] dashed for so many years," Allen said. "But Sharon really sees this [Arafat's death] as an opportunity."

Allen spoke of Sharon's willingness to seize this opportunity. Israel has withdrawn from Gaza, and released Palestinian prisoners. Now, the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas must control the terrorists. Even though terrorist attacks are down, there's concern that some radical might assassinate Abbas and upset this progress.

The senator also gave a can of Virginia peanuts to Sharon, only to learn that Sharon's family grew peanuts years ago.

As for the rumors that Sharon appears depressed? Not true, said a staffer who accompanied Sen. Allen on the trip, "He was in very good spirits, a little overweight, but very bright and very engaged."

However, a power play may be brewing between Netanyahu and Sharon. Allen's meeting with Netanyahu was a reunion of sorts. In 1996, then Governor Allen met with then Prime Minister Netanyahu to sign agreements on education and business between Virginia and Israel.

Since that time both men have come a long way. While nursing a cigar, Netanyahu pushed his argument for a referendum on Israel's disengagement with the Palestinians. This is in direct conflict to fellow Likud party member Sharon's plan. Is Netanyahu angling for a battle with Sharon in an attempt to retake the office of prime minister? At 77 years of age, would Sharon be up for such a fight?

This dangerous and complex situation is evidenced by the barrier Israel built to keep out the terrorists. Allen toured the structure. He also viewed the Dead Sea. The lore being that the sea is dead because so many people are baptized in the Jordan River, which empties all of those sins into the Dead Sea. Let's hope that those sins are finally being washed away, allowing a new era to dawn in this violence stricken land.

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Sen. Allen also visited Israel where he met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu, Labor party leader Simon Peres, and General Amos Gilad. The topics leading the agenda were laying a foundation for peace between Israel and the...
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Monday, 14 March 2005 12:00 AM
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