Luck of the Irish

Nine years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, the Northern Irish peace process successfully concluded last Tuesday with the formation of a power-sharing government comprised of once implacable foes, each the most hardline party in its respective camp: the Democratic Unionists for the Protestants, and Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army’s political wing, for the Catholics.

The Israeli-Palestinian process, in contrast, is nowhere near a resolution, despite having begun five years earlier; and in many respects, the conflict has worsened markedly. Yet the starting conditions in Northern Ireland were scarcely more promising. There, too, both sides claimed the same land: The Unionists wanted it to remain part of Britain, while Sinn Fein wanted it annexed to Ireland. And there, too, religious differences – centuries of Catholic-Protestant strife – exacerbated the conflict. Why, then, did the Irish process succeed while the Israeli-Palestinian process failed?

Resten på Jerusalem Post /Limewoody

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