Monday, August 15, 2005

Aceh Peace and Gaza Withdrawal

Today, Indonesia and the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed a peace deal in Helsinki, ending 30 years of civil war in the Aceh province. Over 12,000 people have died in Aceh since 1976 due to the war and over 130,000 people are missing or dead since last year's tsunami.

Both sides had to give concessions to the other. GAM had to give up full Aceh independence and mold their differences into a viable political party. The Indonesian government had to release political prisoners and offer them farmland to help reintegrate into civilian life.

Meanwhile, in Israeli Gaza Strip, the withdrawal looms. As unarmed troops attempted to deliver eviction notices in Neve Dekalim, tearful Jewish settlers locked gates, formed human chains and burned tires to stop them. Over the next few weeks, Israel plans to evict and dismantle 21 settlements in Gaza and 4 in the West Bank, giving the land over to the Palestinian state for distribution.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz had this to say about the evictions today:
It's a painful and difficult day, but it's a historic day.
My thoughts and prayers are with these brave peoples, attempting to repair decades of violence and chaos. I've said it before and will continue to say it: peace is worth the sacrifice. Until opponents are able to come to a consensus, there will be nothing but senseless violence and needless murder in its place. We need more peacemakers.


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