first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! THE triumph of Ehud Olmert in Israel’s election is an encouraging sign that the obstacles to peace in the Middle East can be overcome. The centrist politician, following a path set down by his predecessor, Ariel Sharon, has taken a carrot-and-stick approach to the Palestinian Authority’s new Hamas leadership. Olmert has outlined his openness to peace talks if the new Hamas government renounces terrorism. And if Hamas continues to refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist, Olmert has promised to pull out of the West Bank unilaterally, and draw his own boundaries in a way that clearly would advantage Israel. Israelis have shown they are tired of the bloodshed and wish, as Olmert said, “to live in a state in peace and quiet.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event This is a truly hopeful time in the history of a region that has been at war for generations. Olmert’s challenge – and the world community’s as well – is to do all that is humanly possible to get Hamas to see that a healthy Palestinian nation is within reach. Peace won’t come to the Middle East overnight; nor will it be easy to stabilize a region that has been torn by violence for so long. But no issue is more important. Peace between the Israelis and Palestinians would undercut the whole Islamist movement and open the way to creating a safer world for everyone.last_img