Friday, September 25, 2015

Encountering Peace: Good morning, Israel!

During this time of reflection and taking responsibility, this government and the opposition in Israel have a lot to atone for.


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For some reason political strategists in Israel advice their clients not to take strong positions on the issues that have the greatest consequences for the publics’ life and safety. It was more than obvious in the past elections for Knesset that not one of the main parties offered any kind of proposal or initiative for dealing with the Palestinian issue. Those opposed to any kind of agreement with the Palestinians have succeeded so much in convincing the public that peace is not possible and that Israel has no partner for peace, that even the idea of speaking about peace appears naive and detached from reality. When did it become common wisdom that Israel’s passivity is what this country needs? The current government of Israel has no political initiative and relies solely on defense and constantly trying to build deterrence against Israel’s enemies – at home and abroad. There is zero chance for success for the strategy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government of constantly trying to explain away the reasons for recurring Palestinian violence, or for the growing delegitimization of Israel around the world.
Israel does not have a “hasbara” problem – there are simply things that can no longer be explained – like the continuing occupation and denying the Palestinian people the right of freedom and liberation.
Contracting out Israel’s public diplomacy to the best Madison Avenue firm will not change international public opinion about Israel. The lack of any political initiative by Israel is a real problem that cannot be explained away.
There is no denying that there are real objective problems and that the current reality in Palestine is most challenging including the continuing divide between Fatah and Hamas and the waning legitimacy of the Palestinian leader. But there has been a total absence of any effort to see how Israeli political initiatives can help to shape events inside of Palestine and in the region in a positive way. No one in the world believes Netanyahu when he declares that he is prepared to meet the Palestinian leader without conditions at any time. No one believes that he has any intentions to actually move forward in serious negotiations because his ongoing policies demonstrate a total lack of willingness to even signal the readiness to enable the creation of a viable Palestinian state next to Israel. While the entire world is still holding onto the vision of a two-state solution, it seems that the Israeli political arena has accepted that there is no viable solution to this conflict. So instead of challenging reality and trying to influence change, the main political parties in Israel starting with the government itself is ignoring it with the hope that it will disappear. ...

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