"Dahlia Scheindlin, Can Israel and Palestine learn from Colombia?" jpost.com
Image from article, with caption: WILL ALL this be over now? Members of the 51st Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) patrol in the remote mountains of Colombia, last month.
The bottom line is that the road is twisted and belabored, full of fresh trauma and setbacks
It is rare to hear any good news about conflicts de-escalating. This week, the world rallied around the implementation of a cease-fire between the notorious and shadowy FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the Colombia government.
The conflict has dragged on for over 50 years.
The most obvious and optimistic point is that a long and bloody past need not be the future forever. But other useful points are emerging for comparison and maybe inspiration. ...
This week’s cease-fire did not occur ex nihilo.
Negotiations between the government and FARC had dragged on for five years, with rounds of cease-fires, violations, escalations and renewed attempts. ... But finally, in June 2015, FARC declared a unilateral cease-fire that lasted the year, until the formal agreement was signed in June and completed this week. It is valuable to note then that the sides saw the process through to fruition despite ongoing violence and the backlash this surely generated. ...
The agreement will now be put to a referendum on October 2. It will be a critical test. ...
With or without a referendum, public legitimacy is essential for such controversial agreements under such delicate political circumstances. ... In Colombia, if available, support from actors outside politics could shore up what the president is lacking.
In Israel and Palestine, this key role for civil society is also a reminder that the hardship of pro-peace activity, from daily despair to anti-normalization and outright political attacks, are not in vain. Peace is a long and frustrating game but at the key moment, an infrastructure of support can make a difference. Perhaps even the sophisticated advertising campaign that began a decade ago encouraging de-commissioning of FARC soldiers ... , contributed slowly to the current process as well. That was government led – a sort of reverse hasbara (public diplomacy).
The bottom line is that the road is twisted and belabored, full of fresh trauma and setbacks. Long-term efforts for peace by the government, peace advocates and other social figures may seem futile for years.
That is, until the moment of potential – when all hands are needed in the push for peace. ...