Gershon Baskin

It is still not too late for peace


Gershon Baskin. Photo: Otmar Steinbicker

It is still not too late; It requires our leader to stand up and toss out the window the old mantras that we don’t have a partner and to then build the partnership.

Once again, Raviv Drucker, in part three of his three-part documentary on Hamakor, gave voices to the key Israelis and Palestinians who took part in the face-to- face peace negotiations. My intimate knowledge of previous negotiations reinforces this point. The best way to reach an agreement is to base it on the tradition of talks going back to Taba and the Clinton parameters.

Drucker’s documentary demonstrated just how close the parties were to reaching an agreement during prime minister Ehud Olmert’s term of office. The program documented that Olmert’s offer was not refused by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as the myth goes, but that Israeli and American personalities persuaded the Palestinians to wait for Tzipi Livni to become prime minister and that negotiating with Olmert after he had been indicted would not have value. That might be true, especially because, as we now know, Olmert was convicted, and if his appeal is turned down will soon be going to prison.

What is not known is, had Abbas and Olmert continued negotiating and reached an agreement, as both leaders believe that they would have, would that agreement have stood the test of democracy when brought to the Israeli and Palestinian people.

I believe that the Israeli and the Palestinian people will never vote against a peace agreement that they believe is fair, that addresses their basic needs and that provides security for Israel and sovereignty for the Palestinians, and that will be the nature of any agreement reached.

The gaps between Olmert and Abbas were primarily concerning the size of the territory Israel would annex. The main Palestinian objection to Olmert’s map was the annexation of Ariel to Israel. The Palestinians objected to having a finger 26 kilometers deep into the Palestinian state when they knew that most of the Ariel settlers were “economic” settlers as opposed to ideological settlers and that according to surveys a majority of them would be willing to resettle for fair compensation. The gaps were not about Jerusalem or refugees, as is often claimed. Abbas was willing to declare “end of conflict, end of claims.”

As Olmert stated, regarding refugees Abbas said that he did not want to change the character of the State of Israel, stating that there would not be a significant return of refugees to Israel and implicitly recognizing the Jewish character of the State of Israel.

I know from long discussions with Abbas that the parameters of peace that were relevant during the Olmert talks are valid today. Abbas is even more flexible today on finding solutions for Israel’s security concerns.

He has said to me and to others that the Palestinians are willing to accept any security measures that address the legitimate security concerns of Israel.

Today, it is Abbas who has problems of legitimacy, but unlike Olmert, he is not under criminal indictment.

Yes, he is the leader of the enemy and for Israelis he has become less of a possible peacemaker than previously.

He is not a member of the Zionist movement or a lover of Zion.

He is the leader of Israel’s enemy and will not accept Israel’s narratives or positions. But he remains the leader of the Palestinian people, even with his limited legitimacy. If he were to bring an agreement to his people that looks like the Olmert offer plus closure of the gaps, he would be received as a hero by most Palestinians and the agreement would pass the referendum that he has promised to conduct.

I believe that the agreement would also pass an Israeli referendum after was supported by the chiefs of Israel’s security establishment – the Chief of Staff of the IDF, the head of the Mossad, the head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and others. They would accept it because it would include a demilitarized Palestinian state and security arrangements that would guarantee Israel’s security, based on the lessons of the past. The agreement would be presented by Abbas to the primary Sunni Arab countries and would get their support, leading to immediate recognition and peace between them and Israel. The agreement would be supported by the UN Security Council and be backed by the entire world.

Israel would come out so much stronger than it is today and would enjoy the backing of the majority of Israelis. I note this recognizing that some 30 percent of Israel’s Jewish citizens will automatically oppose any agreement signed with the Palestinians; the agreement will receive close to 70% Jewish support plus the overwhelming majority of Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Israel would turn the clock back on the emerging binational reality which is a disaster for now and for the future. Israel’s young people would see the promise of a future worth staying here for.

All of this can be done – it is all possible.

It requires our leader to stand up and toss out the window the old mantras that we don’t have a partner and to then build the partnership. It is still not too late.

Gershon Baskin ist Autor des Aachener Friedensmagazins Seine Beiträge finden Sie hier

World Wide Web

Beiträge von Gershon Baskin

De-risking peace - Part I

The Left is right

The French connection

The United Nations and Israel’s legitimacy

A moment of opportunity

The darkness of our times

Addressing the core

The worst negotiations, the best negotiations

Palestinian turmoil and Israeli interests

This one is for you - the Palestinians

Palestinian suffering makes no sense for Israel

Creating a compelling vision for peace

It is also in our hands

Sooner or later

There is no partner

There is no partner


Yes, it is difficult to make peace

What does he really want?

To those who oppose Israeli-Palestinian peace

Israel – my sad home

Have I got news for you

It is still not too late for peace

Netanyahu, tell us what you really think!

The partnership challenge

The binational reality that we are experiencing

Abbas is still the leader who can make peace

A new intifada?

After Abbas

The distance between here and peace and security

Doing the wrong thing at that wrong time

The one and only solution!

Yeshayahu Leibowitz was right!

The disengagement – 10 years on: What we choose to forget

Needed - a new approach to Gaza

A bad agreement is better than no agreement

Obviously no peace now, so what then?

Ramadan Kareem!

Israel’s strategic choices regarding Gaza

Anti-normalization hypocrites

FIFA, soccer and the Palestinians

Both sides now

It’s time for Palestine

The citizens’ challenge – from despair to hope

We have the chance to do the right thing in Yarmouks

The world is not against us

This is what you voted for, and this is what you will get

The no decision elections

A cautious peace, but peace nevertheless

For the sake of Israel, Netanyahu must be sent home

Going ballistic even prior to an agreement

To the new IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot

The Peace Bridge

The choices we must make

Israeli elections – It’s not about the economy

Threats and security


Returning to negotiations

Our most important elections

The missed opportunities

We want peace, but they don't

Our future is in our hands

Defining who we are

Unlike religious wars, political wars have solutions

Today and tomorrow

If we had a real leader

Jerusalem of peace, Jerusalem of war

No tango going on at all

The Gaza challenge

Is Hamas prepared to end this war with a long-term ceasefire?

The end of the ceasefire, the renewal of war and the end game

The aftermath

Some thoughts this morning

Regional forum for security and stability – Gaza first

After a long phone conversation with a Hamas leader in Gaza

Don’t destroy Gaza, build it!

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 3 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace (part 2 of 3)

Framework document for the establishment of permanent peace

Palestinian refugees in Syria

Annexing the West Bank – a catastrophic plan for the Jewish people

Mutual and reciprocal recognition

Our Palestinians, their Jews

A very personal statement on peace


Contextual reciprocity

Negotiating atmospherics

My Conversation With Hamas

Ramadan Kareem

Wahrheit, Lügen und Rechtmäßigkeit

Kauft palästinensisch!

Rat für den Präsidenten

Keine Fortsetzung des Unilateralismus!

Diesen Weg müssen wir einschlagen!

Die Kluft im Umgang mit den israelischen Arabern schließen


Eine Ein-Staat-Realität ist nicht durchführbar

Strategische Fehler und Herausforderungen

Mord an der Chance für Ruhe

Das Ende des Raketenbeschusses aus Gaza

Die Aufgabe eines Staatsmannes

Es gibt einen Ausweg

Atomwaffen raus aus dem Arsenal

Was Abbas Israel sagen sollte

Obama, gestatte es uns nicht!

Ist mein zionistischer Traum gestorben?