Gershon Baskin

De-risking peace - Part 2

09.06.2016

Gershon Baskin. Photo: Otmar Steinbicker

Implementable agreements on the core issues that will positively impact realities on the ground for both sides will serve as the best corridor to confronting the narrative issues.

When Israelis and Palestinians eventually get back to the table to negotiate a permanent-status agreement, ending the conflict and implementing the “two states for two peoples” agreement, it is essential that the quality of the agreement be much better than all of the previous, interim agreements. It is essential that we learn from the errors of the past and even other conflict areas that have gone through peace processes. In Part 1 of this series I related to the fundamental elements of personal and national security and the need to develop joint security mechanisms with the Palestinians rather than depending on third-party peacekeeping forces, as is the present thinking among many who are pushing for the renewal of the peace process.

One of the most difficult aspects for Israelis and Palestinians to agree on are what are called the “narrative issues.” These are those set of issues which relate to identity, history and national essence. The lack of agreement on these issues thus far has been the flashing red light held onto by those who claim that “they will never make peace with us.” When Palestinians say, “We will never recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people” or “we will never give up the right of return” it signals to most Israelis that there is no Palestinian partner for peace. When Israelis say, “All of the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel” or “all of Jerusalem is the united, undivided, eternal capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” this signals to Palestinians that there is no Israeli partner for peace.

My experience in dealing with all of these issues with Israelis and Palestinians, at the highest levels as well as at grassroots level, has taught me that there are solutions to every single concrete issue in conflict between Israelis and Palestinians which could be acceptable and workable for both sides. There are technical, political and structural solutions for every single issue in conflict, including borders, security, Jerusalem and refugees. Dealing with narratives and genuine reconciliation takes a lot longer and requires putting to bed those issues in conflict which are much more pressing and concrete. Both sides will probably have to postpone full satisfaction of all of their narrative-related demands for later stages.

For Palestinians to accept the moral right of the Jewish people to a nation-state in the Land of Israel, or for Israelis to accept their part of responsibility for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem and the Nakba will take a lot more time than it will take to conclude an agreement. The process of dealing with the above central issues to the roots of the conflict can only begin after an agreement is reached on all of the core issues at their base, concrete level. For example, the Palestinians have agreed to recognize Israel and to make peace with Israel and will be prepared to declare the end of conflict without having to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. It would help a lot if they would do that prior to signing an agreement, but they will probably refuse. They may be forced to do that, but if it is not sincere it will be a cause of resentment and not a means of building reconciliation. I have discussed this issue with Palestinian leaders, including President Mahmoud Abbas, and I know that there are ways that this core issue of recognition can be dealt with – but after agreement on borders, Jerusalem and refugees.

I know that there are solutions to the refugee issue without the Palestinians having to declare that they have given up the right of return. That will never happen because this issue more than any other is the core of Palestinian identity. It is wiser for us to accept that than to fight it. The right of return is seen as an individual right of each refugee and not a collective right that can be given away by any Palestinian leader. The Palestinians need to know that each refugee will be given a choice.

Most Palestinians know that there is no real option or possibility to return to their original homes. But there will be some symbolic number of Palestinians that will be given the possibility to come to Israel, along with other countries that will offer places for Palestinian refugees, and other options as well, including financial compensation for people who lost real property. Palestinians need to know that Israeli acknowledgment of its part of the responsibility for the tragedy that happened to Palestinians who became refugees will come with time, and not at the moment of signing an agreement.

Implementable agreements on the core issues that will positively impact realities on the ground for both sides will serve as the best corridor to confronting the narrative issues. Pushing them to the front will only postpone any agreement. Actions are more important than declarations.

The declarations must be made with true intent.

I do not suggest removing them from the agenda, but I do suggest that we begin to relate to them as part of the post-peace agreement process.

Gershon Baskin ist Autor des Aachener Friedensmagazins www.aixpaix.de. Seine Beiträge finden Sie hier


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Beiträge von Gershon Baskin
2016

De-risking peace - Part 5

De-risking peace - Part 4

De-risking peace - Part 3

De-risking peace - Part 2

De-risking peace - Part 1

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

2015

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

2014

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

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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

2013

Contextual reciprocity

Negotiating atmospherics

My Conversation With Hamas

Ramadan Kareem

Wahrheit, Lügen und Rechtmäßigkeit

Kauft palästinensisch!

Rat für den Präsidenten

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Diesen Weg müssen wir einschlagen!

Die Kluft im Umgang mit den israelischen Arabern schließen

2012

Eine Ein-Staat-Realität ist nicht durchführbar

Strategische Fehler und Herausforderungen

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Das Ende des Raketenbeschusses aus Gaza

Die Aufgabe eines Staatsmannes

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Was Abbas Israel sagen sollte

Obama, gestatte es uns nicht!

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