Gershon Baskin



Gershon Baskin. Photo: Otmar Steinbicker

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will never end without a negotiated agreement. This is something that is known on both sides of the conflict; the absurdity of no negotiations taking place for the past years is counterproductive to their national security interests. The continuation of the conflict without serious attempts to resolve it emerges from the shared belief on both sides that there is no partner for an agreement. It also emerges from the failure of negotiations until now, with each side claiming that the other side is not willing to reach an agreement. Furthermore, the failure of the peace process over the past two decades is also due, in a large part, to violations of obligations that both sides took upon themselves in the six agreements that they signed.

Growing numbers of Israelis and Palestinians have come to believe that the two-state solution is no longer viable. Some people have been searching for new ideas such as “two states in one homeland,” a set of untenable and somewhat absurd elements, while others are building on making peace with the other Arab states and only afterwards having a deal with the Palestinians. All of this wishful thinking attempts to evade the core of the conflict which is the willingness of both sides, Israel and the Palestinians, to fight, kill, and to die for a territorial expression of their identity – a place, a national home they can call their own.

The two-state solution remains the only viable solution to the conflict, but the so-called separation paradigm based on walls and fences, largely due to fears of terrorism, remains a non-workable solution because it could never create peaceful relations. Contacts and cooperation across political borders is the best recipe for transforming a peace agreement into real peace and that will be unavoidable. This fits right into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s thinking about “economic peace,” but it must go far beyond that. The broader the cooperation in the region, the more secure will be the peace that develops following resolving the political issues. That is why a multilateral approach, first based on the regional players – Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan – is better than any bilateral approach. But so far we have not yet found the way back to the table.

The recent offer by Russian President Vladimir Putin to sponsor a meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu, hopefully with the participation of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah, is a very positive step. The US political system is engulfed in the presidential elections circus, making an Obama initiative this late into his presidency not possible (and not desirable, at least as far as I’m concerned).

The original offer by Sisi to sponsor the meeting was very positive, but he came under too much fire from the Egypt and the Arab streets. The Russian track could actually offer some new positive dimensions that have been absent until now. According to reports from the Palestinian side, Abbas dropped his preconditions for a meeting with Netanyahu at Putin’s request, and now the ball in is Netanyahu’s court, after stating for the past few years that he is prepared to meet Abbas any time, anywhere with no preconditions. The moment of truth is upon us.

The Russian role now is very interesting because of the increased presence of Russia in the region, especially in Syria. Russia’s role in the battle against ISIS, the Russian-Turkish reconciliation along with the Israeli-Turkish reconciliation and what seems to be full coordination between the Israeli and Russian militaries in the Syrian arena provides Russia with a powerful position in the room, if Israel and its Arab neighbors come together in Moscow. It is natural for the Palestinians to wish to see the Russians taking over the American role of mediation because they view the Americans as ultimately always defending Israeli positions against the Palestinians. The Palestinian expectation is that Russia will be much more pro-Palestinian in the negotiations and will apply pressure on Israel to make concessions.

Russia has demonstrated its willingness to use military force in Syria and has developed a very good channel of communications with the IDF. It has been reported that Netanyahu has spent more telephone time with Putin in the past year than with Obama. It could be expected that Putin will understand all of Israel’s security needs and demands vis-à-vis the Palestinians and will apply pressure to the Palestinians to accept them – including a long-term continued Israeli military presence within the Palestinian state. The Russians could offer to serve as a third party, as a peacekeeping force with Russian boots on the ground, in full coordination and cooperation with Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli forces. Russia could also have a role on the Egyptian side with regards to changing the reality in Gaza – although this has not yet been discussed yet between the parties.

During the Annapolis process under president George W. Bush, the Russians had announced their intention to convene a regional peace gathering in Moscow. The Russians organized meetings of experts to determine what the Russian role could be. It was clear at that time that the Russians intended to spend more time and effort discussing their possible role than actually playing any role. The Quartet that represented the will on the international community, including Russia, was clearly an American enterprise. With a waning American role in the region, it seems that Russia may very well step into a position that it has not yet held. The task of getting Netanyahu and Abbas to agree to anything is daunting, yet with very limited expectations, it might actually be possible to get the parties talking once again.

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

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Beiträge von Gershon Baskin


Palestine-Jordan confederation and peace

The waiting game

The apology, democracy and peace

Sisi, the peace broker


The republic of Israel-Palestine?

My enemy's leader

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


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?