Israel has a partner for peace

Israel has a partner for peace

By Shimon Shiffer, via Jerusalem Post 
via Jeruaslem Post (click here for original article)
Shimon Shiffer discusses how on both sides there is a partner to work towards peace.  It is up to both leaders to look beyond preconditions and start talking. 
What we must keep in mind, beyond the familiar responses from the Prime Minister’s Office, is that Abbas represents a reasonable chance for dialogue on some kind of agreement. And I am not talking about a comprehensive deal that would facilitate the end of the conflict and satisfy all our desires. 

Our military leaders would attest that Abbas, as opposed to Arafat, repeats what he says in public behind closed doors as well: He instructs his security forces to take determined action against terror masterminds. And that’s a fact. 

The following message must be relayed to the Palestinian side: You have an Israeli partner. We would do well to agree amongst ourselves that the Palestinian side does not have to renounce what is known as its “narrative”; viewing itself as a victim, the tragedy experienced by the Palestinians, the uprooting experience, the “Nakba,” or any other expression that has maintained this bloody conflict for the past 100 years. 

At the same time, I would advice Abbas to renounce the preconditions he set for renewing negotiations with Netanyahu. The prime minister represents a majority of Israelis, who are willing to engage in dialogue with the Palestinians yet at the same time continue to take over additional territory in Judea and Samaria. Realities on the ground, with the essence being the recognition that nearly 500,000 Israelis live beyond the Green Line, dictate the conduct of every PM in his talks with the Palestinians. 

This is the Israeli partner, just like this is the Palestinian partner. 

Abbas will not renounce the outline of his narrative, including seeing those who we perceive as murderers as “prisoners in the Palestinian struggle for the establishment of a state.” Meanwhile, an Israeli leader would not be able to renounce the demographic realties that emerged in the West Bank in the wake of the Six-Day War. 

The late Yitzhak Rabin would say that all Israelis have a dream: One morning they will wake up and not see their Arab neighbors. Rabin would drily conclude by saying that this dream would never materialize: The Arabs are here, the Palestinians living alongside us won’t disappear, and we therefore must initiate moves that would make life in our region tolerable for both sides. Rabin worked to achieve this objective, until he paid with his life. 

Now the time has come for action on the part of those who make pretenses of leading both peoples, instead of making do with statements and responses that no longer impress anyone.

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