Three Suggestions for President Obama in 2010

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is one of the most important and urgent conflicts of our time. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians have convinced the world that they feel an urgent need to make peace: the Israelis are primarily concerned with their security and the Palestinians want justice. Israelis must be consciously confronted by the devastating effects of the occupation of Palestinian territory and Israeli settlements on the future of both peoples. The obvious disregard for human rights will inevitably make Israel look like an apartheid state in the long run. The inability of Palestinians and Israelis to reach an agreement on their own makes me believe in the necessity of an evenhanded, externally imposed solution. The United States’ friendship has been a great boon to Israel in the past, but true friendship encompasses honesty and courage in addition to support and generosity. Israel now desperately needs help because its current position is morally and strategically hazardous to its own future as well as that of the Palestinians. If President Obama wants to bring about an end to the conflict, I urge him to take the following three steps:

1.    To bring the Palestinian problem to light amongst Israel’s population, because a solution will only become possible once the problem has been identified and recognized.

2.    To apply pressure to Israel to do what is essential for the survival of both Israelis and Palestinians. As I have said so many times before, the destinies of the two peoples are inextricably linked and therefore they are either blessed or cursed to live side by side, not with their backs to each other. What is good in the long term for one must by definition be good for the other, and what is bad for one cannot be good for the other,

and

3.    To apply pressure to Palestinians to have transparent democratic elections in all Palestinian territories (including Gaza) in order to then enter into dialogue with all Palestinian factions regardless of their current stand.

I write these words as an Israeli as well as a Palestinian citizen. President Obama seems to me to be the only one who can, through the vision he presented in his Cairo speech, bring security and justice to the region.

 

An abridged version of this article first appeared in the International Herald Tribune Magazine on December 16, 2009.

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