A mother who punishes her husband by throwing her children out the window of a high-rise building is not a fit parent. But a father who erected a net on the street below to save the children from hitting the pavement is not a fit parent either. At that point, it makes no difference which parent is worst; their license to raise children should be suspended immediately. This couple should not have the luxury of “arguing” their case against each other; what counts is that they’ve let their relationship develop such profound dysfunction. Similarly, the current war exposes the cynical, self-exonerating claims by both the Israeli and Palestinian governments, and it vividly demonstrates their inability to make peace. It shows how Israelis and Palestinians, swept up in nationalism and demagoguery, are failing to see their own interests. The people of Israel and Gaza do not need to defeat each other. They need peace. But the government of Israel and the leaders of Hamas continue to make reaching that goal impossible. Israeli officials claim that Hamas is a terrorist organization that has kidnapped the Palestinian people, using them as human shields. They claim Israel has nothing against the Palestinians themselves, that the Palestinian people are simply the victims of Hamas terrorists. But Israeli officials do not explain why they have failed to make peace with the Palestinian people, who, they admit, are not Israel’s enemy. The Israeli people, meanwhile, do not ask their officials to explain this disconnect, and they put no pressure on their government to make peace a reality. Hamas claims that it is willing to live in peace with the Jewish people but will not recognize the Zionist regime of Israel. However, Hamas fails to explain why it is not able to make peace with non-Zionist Israelis or with the Jews with whom it claims to want to live in peace. The Palestinian people do not ask their leaders to explain this disconnect, nor do they pressure their government to make peace. The reality is this: Neither the Israeli government nor the Hamas government is able make peace. They lack the tools, the vision, and the political power to do so. Other nations cheering them from the bleachers only encourage further escalation. As a hammer sees only nails, the Israeli and Palestinian governments can see only violence and are incapable of seeing peace. Israelis and Palestinians have made remarkable advances in technology, art, science, transportation, and communication. Israel produces more start-up companies than Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada, or the United Kingdom. In producing companies listed on NASDAQ, Israel is bested only by the United States. The Palestinians are the most educated people of all the Arab nations. In recent years, both Israel and Palestine have experienced huge growth in their economies and educational systems. Universities and technical institutes on both sides are popping up like mushrooms after the rain. Yet, when it comes to peace, we see no advances or innovations. The ongoing relationship between the two peoples is distinguished by pettiness, hatred, and suspicion. There is little generosity, goodwill, or imagination. When it comes to peace, the innovation and originality that otherwise makes them both so unique is conspicuously missing. Not only is there no improvement, the relationship between them is actually regressing. For decades, the leaders of Israel and Palestine, with the assistance of the U.S and other nations, have restricted themselves to imagining a single resolution to their differences, one that has been attempted again and again, and failed every time: The Two-State Solution. This lack of imagination and this stagnation of thinking on the subject of peace is simply astonishing. One is forced to ask: Are the people of Israel and Palestine truly interested in peace? If so, why are they not pursuing other options with the same vigor and innovation that they apply to all other aspects of their lives? At this time, establishing a confederation between Palestinians and Israelis seems counterintuitive at best. It is clearly not going to be embraced by most Israelis or Palestinians. We have witnessed vociferous objections to an Israeli Palestinian Confederation by individuals on both sides. But those who object to the idea of a confederation do share a couple of things: They don’t understand what a confederation is, and they refuse to learn about it. The also ignore the fact that their respective governments have failed to offer them a viable formula for peace. An Israeli Palestinian Confederation is a coalition of the reasonable, those few Israelis and Palestinians who are willing to engage and who refuse to isolate themselves from each other. It does not require any of them to abandon their beliefs. Just as exercise and proper diet as a means to good health do not preclude surgery or medication, a confederation is not contradictory to a Two-State Solution, a One-State solution, or, for that matter, any other solution. I recently saw a documentary about people in Pakistan with deeply entrenched religious and traditional beliefs who refused to let their children receive a polio vaccination. Some of these parents had even seen their older children develop polio, yet they continued to refuse inoculations for their younger ones. It is striking to see the similarities between the religious Pakistanis who refuse to vaccinate their children and the Israelis and Palestinians who, despite the ongoing death and destruction, refuse to consider other options for peace. How much more suffering must the people of Israel and Palestine experience before they consider an alternative path toward peace? For a free copy of the book Peace: A Case for an Israeli Palestinian Confederation (which explains in detail how the IPC will work), send an e-mail to:firstname.lastname@example.org To watch a video illustration of the IPC concept, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POjypzcii_8 To read the IPC Constitution go to: http://www.ipconfederation.org/constitution-english.aspx JOSEF AVESAR is founder of the Israeli Palestinian Confederation, which advocates for a mutual third government for Israelis and Palestinians. An American-Israeli of Iraqi background, he practices law in the U.S., but travels frequently to Israel and Palestine.
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