‘Speaking at the Brookings Institute’s Saban Forum on ”US-Israel Relations in a Dynamic Middle East,” Liberman said negotiations with the Palestinians must start “not from security and not from refugees, but from some simple thing I call trust, confidence, credibility.’
Mr. Liberman is quite correct. The situation requires trust, confidence and credibility before any real progress can be made in these Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But, in their dealings with each other thus far, neither side has experienced any long-term exposure to such elusive qualities. This fact alone prevents the peace process from going much beyond its present and all too predictable deadlock; not even the sterling efforts of the ever-resourceful Mr. Kerry are likely to improve matters in this regard.
Palestinians, it must be said, do not trust Israelis and this, no doubt, is with very good reason. Israelis have much the same problem with Palestinians. The establishment of any substantial degree of trust between them would therefore seem to be something of a non-starter in all foreseeable futures.
So, can sufficient amounts of trust, confidence and credibility ever be found that will allow all the various issues to be addressed in a positive and workmanlike manner? Could conditions be made viable whereby the best results might then be made possible, not least because circumstances had been massively and deliberately engineered to bring these into being?
What about the basic trust that must exist between Palestinians and other Palestinians and, by the very same token, that which Israelis have in their own people? Without some measure of this vital commodity, both communities would have disintegrated long ago and who knows what outcome might then have evolved. It can be surmised that it would be nothing like that which has prevailed over the past seven decades..
Here both sides would find themselves facing an acute but all too common dilemma.
No advantage could be gained by maintaining the status quo in its current form. The risks would be far too great even to contemplate. So a much less confrontational approach all round would have to be sourced and adopted, one leading to a more relaxed atmosphere and the promotion thereby of rapid settlement in many contentious issues previously thought to be insoluble.
OK, it’s certainly a gamble for everyone concerned and very much a court of last resort. But is it any worse than that which obtains at present? In fact, we might all suddenly find ourselves a whole lot better off should such a protocol come to be accepted as worldwide policy.