It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that the element of trust existing between Palestinians and Israelis, certainly at virtually all political levels, has never been very high and it is only the strong-arm tactics of the US that has lately persuaded both sides to enter into negotiations, talks which, so far, seem to have generated rather more heat than light.
This has been pretty much the case from the very beginning and it should come as no surprise that, after decades involving discussion on various peace proposals and initiatives, neither side can be said to hold the other in the very highest esteem. Indeed, this lack of trust has become the predominant factor in preventing any real progress towards a settlement of even the most rudimentary nature.
If one accepts that this premise is valid, then no amount of persuasion, argument, bribery or pressure will accomplish very much in the long run. Mr. Kerry, for all his sterling efforts to date, still has a mountain to climb before he can lay claim to even the smallest of victories in such matters. The odds, at present, would indicate that he may not make it past the foothills, let alone reach the summit.
So, since it seems that a large measure of trust can never be established between the principals here, how else can the void be traversed, in what manner may this chasm be bridged?
If trust is an absolute prerequisite for peace to prevail, then it must be established using some procedure entirely different from the current model. Getting both sides around a table in the faint hope that some mutual confidence in the sincerity of their intentions will come to the fore is too much like asking for the moon.
Here trust is made manifest entirely through the actions of one’s own community. There is no need to rely on the good faith and benevolence of others. Indeed, bad faith and intransigence on their part would only lend credence to the technique and reinforce its impact on what must otherwise remain a totally insoluble set of circumstances.