Wendy Kalman
There are many ways to see and understand

Rocky times not a reason to not think about peace

Photo by octaviolopez courtesy of morguefile.com
Photo by octaviolopez courtesy of morguefile.com

How will Israelis and Palestinians ever achieve a resolution, I honestly don’t know. As the April 9 Israeli elections approach, we can only see what we see. And it’s Bibi standing defiantly with Otzma Yehudit, spouting Kahanist racist ideology. This is driving many to look elsewhere. The newly formed Blue White party, merged from Yesh Atid and Israel Resilience, now…and to discuss if Bibi should resign once indicted or could pull together a coalition anyway.

On the one hand, some might hope that the new Blue White party might have a direction, but they can’t even decide yet on a platform. And they’ve already indicated positions on Jerusalem and the settlement blocs which they won’t budge from. While they are polling as likely to get the most votes, there is still uncertainty about how they’d pull together a coalition.

The absence of the peace process as a campaign topic is noticeable, even to the Palestinians, and as such, they are not even paying attention to Israeli elections. Then again, they’ve noticed it hasn’t played a part in the last four Israeli election cycles. This could be particularly disturbing if it wasn’t for the conclusions of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research’s January report on the status of the peace process in the public’s eye.

This report goes in depth, going beyond the obvious decline of support for a two-state solution on both sides over the last decade, into what it would take to sway public opinion. It is a study worth reading.

I do wonder, though, with the Palestinian Authority (and Hamas) refusing to hold new elections for Palestinians, I am not sure how they would allow those voices who might want peace to ever speak up and be counted.

Regardless, Blue White’s announcement of the issues on which it won’t budge are as detrimental to the process as is the PA’s insistence that it won’t consider anything coming from the United States. I for one want to hear what Jared Kushner has managed to put together. But beyond that I would want a leadership who is always willing to listen to offers no matter how angry it is about anything. Cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face is never helpful.

Or how about considering a confederation like outlined in this Foreign Policy piece? It makes sense as to something to consider. The bigger point is without consideration and negotiation, there is no future.

150 Jewish and Palestinians students recently gathered at Haifa University for the largest congress where they worked to negotiate trust-building measures and solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is only experiences like these, which get past simple demands and dig into the nitty gritty of problem solving and learning more about the other side’s perspective, that can make a difference. But how do we get the public and leaders on both sides to enter into the same kind of eye-opening exercises?

About the Author
Born in Brooklyn and raised on Lawn Guyland, Wendy lived in Jerusalem for over a decade submerged in Israeli culture; she has been soaked in Southern life in metro Atlanta since returning to the U.S. in 2003. Recently remarried, this Ashkenazi mom of three Mizrahi sons, 26, 23 and 19, splits her time between managing knowledge in corporate America, pursuing a dual masters in public administration and integrated global communications, blogging, relentlessly Facebooking, once-in-a-while veejaying, enjoying the arts and digging out of the post-move carton chaos of her and her husband's melded household.
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