Khaled Amayreh argues in Al-Ahram that Israel has rejected Palestinian proposals for a mutual ceasefire in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank arguing there can be no parity “between the Israel occupation army and Palestinian resistance groups.” He notes that Egypt tried to broker a “Gaza First” solution that would later be extended to the West Bank only to be told by the Israel government any ceasefire would restrict military activities in the West Bank and it had the right to protect Israel citizens.
An able negotiator examines options open to his opponent in an endeavor to offer solutions that enable the other side to accept proposals that come within their zone of comfort. If Israel believes that considerations as to what is best for Israel citizens will lead to a compromise solution, then it is inhabiting a world in which war is the only outcome. I realize many Israelis will argue that Arabs can not be trusted and that unless all violence ceases, there is no way Israel can enter into negotiations. Unfortunately, for those holding such views, Palestinians believe Israel is the violent force and they want Israel to evacuate the entire West Bank. For those who believe it is possible to have conflict resolution in which the needs of both parties are respected, compromise is the most important element in the process. Israel negotiators must consider equally important to their desires for security, the bottom line needs of Palestinians for security. Until that attitude becomes the basis of Israel negotiation, there will be no peace.
I have been criticized by many people who consider themselves friends of Israel and a common complaint is their anger at the language of hate emanating from Palestinian leaders. Let me conclude this commentary with a quote from Mordechi Elyahu, former Chief Rabbi and an individual with hundreds of thousands of supporters:
He commented on the need for bombing of Gaza to halt bombings by Palestinians. “If they don’t stop after we kill a 100, then we must kill 1,000, and if they don’t stop after we kill 1000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop after we kill 10,000 then we must kill 100,000, even a million, whatever it takes them to stop.”
If Israel is upset at the violent rhetoric of Palestinian leaders, what must Palestinians think about the violent rhetoric of an Israel leader? Do not allow rhetoric to hinder negotiations.
Al-Ahram, June 7, 2007 “Domination Not Partnership”