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WATCH: Should Arab and Jewish activists focus on joint action or dialogue?

While some anti-occupation and human rights groups choose dialogue as their means of pursuing peace, others say that joint action is the only way to avoid perpetuating the existing power structure.

Read more:
Co-existence vs. Co-resistance: A case against normalization
Alternative peace initiative comes under fire for ‘normalization’
Jews, Arabs march on Israeli checkpoint to demand an end to occupation

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    1. JeffB

      Dialogue. Right now the largest impediment to a viable solution is that no one has any idea if one exists. The original land for peace formula fell apart. The second Oslo based one fell apart because of disagreements over details. There right now is not a viable plan, a plan capable of getting substantial majorities among both peoples.

      If people don’t choose a solution deliberately a solution will be chosen accidentally. History does not stand still.

      Reply to Comment
    2. i_like_ike52

      Some comments:
      (1) One of the big problems is that while Israeli public opinion plays a role in determining policy and was willing to give the Oslo process a chance, Palestinian society is authoritarian and the leaders make the decisions. Even if majority Palestinian public opinion supported a compromise peace (which it doesn’t), the extremists always put the moderates on the defensive. For example, in another Arab theater, do you think most Iraqis wanted the war with Iran that their leader Saddam Hussein inflicted on them?

      (2) Dialogue and “living together” can only go so far in a situation where two groups with very long standing grievances against each other. True peace and a “solution” can not be achieved ,but a modus-vivendi can be striven for. For example, in Bosnia, Muslims, Serbs and Croats lived together for over 40 years after World War 2 even though there was a long history of hostility between them. The 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo were shown to the world as a model of reconciliation, yet a few years later, the whole thing blew itself apart.

      (3) Dialogue and Jewish/Arab joint action often occur in a one-sided way. For instance, during a “dialogue” it is common for the Palestinian to start with a long shopping list of complaints against Jews and Israel. Then the Jews will take their turn and say “I agree with you”. This is not going to break down any barriers. The Palestinians may then say “we want justice and we view you as alien invaders” but then the Jew will respond simply with “we want peace” without refuting the basic Palestinian claim.

      (4) The comment that the Jews are the “strong side” even infects the Jews most sympathetic
      with the Palestinians. For instance, Jewish activists in the HADASH party will often say that “we Jews ALLOW the Arabs to run the party”, meaning they are nice enough to hold themselves back from telling the Arabs what to do even though the Jews think they know better.

      The bottom line is that all this dialogue and “joint action” will fail because it is the Israeli public that will make the decision to withdraw or not. There isn’t going to be an international deus ex machina that is going to give the Palestinians what they want by forcing Israel to do things.

      (5) Regarding my assertion that Palestinian public opinion opposes a compromise peace, read the following:

      https://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2017/04/do-palestinians-want-a-two-state-solution/

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        Polls show that 90% of Israeli government officials do not want a Palestinian state, ever, under any circumstances.

        “The purpose of the occupation isn’t security; it’s conquest. If Israel had only been interested in the West Bank and Gaza for security reasons, it wouldn’t have built civilian settlements – colonies – for 600,000 people and counting…and you don’t build colonies for 600,000 of your citizens as a ‘bargaining chip’ to trade for peace. You build them because you mean to keep them.” – p.259, “No Country For Jewish Liberals” by Larry Derfner.

        Reply to Comment
        • JeffB

          @Bruce

          Polls show that 90% of Israeli government officials do not want a Palestinian state, ever, under any circumstances.

          Unless you (or the poll) are defining government officials in a weird way I seriously doubt that. If there was that much of a consensus de jure annexations would have happened and a more permanent apparatus put in place. There wouldn’t be nearly this much ambiguity.

          “The purpose of the occupation isn’t security; it’s conquest. If Israel had only been interested in the West Bank and Gaza for security reasons, it wouldn’t have built civilian settlements – colonies – for 600,000 people and counting…and you don’t build colonies for 600,000 of your citizens as a ‘bargaining chip’ to trade for peace. You build them because you mean to keep them.” – p.259, “No Country For Jewish Liberals” by Larry Derfner.

          I think he’s oversimplifying. Israel built settlements in both the Sinai and Gaza and then withdrew. Having gotten to 600k though clearly Israel is keeping at least some of the West Bank, everyone agrees there are going to be border adjustments. 50 years is a long time. The Jordan Valley is mostly security. Ma’ale Adumim is mostly conquest. Jerusalem is openly conquest, its been annexed.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Derfner is not the one oversimplifying here.

            There is simply no contradiction between
            90% of Israeli government officials not wanting a Palestinian state, ever, under any circumstances, and the fact that the same officials have not annexed. They simply know they can’t yet get away with that blunt an organized crime maneuver. This is obvious. It is false to imply that what keeps these officials from staging a formal annexation is some putative openness they have to a Palestinian state.

            Settlements in Sinai and Gaza were never about security and they were certainly about staying and keeping. They were, as are the West Bank settlements, a massive security drain not a security plus.
            Israel withdrew from Sinai and Gaza for security not contra security, and for Sharon’s strategic calculation that the Gaza withdrawal would allow him to keep the West Bank, and because he was a realist who understood Israel cannot continue to rule over another people. The Jordan valley is only the latest fake security issue. It’s a ruse. There are many many ways Israel could ensure its security from that direction without settlers and farms there and without Israeli troops on the ground there.

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Ben

            There is nothing “organized crime” about it. New governments inherit from previous governments the territory of those previous governments. Israel, the Yishuv government, replaced Great Britain as the governing authority in what had been Mandatory Palestine. It owns all of it, except those parts like Gaza it has renounced claim to.

            Reply to Comment