re: Need Real Partners for Peace (Sept. 17), Josh Basson writes Israel should cancel peace talks, as in the aftermath of another terror attack Palestinians aren’t “partners for peace.”
The term “partners for peace” is ludicrous and as used by Israel and Diaspora supporters is a code word for maintaining the status quo in Gaza and the West Bank.
Sadly, there are many Jews in Israel who will resist, forcibly and bloodily, any realization of a viable, economically successful extant Palestinian state side by side with Israel.
Since Hamas, however disliked or loathed, is not a talks participant, the peace talks function without representation from one-and-a-half million Gazan Palestinians; thus the talks are dysfunctional and a fraud.
Warring parties don’t have “partners for peace.” When the last apartheid government in South Africa sat down with the African National Congress, the leading anti-Apartheid organization in the late 1980s, it was no picnic. Both sides had been at war, and the South African government called the ANC terrorists.
In more recent years when representatives of both sides of the Catholic and Protestant war in Northern Ireland sat down (with the British) to seek a peaceful settlement, there were no “peace partners”: They hated each other, passionately, analogously to many in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In discussing the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a Jewish Israeli professor this past April during my last Israel teaching trip, the professor stated, regarding the displacement of the Palestinians in 1948 and their decades-long incarceration in refugee (concentration) camps and the Palestinian Diaspora since, “A grave injustice was done.”
This injustice has yet to be addressed. But don’t expect to see the conflict negotiated by peace partners. If the western powers, the Palestinian Authority and Israel agree to let all sides be represented at peace talks, that itself will be a huge step forward toward peace. As I heard Amos Oz and Sari Nusseibeh say at a Jerusalem YMCA talk in 2007, “We [all sides to the conflict] don’t have to learn to love each other, but we do have to learn how to be neighbors, since we’re all living here already.”