Status Quo, Viable?


While the politicians pingpong about the peace process, analysts are looking at what might be the results of failed negotiations.

“A true lover of Israel cannot afford to sit back and watch how the Israeli right and their supporters in the Diaspora are undermining the hope for peace. Israel is strong enough to take the risks for peace. It is not strong enough to take the risk of losing it and living forever on the sword,” said Akiva Eldar, an Israeli columnist for who recently spoke in Baltimore for J Street.

And while analysts debate Israel’s role versus that of the Palestinians, many agree that the time is now to move this process forward.

Yale Professor Bruce Wexler said he worries that if the current peace talks fail, “extremists on both sides will be emboldened, and the moderates on both sides will be disempowered.”

He said that if moderates lose control of the public idea space, they lose control of the discussion, and the challenge of reclaiming it might be insurmountable.

Palestine-Israel Journal’s Hillel Schenker said a failed process will result in much greater criticism and isolation of Israel through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, as well as massive civil resistance by the Palestinians, “which could mean a break out in violence, which will be tragic for both [sides].”

Israel’s fear of BDS is reflected in the massive amount of money and resources Israel is spending to stop it; at the urging of the Israeli government, JFNA and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs have spent $6 million to combat the BDS movement since 2010. In official statements, the Israeli government labeled the BDS movement as “the second most dangerous threat to Israel after Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

“The status quo is not viable,” said Schenker. “Anyone who thinks so is deluding himself. It won’t work, nothing is going to stand still — not the international community, not Israel, not the Palestinians.”

“We are coming in a few years to an irreversible situation,” said Palestinian Mazin Qumsiyeh. “The choice is either democracy, justice and human rights or ‘might makes right.’”

He said he believes the Israelis miscalculate if they think that “might makes right” inevitably will lead to a “their-win-and-our-loss scenario. The win-win scenario of justice and human rights is a road that [has not been] tried yet but increasingly looks essential. It is, in fact, the only durable way forward to peace.”

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