Israel, Politics

Israel is good at using sticks, but its carrot approach needs work

Below is an editorial from last week’s Ha’aretz – sorry that it lost the shuffle due to the inauguration. I think it’s a succinct way of looking at the whole situation, and certainly the most hopeful thing I’ve read all week.
Editor’s note: Alex Sinclair is a lecturer in Jewish Education at the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York. p.s. and also shamir is one of his biggest fans.

Killing lots of Palestinians is not going to magically turn them into Zionists. When the war is over, they will still be there. Our neighbors. We will still need to live next door to them. We will still need to come to a modus vivendi.

Here are some carrots that Israel needs to offer the Palestinians, even as we continue to deal with Gaza via the stick.
1. Israel needs to start work on the safe passage between Gaza and the West Bank.

2. Israel needs to come to an agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on borders. We can do this tomorrow as well.

3. Israel needs to make a gesture on the fate of Jerusalem. Yes, we all know deep down that in the end, whether we like it or not, we are going to have to share Jerusalem. East Jerusalem is a different country, and most Israelis never go there. It’s not ours. It’s not us. And that’s okay.

We can do these three things without harming Israeli security one iota, and we can do these three things while we are justifiably seeking to destroy Hamas.

4 thoughts on “Israel is good at using sticks, but its carrot approach needs work

  1. I have such mixed feelings about this editorial. I guess it is “hopeful” in the sense that this is a guy who thinks we can bomb Hamas into nonexistence instead of talking to them (bullshit, even if it is the majority view in Israel), who feels like this war was totally justified even with all the civilian casualties, dead children, white phosphorus, etc… and yet even this jackass is able to see that this approach will not succeed on its own.
    And his concrete suggestions are excellent. The fact that he alludes to everyone in Israel being aware of the compromises that are to come (whether or not they’re happy about them) also makes me hopeful.
    I do think there’s an issue of how these things are going to be implemented. As various Jewschool commentators have been pointing out lately, doing things unilaterally seems to backfire in the end. On the other hand, there’s a lot of Palestinians who think negotiating is a sellout.

  2. jordan-
    I feel like they may think negotiating is a sellout because Israel tends to make unilateral moves anyways, so what’s the point? Whether it is true or not, it seems to be their perception.

  3. good editorial.
    I think though one question needs to be asked regarding negotiations for a “shelf agreement” as it seems to be called.
    There is a school of thought that concrete actions taken before the time for a final status agreement create more trust and lower levels of anger on both sides. However, there is also a school of thought that negotiating final status issues before the appropritate time for peace (i.e., as some would say while Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip), creates a dangerous false hope that if not realized, creates even higher levels of anger than before.
    For example, some say the 2nd intifadah broke out in part because of the high level of hope in the 90s that peace was finnally just around the corner.
    I personally don’t fully agree with that line of thought – but it should be considered when calling for Israel to make public certain concrete steps or even negotiating positions BEFORE all sides are ready to impliment a final status agreement.
    Separately though, I will say one thing about one of the concrete steps suggested:
    “Israel needs to come to an agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on borders”
    It’s a wonder to me that Israel has never formally come out and make a statement over what it’s position is on desired final borders. I think the Palestinians have a clear negotiating advantage and more international understanding of their position because they have been very public in their demand (or at least the PA’s demand): a complete return to the June 1967 border.
    Israel seems to be against that in most public statement, and the closest to a policy position has been various ambiguous statements by previous prime ministers and foreign ministers this decade – that (I’m paraphrasing) “Israel supports a 2-state solution with Israel keeping control of the major settlement blocs”.
    That’s not good enough. I wish Israel would give a map of what it what sees as “the future” after the creation of a Palestinian state.

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