Posted by jonathanhuberman on September 27, 2011 @ 11:17 am
This piece was featured in the Columbia Spectator on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. It was written by Jonathan Huberman, LionPAC Director of Public Relations.
Despite the seeming intransigence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, two ingredients, compassion and cooperation, have the potential to bring peace. At the United Nations this past week though, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas showed little interest in compassion or cooperation. In the Middle East and here at Columbia, these two values have been greatly lacking.
Peace requires compassion for your counterpart and a willingness to cooperate. In this regard, Palestinians and Israelis need to recognize the legitimacy of each other’s national narratives. After accepting that each group deserves its own country, Palestinians and Israelis need to work together to create a framework for the two societies to live together side by side.
Abbas’s gambit at the U.N. has delayed the prospects of peace by sidestepping this necessary cooperation, adding an unsurprising yet disappointing chapter to his history of circumventing negotiations. In 2010, Israel halted all construction in the West Bank for 10 months, yet still Abbas refused to come to the table. Since 2000, two Israeli prime ministers have offered to relinquish over 90 percent of the West Bank in exchange for peace. These actions show Israel’s enthusiasm for coexistence, and it is time for Palestinian leaders to show a similar eagerness. Instead of making excuses and demanding preconditions for negotiations, Abbas should show the perseverance and persistence that are necessary for talks to succeed.