The good is when the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships share common interests to put an end to violence and conflict. It is when they seriously seek a fair and just peace aiming to put an end to violence and suffering. It is when they seek to reach a better life for their people. It will happen when they successfully reach a two-state solution, living side-by-side in peace.
The good is also when they reach a solution for the complicated issues concerning the refugees, final borders, and Jerusalem. The good is reached when each of the two sides treats the other side as an equal partner with respect for their mutual benefit.
The bad is what we are facing today – an impasse. The bad is when the relations between the two leaderships detriorate day-by-day. It is when we hear accusations between senior officials on both sides everyday, and when the international community stands on the sidelines watching as the frustrations build up and the hopes for peace dissipate. The bad is when we believe that the current frozen political process will last for ever, while the extremists are gaining more support on both sides. The bad is when the Road Map is not being implemented and the international community represented by the Quartet is not fulfilling its role in observing, monitoring, and guiding its implementation. The Road Map might not be the perfect tool, but it is the only available one.
The Bad is when the Road Map is modified unilaterally by the parties. It is when Israel demands the confiscation of illegal weapons as a condition for any negotiations and when the US President accepts the Israeli interpretation of the Road Map. It is when the President of the United States gives Israel the right to expand and build settlements and agrees to allow Israel to take Palestinian land because of “facts on the ground.”
The ugly is when the US President fails to lead a peace process and fails to put pressure on Israel to live up to its commitments in the Road Map. The ugly is the realization that we are heading towards another round of unnecessary and futile violence because people are frustrated by the lack of political achievements. It is ugly when people lose their belief that peace is even a possibility for which they can hope. The ugly is when the real, recent achievements of the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas are not met with equivalent steps by Israel. It is ugly when we begin to understand that the disengagement plan designed by the Israeli PM is part of the implementation of his vision of Gaza first and Gaza last. It is ugly when Israel fails to recognize that there is a partner and continues to refuse to negotiate, favoring unilateralism over negotiations.
The disengagement won’t achieve peace neither will it advance the relations between the Palestinians and Israel. In fact it won’t bring any changes that will solve the conflict; the disengagement is only a redeployment of forces and settlements. It is a tactical move only that will not end the occupation. The disengagement will not change the status of the evacuated land; it will still be occupied and controlled by Israel. Israel will continue to erect the so-called “security fence” and will continue to create new facts on the ground by annexing the settlement blocs and accelerating the expansion of these blocs.
The ugly is when the silent majority remains silent, not raising its voice. The ugly is when the extremists gain more and more public sympathy yet they offer even less hope of peace and calm.
It is bad and ugly when we fail to learn the lessons of the past. The last failure led to the outbreak of the second intifada and it will be even uglier if a current failure will cause the eruption of the third intifada.
It would be good if the peace camps on both sides would move and take actions. They are the only forces that can make their leaderships change policies. The Palestinians are heading into parliamentary elections, a change of the balance of forces might occur. The silent majority shouldn’t stay silent, they should speak loudly. The Palestinian voters should impose a peace agenda on the candidates; it should include a plan for solutions to end the conflict.
We have seen too much of the bad and the ugly; it is time for some of the good to come our way.
* Khaled Duzdar is the Palestinian Co-Director of the Strategic affairs Unit at Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI). This article is part of a series of views on “Enlarging the window of opportunity”, published in partnership with the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).