When Left and Right Are Right
David Kimche *
Jerusalem - We are all, Left and Right, entrenched in
our views, convinced we know best what is good for Israel. But what if
diehard right-wingers and diehard leftists started listening to each other's
arguments? What if sane rightists - not the messianics - and sane leftists -
not the Israel-bashers - opened themselves up to the other point of view?
We'd all become a little less intransigent.
One of the most cogent arguments of the Right is that the Palestinians must
dismantle the terror infrastructure before the road map can be implemented
and before any political negotiations can take place. Surely this is
logical, for how can one negotiate peace when a private terrorist army
exists whose primary purpose is to derail any chance of peace?
Our government, backed by the Right, claims that Mahmoud Abbas is not doing
enough to curb terror, that he is weak and therefore Israel must move into
political negotiations with the utmost caution.
One of the Left's most forceful arguments is that Israel should agree to
Palestinian demands to begin end-of-conflict talks without pre-conditions.
The Palestinians are ready, and peace is obviously our primary
foreign-policy goal. It would positively transform our country in every
So why wait? We could negotiate without easing our pressure on the
Palestinians to dismantle the terror infrastructure, and we would continue
to pursue the terrorists as if there were no negotiations.
BOTH ARGUMENTS need to be examined in more depth. The Right claims,
justifiably, that Hamas is gaining in strength and has not toned down its
rhetoric against the very existence of Israel. A post-disengagement
"Hamastan" in Gaza is a dire possibility. So is a renewed outbreak of
One of the principal ways of pressuring Abu Mazen to take action against the
armed groups, including Hamas, is to put off the road map and negotiations
until he does so. Using that approach between 1996 and 1999, then-prime
minister Binyamin Netanyahu was able to get Arafat to act against Hamas.
Moreover, Abbas is not doing enough to curtail terror. The tahdiah, or
period of calm we're enjoying, is allowing Hamas to strengthen its armed
capability without hindrance from either Israel or the PA, and its
incorporation into the political arena is counterproductive as long as it is
allowed to keep its weapons.
The Left, on the other hand, claims that opening negotiations with the PA
could pull the carpet out from under Hamas. Talks could strengthen Abu Mazen
to such an extent that he would be able to tackle the problem of weapons in
unauthorized hands in a much more effective manner.
He knows that disarming private militias is a supreme Palestinian interest;
that he will never be able to rule over a truly democratic polity as long as
they exist. As long as Israel delays road map negotiations, Palestinian
extremists can claim that it has no desire to reach a peaceful solution, and
that they have every right to maintain their potential for "armed struggle."
Hamas has popular backing for this position, and Abu Mazen may have
difficulty going against it. Meanwhile, Israel is not allowing newly
recruited police to have the weapons they need, thus making it all the more
difficult for them to curb the terrorists. Further, the Left claims, our
government is deliberately putting off the road map and negotiations because
it does not want to make the concessions needed for a peace that will
finally end the conflict.
Both sides make logical arguments, both make sense.
As I see it, the Palestinians will have to collect unauthorized weapons,
principally for their own good; but also to gain the confidence of Israel
and the international community. The longer they delay doing so, the
stronger Hamas will become and the more justified Israel's reluctance to
begin negotiations will be.
Israel, on the other hand, cannot delay the road map and negotiations
indefinitely. That would create a public backlash - a recent poll showed
most Israelis want to see final-status negotiations after disengagement.
And, sooner or later, we will have to make further concessions in return for
peace. The Israeli public, the US and the international community will see
The sooner both Israelis and Palestinians act, the better. The Palestinians
should rein in terror and Israel should begin final-status negotiations
directly after disengagement.
And as for our Right and Left, both should listen more to what the other has
to say. We should dialogue more. It would do us all a world of good.
* David Kimche is a former Israeli Foreign Ministry
Source: The Jerusalem Post, June 2, 2005.
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Eine häufig gestellte Frage, beantwortet von Ariel
haGalil - haGalil?
Der Galil, also Galiläa, ist der nördlichste Teil des Landes
Israel und somit der Europa am nächsten liegende...
by George S. Hishmeh
Washington-based columnist George Hishmeh comments
on President Abbas’ successful trip to Washington, during which President
Bush, somewhat surprisingly, met many Palestinians’ high expectations.
However, Hishmeh warns that “the key point that has yet to be spelled out by
the administration is setting a timetable for all these expectations.”
(Source: AMIN.org, June 2, 2005)
Advertising for a Lasting Peace
by Maurice Levy
Maurice Levy, of the advertising and communications company, Publicis
Groupe, reveals how months of secret sessions has lead to a joint Israeli
and Palestinian advertising campaign promoting peace. “We aren't deluding
ourselves. Advertising will never be a substitute for the hard work needed
to craft a peace agreement. That has to do with fundamental issues like
land, justice, liberty and security. Yet we must remember that without an
underlying popular will and desire to move forward, any Israeli-Palestinian
agreement will be much more difficult to reach - and will be much less
solid.” (Source: International Herald Tribune, June 9, 2005)
Jerusalem: The Candle of Humanity
by Rami Assali
Rami Assali describes a walk through the Old City of Jerusalem. “What
makes a garden beautiful is the arrangement of various kinds of flowers in a
way that harmonizes the colours combined together. What’s a garden with only
roses, or daisies, or lilies, or trees? It’s a garden with no harmony, no
life, no spirit. Even if the roses are very beautiful, they won’t make a
beautiful garden. What makes my Jerusalem unique and special is its
diversity, not its holiness. Why did God make Jerusalem holy for all
religions in the first place? Because it is a message that Jerusalem is
nobody’s and everybody’s city.” (Source: CGNews, June 10, 2005)
Shooting for Equality – On the Soccer Field and Off
by Daniel Ben-Tal
Writer Daniel Ben-Tal chronicles the rising success of soccer team Ichud Abu
Ghosh-Mevasseret. Although Arab players on Israeli teams is nothing new,
“Ichud (United) Abu Ghosh-Mevasseret has taken coexistence one step further
by forming Israel's first combined Jewish-Arab club that is explicitly more
than just about soccer.” (Source: This is an abbreviated version of an
article that appeared in ISRAEL21c, May 15, 2005)