(This article was written in collaboration with Aziz Abu Sarah, Co-Executive Director of The Center for World Religions Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution.)
Ever since the disastrous split in Palestinian leadership of several years ago into Fatah and Hamas it has become clear that disunity has been a critical factor standing in the way of Palestinian statehood. Many reconciliation efforts, with several third parties, were attempted and aborted. This time it seems that things are different, despite the enormous ideological divisions and outstanding grievances between Fatah and Hamas.
Why is this happening now? Clearly, the historic impact of the “Arab Spring” on Egypt and Syria, and across the region, is an enormous game changer. The increasing instability of Syria suggests that there is a strong possibility that A) Hamas may no longer have a stable home in Syria, but, on the other hand, Palestinians now have a much more sympathetic …
this article points out a systemic-perspective suggesting the "proximity talks" as a tactical move through which Israeli, Palestinian and American leadership can work within one strategy to reduce the power of the radical elements in their society. While many question the content-value of the "Proximity talks," many neglect the power structure it creates as an opportunity to put pressure on the radical elements within these societies and open the gate to agreement between Israel and Palestine.
The concern should be the drift of the moderate elements in these societies toward radical reaction that will block opportunity for change. The inner conflicts within Israel and Palestine are blocking the progress and need to be contained for the establishment of a Palestinian state in near future.
President Obama and Senator Mitchell
I was concerned by a recent description in the New York Times of the inner workings of Fatah, and the questions facing the United States and Israel. The author writes as if he accepts everything that Israeli leaders tell him at face value. Speaking about the question of a Fatah meeting in order to reform the movement and thus present a better challenge to Hamas at the polls, he writes:
For Israel and the United States, the problem is equally vexing. They have an interest in helping the nationalists to reform and hold their congress. But they also have to decide how much to help the new leaders, some of whom may end up becoming opponents if the peace negotiating process fails.
Oh really? Endless interviews with Fatah activists over the years come back to one theme: the leadership of Israel, in order to hold …
Please take a second and vote:
Martin Luther King on the march, accompanied by white religious representatives, including Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Alabama, 1965
I just published this essay in the Common Ground News Service:
Non-cooperation can bring a revolution to the Holy Land
by Marc Gopin
26 March 2009
WASHINGTON, DC – It is time for a mass movement of nonviolent non-cooperation and resistance amongst Palestinians-because everything else has failed. I have hopes that the Obama Administration will be the best yet in moving the parties toward resolution, but in my heart I have always felt that there is one path to peace that has never been adopted, and that is the path of nonviolent non-cooperation – but with love – the way of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
This is something that a number of Palestinians within Israel and Palestine have tried through nonviolent marches, protests, and food boycotts, but it has never …
We held a good discussion, heavily attended, at the Wilson Center, together with Dr. Robert Pastor and Mr. Leo Kramer on Gaza and Hamas. Here is the video of the event. All of us were in agreement about the need for serious engagement with whoever is in charge of Gaza. This was decidedly different than other opinions also expressed at the Wilson Center by Robert Satloff and Ephraim Inbar.
It is hard to know what is really going on right now behind the scenes in relations between the United States, Israel, the PA/Fatah and Hamas. Whatever can lead to breakthroughs in my mind is the path forward. Whether it be on prisoner exchange, release of Barghouti who by all statistics could become a unifying leader of Palestine, or a way to break the inhumane blockade. I remain dubious about forcing Hamas to concede to conditions in advance rather …
Attack in Jerusalem
Al Jazeera English interviewed me the other day on American intervention so far in Gaza. Here is the story:
The United States is set to pledge $900m for the Palestinians at a donors’ conference in Egypt, but only a third of that will go towards reconstruction in the Gaza Strip and none of the money will go to Hamas, who rule the territory.
Robert Wood, a spokesman for the US state department, said the US would pledge $300m at Monday’s conference on reconstructing Gaza, to meet “urgent” humanitarian needs in the territory after Israel’s military onslaught in December.
Wood said the $300m would be funnelled through the UN and other organisations.
“Hamas is not getting any of this money,” Wood told reporters in the Egyptian coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheik, where Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, arrived on Sunday on the first leg of a
Gershon Baskin’s provocative title is absolutely right, it does not appear to matter anymore which coalition will rule Israel next. The fact is that Olmert had a bigger mandate than Livni or Netanyahu to pursue the peace process, freeze the settlements, and uphold all the commitments Israel made in Annapolis. And he failed at all of them, and instead unleashed a horrifying set of wars in Lebanon and Gaza that have left Palestinians utterly shell shocked. So why not add fuel to the fire with a Lieberman-inclusive government that traumatizes the rest of the Palestinian people who have resided in Israel since 1948, who never left the land, and who have been isolated by everyone ever since, despite their absolutely peaceful resistance to injustice? Despite the fact that by a vast majority of 75% the Arabs of Israel would support a democratic constitution for Israel that also kept it a …
Sometimes in the construction of a better world, it is necessary to go into the heart of darkness, to quote Conrad. Sometimes it is only in exploring our heart of darkness that we can figure out where we are, so that we know how to get beyond our current fallen state. I am drunk with blood these days, thoughts of blood, fear of blood, the rage of boiling blood, and so is anyone for whom Palestine and Israel are a fixation.
This report of carnage in a Gaza hospital in all its horrifying details is typical of the innocents who are being cut to pieces. What stands out is the report of the impatient, smiling Islamic Jihad fighter who is just thrilled with the blood of his own people. New recruits to his cause. He sees around him a man with his
Aaron Miller writes an extremely pessimistic piece of advice for President elect Obama on the impossibility of Israeli/Palestinian peace right now. I think that it is a very well written piece, and that anything Aaron writes should be studied carefully. But there are two responses that should soften his pessimism.
There is a myth out there driven by the Clinton parameters of December 2000, the Taba talks in 2001, the Geneva accord a year later, and the hundreds of hours of post Annapolis talks between Israelis and Palestinians that the two sides are “this close” (thumb and index finger a sixteenth of an inch apart) to an agreement. The gaps have now narrowed, perhaps impressively, but closing them, particularly on the identity issues such as Jerusalem and refugees, is still beyond the reach of negotiators and leaders.
The dysfunction and confusion in Palestine make a conflict-ending agreement almost impossible. The