Photo: AFP
'Not a single peace agreement has been achieved without a compromise'
Photo: AFP

'Concession document' is a beacon in the dark

Op-ed: If this were a sane, less violent election campaign, Netanyahu's secret peace offer could have actually been seen as a sign that not all hope is lost.

If the current election campaign didn’t look the way it does, and if we hadn't all been helplessly swept into a swamp where one can no longer identify who is who and who is in favor of what, the "concessions document" revealed by Yedioth Ahronoth over the weekend could have actually been one of the more encouraging revelations in this election campaign.



Because of its mere existence, because of its details, and mostly because of the fact that even Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister on behalf of the Likud, who for the past six years has managed to dissolve any process which could have led to an agreement – as small and limited as it may be – with the very active help of Mahmoud Abbas on the other side, who also holds a serial record in missed opportunities, realizes that we can't go on like this. That time, bla bla bla, isn't on our side, and that things you see from here, bla bla bla, you don’t see from there.


In a sane election campaign, a less fiery one, less violent, less hostile and filled with hate, at least some of us could have celebrated, hoping that not all hope is lost.


The document presented by Nahum Barnea is a paper which can be accepted by more than half of the Israeli people, based on surveys conducted here in the past few years which looked into the public's views on a future agreement with the Palestinians. Yes, even in regards to the price Israel would have to pay for it.


More than half of the respondents agreed to a withdrawal to the 1967 borders, including land swaps. This consent is not groundless in light of the fact that the West Bank is anyway dotted with Jewish communities which are a huge burden on the defense establishment, on the Israeli economy, and which create more damage than profit, if there is any, and that a demographically-based land swap is not only a realistic solution, it's also a fair solution. And Jerusalem, oh boy, Jerusalem which we praise day and night, has anyway been divided for years.


Women should make peace one of their top priorities (Photo: AFP)
Women should make peace one of their top priorities (Photo: AFP)


So why shouldn’t the members of Meretz start dancing in light of these revelations? And why shouldn’t Tzipi Livni (where was she, by the way, the minister in charge of the negotiations, when all this took place? Was she out of the picture again?) be the first to congratulate the prime minister? And why shouldn't the other women of peace, like the members of Women Wage Peace, join the choir? After all, that's exactly what they spoke about in the alternative speech they gave on the day Netanyahu addressed the US Congress.


In a practical, relevant election campaign, which is connected to reality and deals with the really important issues, the prime minister could have maybe – not certainly, but maybe – outdone himself too. He could have clarified, like his predecessors Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon, that there is nothing like the phrase "things you see from here you don’t see from there" – as worn out as it may be and as much as a cliché as it may be – in order to describe the reality of our lives. He could have overcome the difficulties, given up on the denials and bravely confirmed the accuracy of the report.


Remember the Bar-Ilan speech? Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is the meaning and this is the interpretation. Two states for two people. It's called a compromise, and not a single peace agreement in the world has been achieved in a different manner, not even after a decades-long war. Moreover, wherever there was no compromise, one of two things happened: A continuation of the battles or a bad withdrawal.


So there you have it. This document, which is still a draft, which may not mature into the actual thing tomorrow or even the day after tomorrow, this document is the beacon.


And it is the beacon, from the right and from the left, with certain amendments, with Isaac Herzog in charge or with the others, because the options are limited. Very limited.


This issue is the issue which women, on International Women's Day, should make one of their top priorities alongside other battles – the cost of living and housing crisis, the exclusion of women and sexual harassment, freedom of occupation and free will – and give it a good place at the top, a very high place at the top.


פרסום ראשון: 03.09.15, 00:00
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