Thursday, November 02, 2006
Do You Know What The Israeli And Palestinian Peoples Actually Want?
But back to the question asked by the flyer. How exactly do you know what a nation's people want?
One of the most reliable ways to look at how a nation votes.
In the last Israeli elections the party that got the most votes was committed to withdrawing from the vast majority of the West Bank.
In the last Palestinian elections, the party that got the most votes was committed to the destruction of Israel.
For Israelis and Jews around the world the accession of Hamas is both petrifying and offensive. It has caused many to lose hope in the idea of having a 'partner for peace'. But according to OneVoice polls and those taken by pretty much anyone else in the Region, between 70% and 85% of Palestinians want to compromise toward a Two-State solution.
And so we're left with a seeming contradiction - they vote 'war' but want 'peace'. However they didn't vote for war. A return to the violence of 2001 and 2002 is the last thing that Palestinians want, a return to the wars in which they suffered defeats in the decades before that is the last thing Palestinians want.
Palestinians voted for Hamas - according to polls in Haaretz and other independent or ISraeli sources - overwhelming primarliy due to their social, educational and welfare policies as well as anti-corruption.
Around 45% of the population voted Hamas, less than 10% of them did so for their military policy toward Israel.
Its hard to stomach but its true. Now we have to wait and see whether the civil society groups and the Palestinian population as a whole are able to demand adn deliver a change in the part of their government's policy with which they do not agree: whether they are able, for the first and hopefully last time in this conflict, to have the Region's governments supported and strengthened by moderate majorities into a process of meaningful negotiation and ultimate resolution.
Otherwise what do you do? Build the walls higher? Have Israeli kids serve for longer in the IDF? Given the advance of military technology and increasing involvement of outside powers Israel will never be safe while this conflict remains ongoing. We have to work to find another way out and finding a permanent way out really is 'What the Israeli and Palestinian people really want'.
And poll after poll show widespread support for suicide bombings. Explain that please.
There are many challenges we face, but we have to look for answers as well as looking at problems. I have no intention of standing up for any support for any act of terror - I do not, and would not.
But the most viable way to prevent further deaths on each side is to deliver a permanent resolution to this conflict that satisfies the majorities on each side and gives them the strength and rationale to stand against extremism as something that harms their cause rather than helps it.