Anonymous question
December 2016.

What is holding back the restarting of a peace process between Israel and Palestine?

1 answer

As long as peace is not a top priority for everyone, both sides will continue the same routine. And that damages the chances of peace. 

On the one side, there is Palestinian violence but there is also the issue of Jewish settlements; because by its very nature, occupation is violent. But I think if you want to go beyond the tangible, the biggest problem is the inability of both sides to build trust. Only when you trust that the other side wants what you want, and has a vested interest in what you want, then you can take the risks for peace. 

The majority on both sides in the Middle East peace process say they want peace but they don’t trust the other side and they’re not ready to make concessions. And without the psychological element of trust, I don’t think we can move anywhere. So, when you have such entrenched positions for generations, the only way to beat this is with education, education, education. 

"Both sides need to remember that they’re responsible for normal people who want to go about their daily life."

You need to work with young people who are capable of accepting that people and situations can change – of accepting that both sides’ fears should be valued and then working on this together. Also, people need to remember that no compromise is perfect. Most people start off with the demand: "you must give me everything that I want". But this is not a basis for negotiation. 

Both sides need to remember that they’re responsible for normal people who want to go about their daily life. But regarding international involvement, there is a stalemate right now. At the twilight of the Obama administration very little is taking place. The French initiative or even Putin's attempts for a summit between Abbas and Netanyahu are two examples of possible moves.

Above all, it needs something which both sides don’t have enough of at all: leadership. 

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