One of the flaws in the current reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that there is no serious conversation amongst Israelis as to what our stands and aspirations are. The trauma of the intifada coupled with the response to our withdrawal from Gaza has left many Israelis despairing about the possibility of peace. Whereas we laud the idea of peace, and theoretically support negotiations, territorial compromise, and a two-state solution; we have not made strides to develop a policy for attaining peace because we do not truly believe that it is attainable.
Despite the existence of a broad Israeli consensus and the declared policies of most of our major political parties
, the absence of a conversation on our aspirations inhibits us in taking a substantive, creative stand. In order to reach a moral and ideological consensus that will serve as a platform for peace, we must begin an internal Israeli dialogue today. Such a platform will never be the subject of a total consensus. It can, however, unite the vast majority of Israelis and create both the political backing for serious peace negotiations, as well as a foundation for unity in the midst of vociferous political debate.
What might serve as the foundations of Israel’s peace platform? Here are some suggestions:
Adopting the principles of a platform for peace will not bring to an end the profound political debate within Israeli society nor will it affect the Palestinian people. The Palestinians need to formulate and commit to living by a parallel platform of their own. Dialogue between two platforms is fundamental to peace negotiations.
Our lack of a shared Israeli narrative is detrimental to our national unity. It would be a tragedy of immeasurable proportion if a process of reconciliation with the Palestinian people would lead to disunity. We can disagree about policy but not about our basic principles and values. We must come together around our national aspirations even though we may disagree as to how best to achieve them. It is important that no side lay exclusive claim to commitment to peace, love of Israel, love of the land, concern for security, and commitment to morality. As Jews, they must be the shared inheritance of us all and create the foundation for the future of our national homeland.