By Ted Belman
MK Shaul Mofaz of Kadima spoke first. He said it was urgent that Israel make a deal soon but didn’t see a complete deal any time soon. So he promoted his provisional state idea.
The Hon Robert Wexler, Pres, H Daniel Abraham Center for ME Peace supported the Arab Peace Initiative and said the gaps are narrow and we should be able to close them. He essentially supported the Clinton Parameters. Wexler stressed that strategic cooperation between the US and Israel has never been better.
Prof Shlomo Avineri of the Hebrew University showed himself to be very intelligent and wise. Before dealing with this topic, he said no democracy is in sight in Egypt. As for the peace process he said there is little chance of the process restarting let alone concluding. Both peoples are just not ready for the necessary compromises, he said. He preferred to work on conflict management but said the PA won’t sign an interim agreement.
He favoured lifting the blockade on Gaza from everything excepts weapons. The blockade has become a liability for israel. He wants to help Palestinians develope institutions.. He said he was not worried about a unilateral declaration of statehood and subsequent recognition. He praised the arab Initiative but not as a dictat. Israel should say it a great idea, lets negotiate. He said Olmert wasn’t near an agreement and that he wasn’t serious. He offered things on Jerusalem that he knew he couldn’t get support for. He said Oslo failed and that we must switch to another modality.
Israel Harel said that we should focus on national goals rather than the peace process.Instead we should just appoint a committee to work on the peace process. He had no suggestions.
Brig Gen Mike Herzog didn’t believe in conflict management nor did he believe progress could be made in the peace process. The gaps are enormous, he said. That’s why there is no deal.
The Moderator, Raviv Druker, was as far left as you could go. He asked why are we insisting on recognition as a Jewish State. Harel answered him saying that it was necessary for peace to be sustainable that the arabs make idealogical concessions. Right on. Then he asked why the US couldn’t impose a peace. Wexler said there must be negotiations.
The intended Arab panelist, Yasser Abed Rabbo was a no show.