Gershon Basking has been at “negotiations” for a very long time. Read this. IT IS EXCELLENT ADVICE. MAY THE NEGOTIATORS READ IT TOO. Lilly
Encountering Peace: The indefatigable peacemaker’s advice
By GERSHON BASKIN
…. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolvable. There are solutions to all problems. In addition to the multiple rounds of Track I negotiations that have taken place since Madrid in 1991, there have also been thousands of hours of informal Track II negotiations in which a couple of hundred Israeli and Palestinian experts have participated and have reached understandings and “shelf agreements.”
Many of the experts have been at this a lot longer than the official negotiators. We have had the opportunity to take a step back and analyze the failed peace process and come away with many lessons learned that are important to share so that chances of success are increased. Everyone is skeptical about this. The negotiators themselves do not have great confidence that an agreement is possible. They must lay down their pessimism, skepticism and negative attitudes. They must face the task of reaching an agreement, looking beyond the momentary snapshot of domestic political realities.
This may be the last chance to reach an agreement… Failure to reach an agreement would be a crime against both peoples.
Everything is on the table – borders, security, Jerusalem, refugees, mutual recognition, water, economy and any other issue that either side wishes to raise.
The agreement will be a package deal in which there are trade-offs and that is why they cannot be negotiated separately. Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, assisted by George Mitchell, will have to produce a declaration of principles that will determine the general framework. Details can be dealt with in committees of experts, but the main issues need to be decided by the leaders.
NETANYAHU HAS already verbalized the main concerns for Israel – Palestinian militarization, control of external borders, airspace, electromagnetic spectrum and real recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Palestinians too have raised their main concerns – borders, settlements, real sovereignty and freedom from Israeli control. Jerusalem is a concern for both sides, but the issue on which there is the most extreme contention is refugees.
All these issues are interconnected. Borders cannot be determined without detailing security arrangements.
Borders and security arrangements lead directly to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the core identity issue, which leads directly to mutual recognition. Water and economics are both related to borders, control over land and planning, border arrangements and security. All these issues are connected to a timetable both for negotiations and for implementation.
Read Gershon Baskin’s entire column at the Jerusalem Post.