A POST-WAR DIPLOMATIC AGENDA FOR ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE
View a PDF copy of our new pamphlet: Postwar Diplomatic Agenda
Labour Friends of Israel is today publishing its latest policy paper: A Post-war Diplomatic Agenda for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, by LFI director Michael Rubin.
In these darkest of days, it is hard to imagine that any good can come from the death, misery and destruction. Yet this war – awful as it is – will bring dramatic political changes and can create in its aftermath new possibilities. The shock and tragedy of the 1973 Yom Kippur war led ultimately to a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt that has endured for more than 40 years.
The two-state solution enjoys regional and international support and should remain the ultimate objective. The political ramification of this war could include seismic changes in both Palestinian and Israeli politics that make that objective more attainable in the long run.
For three decades, Hamas’ violent opposition has undermined diplomatic processes between Israelis and Palestinians. Its murderous suicide bombings in the 1990s and 2000s helped undermine the Oslo process. Its use of the Gaza Strip as a terror base after Israel’s 2005 withdrawal undermined the case for territorial concessions inside Israel. A decisive defeat for Hamas would therefore remove an obstacle to peace.
This war is also set to bring about a political transformation in Israel. Polling shows that support for Netanyahu and his far-right coalition members, already waning due to the divisive judicial overhaul, has plunged further since the outbreak of the war.
This publication argues that international diplomacy should be focussed around four goals, which if pursued in parallel can be the basis for a shared agenda for Israel, moderate Palestinians, western allies, and like-minded Arab states.
Among the key points made in the document are calls to:
Marginalise the enemies of peace by empowering those committed to the vision of a two-state solution.
Re-empower the Palestinian Authority in ways that do not compromise Israeli security. This would include new investment and aid packages; a gradual expansion of PA territory in the West Bank; freezing settlement construction in isolated settlements; and upgrading international recognition of Palestinian sovereignty in coordination with Israel.
Strengthen PA leadership, supported by the international community, with reform, reduced corruption, and restored faith for Palestinians in a political process.
Secure a normalisation deal with Saudi Arabia, which would enable future Israeli governments to reduce domestic scepticism about concessions to the Palestinians. A future Israeli government will have to curb the political settler movement and confront with determination the violence of extremist settlers and others intending to threaten Palestinians, incite tensions in the West Bank and undermine diplomatic progress.
Ensure Arab-Israeli normalisation has clear benefits for the Palestinians, so that Palestinian leaders, and the Palestinian public, have greater reason to see them as an opportunity and not a threat.
Prioritise rehabilitation for Gazans, not just from the present terrible war, but also from decades of conflict, tight controls on imports, and – most damagingly – Hamas rule.
Encourage and pursue massive investment in promoting a culture of peace. Incitement against Israelis by the PA must be addressed, while Israeli extremists must be marginalised. This effort must be bottom up, as well as top down. In place of the promotion of a culture of hate, it is time to finally invest in an International Fund for Israeli-Palestinian Peace.
Read the full paper here: Postwar Diplomatic Agenda