Dear Prime Minister (elect),
There is so much work to do immediately to repair the damage done during the period of the Netanyahu government. It is hard to decide where to begin. I think that the first phone call you should make should be to President Abbas. He should be the first one to hear from you. You should propose to him to meet immediately to begin to talk about reversing the suicidal course that both sides have ventured into during the end of the Netanyahu government. The first order of business of your new government will be to return to genuine negotiations with real terms of reference to end the occupation and to make peace on the basis of two states for two peoples, end of conflict and end of all claims.
Your second and third phone calls should be to King Abdallah of Jordan and to President Sisi of Egypt. You should propose to them that immediately after your meeting with President Abbas you propose to convene a summit of the regional quartet of Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan to discuss a regional formula for stability and security. The issue of Gaza in particular will be placed on the agenda of the regional quartet and regional cooperation is your proposal for ending the blockade on Gaza linked to its demilitarization and stabilization in concert with intensive direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on ending the occupation and creating the Palestinian state which will live side-by-side next to Israel in peace.
You should inform the regional quartet at this meeting that the new government of Israel accepts the Arab peace Initiative as the basis for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and request that the three Arab neighbors propose to convene a meeting of the Arab League that you would like to address directly with the message of peace and cooperation. That meeting will most likely not take place immediately, but they would be likely to agree to have a statement from you delivered to the summit.
After speaking with the leaders of Israel’s neighbors you should call the other world leaders – Obama and other allies in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa. Your message to the world should be that the new government of Israel is taking the initiative to make regional peace a reality. The government of Israel expects the United States and Europe and other allies to fully support Israel’s efforts and to assist in providing financial and material support to the peace process and to the Palestinian state. Israel is interested in advancing the Palestinian economy as quickly as possible and will immediately remove obstacles in the way of Palestinian economic growth.
By implementing these recommendations, you will turn Israel around 180 degrees and the tidal wave of anti-Israel sentiments and actions around the world will come to an immediate end. Hope will be revived inside of Israel and amongst the Palestinians. In one day’s work you will rapidly change Israel’s position in the world and in the region.
The first day’s work is the easy part though. The more difficult part will come after when you will have to make good on your intentions and proposals. The most important thing to remember always is that Israel needs a world class statesman, not another small “p” politician. We have had enough of that over the past years. Now it is your turn to save Israel.
Gershon Baskin, citizen of Israel
Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.