Gershon Baskin details his immediate responses to Trump-Netanyahu meeting
1. There is no regional peace without an independent Palestine next to Israel.
2. Five minutes after the Trump Administration speaks to Arab states about regional peace they will understand that it is not possible without ending Israeli occupation over Palestine.
3. Kerry begged the Saudis to give some normalization to Israel before Palestine is established, such as Israeli flights to India flying over the Kingdom. The Saudis said first the flights should fly over Palestine. The idea of regional peace is not new – it is in the Arab Peace Initiative – first two states then regional peace.
4. Israel’s close relations with the Arab states amount to close relations with intelligence and military and not with the people of the region – not even with those states Israel has peace with. That will not change as long as the Palestinian people are occupied by Israel.
5. Trump’s position on recognizing Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people is the same as Obama’s – this is not new. Would be nice, but not a prerequisite for arriving at a peace agreement.
6. The Palestinians do need to educate their people for peace and for recognizing Israel. I also have a problem with the street in front of the Palestinian Prime Minister’s office called Yahya Ayyash street. Israel also needs to educate its people about the right of the Palestinian people for freedom and independence.
7. If Israel has total control over the security of all of the land between the river and the sea, we are creating sovereign cages and Palestine remains occupation. In the two states solution that Bibi talks about, one of them is occupied.
8. Settlements will continue to be an issue of contention – but handled diplomatically between the two sides and Bibi will have an excuse to push Bennett down.
9. The US has not moved its Embassy to Jerusalem because US intel has told Presidents over the past 20 years that doing so will endanger American lives – diplomats, military personnel, and Americans all over – including inside the US.
10. Good luck to Jared Kushner.
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.
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