Monday, October 4, 2010

An Israeli Platform for Peace: A Foundation for Unity

Shalom Hartman Institute - Jewish Scholarship, Education, Leadership for Israel, Diaspora
My teacher, Rabbi Donniel Hartman offers here a platform for peace.  He argues that Israelis are so divided that they need to agree on basic principles, rather than trivial policies.  He writes:
Independent of what the Palestinians want or will accept we cannot afford to perpetuate the current void of conversation with regards to the key elements which must serve as the foundation of Israel's peace platform. Such a platform will never be the subject of a total consensus. It can, however, unite the vast majority of Israelis and create both the political backing for serious peace negotiations, as well as foundations for unity in the midst of vociferous political debate.
He suggests a number of principles that would form the basis of a peace platform.  Among his ten principles are the following:
2. The Jewishness of the State of Israel will be determined by the identity of the majority of its population, the quality of its policies, and the nature of its public culture, and not by the quantity of land that it holds.
5. Occupation of another nation is an evil which must be brought to an end in accordance with our legitimate security needs and concerns. Until this occurs, avoiding any non-security-motivated actions which perpetuate the occupation and fulfilling the highest standards of moral sensitivity and commitment to basic human rights must be our goal.
6. The State of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, and all final status arrangements must bring to an end Palestinians' aspirations to express their national identity within the borders of the State of Israel.
9. Israel is a democracy and must live up to its highest standards. No Arab citizen of Israel can be stripped of his Israeli identity unilaterally, and every effort must be made to minimize the hardship and maximize the support for any Jewish citizen negatively affected by the outcome of territorial compromise.
The articles and debates about for example the settlement freeze are not the core issues.  They obscure the pressing issues and the more difficult discussions that are required.  

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