UMD's Israel Studies Director,Yoram Peri, weighs-in on what he thinks should be the next step for Israel.
Interviews by Niv Elis, Moment
In recent months, the Middle East has been set aflame by democratic uprisings, popular protests, brutal crackdowns, political upheaval and international military intervention, shattering conventional wisdom about the region. Israel—surrounded by a newly unstable Arab world and confronting a Palestinian march toward statehood—faces uncertainty on every front. Moment speaks with an array of leading Middle East experts and thinkers to examine how Israel should weather the storms unleashed by the “Arab Spring.”
The most important thing is to prevent the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from becoming the common issue for all the countries in the region. To a large degree, that will depend on Israel’s pro-active strategy. It should do two things: One, take a bold, brave step and renew a diplomatic initiative. Call President Abbas and tell him, “Let’s meet, both of us, without declarations, without journalists and cameras, and discuss how we pursue negotiations.” If there is a willingness to cooperate, take the next steps with other participants from there. A peace plan five years from now will never be as good as one today.
The second strategy is to give an answer that has not been given yet to the Arab League Initiative, though it will be harder because of the upheavals. Take some steps to talk to the Arab people—now we have to talk to the people because the Arab street is a player—and show them we want to resolve the conflict.