Grassroots social movements are the way forwardby Alan Johnson / July 12, 2017 / Leave a comment
The old paradigm of peacemaking between Israelis and Palestinians is exhausted and a new one is needed. “Old peace” meant set-piece, time-limited, bilateral negotiations, mediated by the United States with the goal of reaching a permanent agreement based on separation between Israel and the Palestinians. Three efforts have ended in failure: Camp David-Taba in 2000-1, Annapolis in 2007 and the Kerry Talks of 2014. “One more heave” is unlikely to work.
“New peace” also means direct negotiations and a final status agreement, of course. But there is an emerging consensus about two things. First, that future success will depend on creating something that has been lacking so far: a supportive environment in which bilateral negotiations move from a framework agreement through incremental implementation to successful final status talks. Second, this means new approaches and securing the participation of new actors: a regional framework that draws in the Arab states, and grassroots social movements that animate both peoples.
Last year, I helped organise a series of unofficial discussions between Israelis and Palestinians and heard the same message from both grizzled negotiators and younger activists: civil society has a key role to play and it has been neglected, patronised, and even demonised. Today, it is too often the spoilers rather than the peacemakers that receive the élan, the budgets and the backing of global civil society. Yet social movements promoting mutual recognition, compromise and a political solution may now be essential for leaders to be able to articulat…