Oppenheimer: 'Unity gov't with Hamas in Israel's interests'

Peace Now's director general speaks to 20 Questions about the future of the peace process, the recent attacks in Jerusalem and the South, and the chances of a Palestinian revolt.

March 24, 2011 19:49
2 minute read.
20 questions

20 questions 58. (photo credit: courtsey)


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Do you think the Zionist dream is still viable? In your eyes, is a two-state solution the only one? In light of the incitement and hate-filled indoctrination fed to Palestinian youth, how do you see peace ever becoming a reality? Will Peace Now ever run for elections?

This week, 20 Questions hosts Yariv Oppenheimer, director general of Peace Now, an NGO aimed at promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Hamas split over Abbas offer to visit Gaza for unity talks

When asked how Peace Now responds to its critics who claim that the NGO operates under the false pretense that unilateral concessions on Israel's part will provide peace, Oppenheimer asserted that since the source of the hate is the occupation, we will never have peace until that is solved. He believes that the current generation of Palestinians will give up hating once Israel decides to either give them citizenship will full rights to vote, or give them their own state.

Oppenheimer strongly disagreed with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's views that peace will only be possible once a hate-free generation of Arabs has gone by. He claims that as long as Jewish settlers with all their rights are living in such close proximity to Palestinians under occupation, the hatred will continue for the next few generations. Oppenheimer further posits that the peace must come from an agreement and not the other way around.

Oppenheimer's own analysis is that in the near future there will be a Palestinian uprising similar to those in other parts of the region, and when that happens, the concessions that Israel is not making now will be imposed anyway.

Oppenheimer disagrees with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that a unity government is not possible, claiming that a coalition between Fatah and Hamas is in Israel's interests since Israel would then have a viable Palestinian address for negotiations. However, this should be on the condition that no one other than the governments themselves have weapons. He added that from Israel's perspective it should be acceptable that parts of the proposed coalition don't recognize Israel's right to exist, just as in factions of the Israeli government don't recognize the Palestinians' right to their own state.

The full interview can be accessed by subscribing to The Jerusalem Post's Premium Zone.

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