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.

20 questions 58 (photo credit: courtsey)
20 questions 58
(photo credit: courtsey)
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.
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When asked how Peace Nowresponds to its critics who claim that the NGO operates under the falsepretense that unilateral concessions on Israel's part will providepeace, Oppenheimer asserted that since the source of the hate is theoccupation, we will never have peace until that is solved. He believesthat the current generation of Palestinians will give up hating onceIsrael decides to either give them citizenship will full rights tovote, or give them their own state.
Oppenheimer strongly disagreed with Foreign MinisterAvigdorLieberman's views that peace will only be possible once a hate-freegeneration of Arabs has gone by. He claims that as long as Jewishsettlers with all their rights are living in such close proximity toPalestinians under occupation, the hatred will continue for the nextfew generations. Oppenheimer further posits that the peace must comefrom an agreement and not the other way around.
Oppenheimer's own analysis is that in the near future there willbe a Palestinian uprising similar to those in other parts of theregion, and when that happens, the concessions that Israel is notmaking now will be imposed anyway.
Oppenheimerdisagrees with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that a unitygovernment is not possible, claiming that a coalition between Fatah andHamas is in Israel's interests since Israel would then have a viablePalestinian address for negotiations. However, this should be on thecondition that no one other than the governments themselves haveweapons. He added that from Israel's perspective it should beacceptable that parts of the proposed coalition don't recognizeIsrael's right to exist, just as in factions of the Israeli governmentdon't recognize the Palestinians' right to their own state.
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