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Between 2004 and 2010, Just Vision interviewed more than 80 Palestinian and Israeli grassroots leaders. The interviews in this archive represent a fraction of the civic leaders working in the field at a particular moment in time, and aim to provide audiences access to a range of perspectives and approaches.

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David Lisbona

David Lisbona is one of the founders of Middleway and of Gisha. Middleway promotes nonviolence and dialogue, provides humanitarian and developmental support to villages and educational institutions in the northern West Bank and participates in community work in Palestinian villages in Israel. Gisha advocates freedom of movement for Palestinians. David is also involved with the European Institute for Global Peace and their Palestinian counterparts, the Holy Land Trust, as well as in the People's Voice initiative.

  • Please tell me about your background and how you first got involved in this work.

    I was born in England to a very Zionist family. My parents were both born in Germany. They managed to get out of Germany before the Holocaust. Our house was a very Zionist household and I decided to immigrate to Israel when I was twenty-four. I was in the Israeli army for five years. For thirty years I was pretty much in a classic, Israeli, middle-class, bourgeois role. I definitely immigrated to Israel as a Zionist, with Zionist motivation, and had no reason even to consider that there might be another narrative. I think in terms of my consciousness things started to change with the start of the current intifada and the October 2000 riots here in Israel. And then September 11th in the States, 2001, which I also interpreted very much as a cry of help in a way, or a cry for attention from the Muslim world. Then almost by chance, I participated in a seminar on conflict resolution run by some people from the world of process-oriented psychology.1 This was in England, about three years ago. I always considered myself to be a fairly liberal sort of person, and I was suddenly attacked, or cast in the role of being the ugly Israeli. That was a very difficult experience I went through which caused me to ask lots of questions. That was the main trigger. One thing led to another. I participated in another workshop here in Israel a few months afterwards, which was really the first time I met and had serious conversations with Israeli Arabs. Through a friend, I got to know the founder of Middleway, which is an Israeli NGO that organizes Jewish-Arab peace walks. I had spent a few months getting acquainted with what I would call the classic, radical Israeli left, participating in demonstrations. But I didn't like the very angry, almost spiteful tone of the demonstrations. I really didn't think they fulfilled any constructive purpose except for letting off some steam. This founder of Middleway suggested that I be one of the founding team and so I joined that group and then started participating in the walks, organizing the walks, and getting more involved with the local Arab population here in Israel.

    • 1Process-oriented psychology, or "process work", is a practice of psychology and mediation involving understanding of two types of experiences or "processes": primary experience (that which is familiar to the individual) and secondary experience (that which is alien or unknown to the individual). Process oriented psychology can be applied to group sessions in order to mediate conflicts. Mindell, A. Sitting in the Fire: Large Group Transformation using Conflict and Diversity. Portland: Lao Tse Press, 1995. For more information see http://www.processwork.org/

  • What is the purpose of the walks, and what do they involve?

    What we call a peace walk is actually a combination of a group of Arabs and Jews walking together, usually between Arab and Jewish suburbs of the same town or between separate Arab and Jewish communities. The original founders of Middleway, except for me, came from the area of applied Buddhism, and for them, the walking is actually an ancient Eastern tradition of peacemaking and is related to the concept of walking meditation, and of course of inner peace. We walk in silence and single-file, and it's a very unique experience. Most people sort of go through life rushing from place to place while talking to people. Very few people take the time to be silent and really absorb the environment around them. We are a mixed Jewish-Arab group, and we walk either in the home territory of one group or in the home territory of the other group, and we are seen by people in the surroundings. It's quite an unusual spectacle to see a group of people just wearing white sashes walking in silence...almost nothing in Israel ever happens in silence. And so people want to know what this is, we have flyers that we hand out which explain the idea of the walk and the idea we are promoting of nonviolence and compassion and dialogue. And that's basically the idea of the walk. We always have a few hours of walking and an hour or two of sharing circles in which the group splits up into smaller groups of eight to ten people to share their experiences, their feelings, whatever comes up. We have trained moderators for those sharing circles.

  • How does the meditative concept of not talking lead closer to making peace between people?

    Well, I would say it has two sides to it. I think one is from the point of view of the individual, it's a calming experience. We believe that there is a relationship between inner peace and outer peace. People who are not at some level of inner peace will not reach an outer peace. Also, walking in silence and not carrying any placards or slogans is the ultimate non-provocative deed, if you like. You can't argue with people who are silent. Occasionally we have come across people who are angry to see a group of peace activists walking in a mixed group, and we have had insults hurled at us. But if we are prepared not to shout back at them, throw rocks at them, then it dies out. We've seen several times that people notice that it dies down. People notice that if they shout or they insult us and we don't react aggressively, which is the way most people do, then their aggression doesn't work. So maybe it continues for another cycle or half-cycle. Then it dies out. We have seen the reaction among people we have come across in the walks. It has some power in a very highly verbal, noisy, talkative society. Silence actually has power.

  • How many people will be with you on a walk?

    Well, it depends. I would say anywhere from fifty to a hundred to two-hundred to three-hundred typically.

  • You said silence has power in a talkative society. What do you think are the limitations? What can it do and what can't it do?

    The limitations of it are definitely that in one sense, it is symbolic. We have understood this, even though some of us I think have had fantasies that we could get a really large number of people to join. It is so strange in a way, so unusual as a form of expression, that although I think when we walk in places we get respect from the people that we touch, it's not the kind of thing that most people could imagine themselves joining. So I think the primary limitation is that these walks are destined to remain a very minority activity. The limitation of course is that it's a drop in the ocean. One never knows how people are touched. It's a process. I remember on one walk in Tel Aviv, I heard two shopkeepers talking amongst themselves, and I overheard one guy say, "You know there were Arabs in this group." And the other said, "You know, I actually talked to one of them and he was quite nice." The other said, "Oh yes really?" They got a little conversation going. It's a little something...one hopes that it moves a little something. I would say the huge obstacle that the various peace movements in Israel have is the apathy of the vast majority of the Jewish population. The vast majority of the Jewish population can live with the situation as it is. And people go about their normal lives and pursue their careers and look after their families and don't feel any need to look at things in a different way. The mass media tend, as they do in most countries, to reflect the prevailing consensus of the majority people rather than to provoke new ways of looking at things. So it's kind of stuck in a status quo. I think if you look at all the various peace groups and peace initiatives over the last few years...I suspect the vast majority of them would say the biggest hurdle is apathy of the general public. We are doing something that is quite visible in a way. It's sufficiently different and non-provocative not to get us instantly categorized. If you are mainstream Israeli and you see a group of demonstrators and they're carrying slogans which say ‘Sharon is a fascist pig' and ‘Down with the Occupation' or whatever, OK, the instant reaction is "I know who they are, I know how those people think." And then they stop thinking about them. We have managed to be impenetrable, inscrutable. People have to make a little bit more effort to figure us out. They can't immediately put us into a box. We are trying to do other things as well. It's not only the walks. In the last year, we've also got involved in the Territories in the West Bank. That's very different.

  • You mentioned the one example of the shopkeeper in Tel Aviv saying that he found out an Arab marcher was really nice because he talked to him. So it was the talking that led him to realize this. I'm still wondering about the choice to be quiet.

    Remember we are only silent during the walking bit. The sharing circles are no less significant a part of the whole thing. Many, many people who have participated - Jews - have said that during the walks and the sharing circles was the first time they have ever really talked to an Arab.

  • What happens in the sharing circles?

    The moderator usually starts by asking everybody in a circle to share how they felt about the walk... that's the joint experience. People are asked why they came and it's an opportunity for people to express their feeling, their confusions, their dilemmas about the situation in a very personal way. It's not a political discussion at all. Everybody is encouraged to use the "I" word, not "you" or "them."

  • Why is that important?

    It's important because it's a way of connecting really to the way people feel and not to what they think, the opinions they've cooked in their heads or the opinions they've been brought up with. It's much more difficult to get into a conflict with someone who is using the "I" word. "I feel, I hope," rather than "you did this, you"...or "they."

  • What's the goal of these discussions?

    I think the goal is to create some contact... first of all, between the Jews and Arabs, who, for the most part, do not really have any real social, meaningful contact with one another. And the other goal is to give people hope. People really want to see a change but feel powerless to do anything.

  • What other groups are you involved with?

    I've been involved with The People's Voice, which is the initiative of Ami Ayalon and Sari Nusseibeh. I basically give talks about the draft agreement or the principle agreement that Nusseibeh and Ayalon signed, while getting people to sign on to that, and provoking a discussion with them. Apart from the declared aim of getting as many signatures as possible, there is the underlying aim of getting the public to feel involved and empowered in some way. It is a huge problem that the vast majority of the public feels powerless... there's nothing we can do. Politicians will do whatever they do. We cannot do anything. I think this is precisely the point of a grassroots organization. We are very disappointed with the politicians and the establishment and the media and we are trying to do something.

  • How are you accomplishing that with the People's Voice Initiative?

    It has definitely raised people's consciousness in my opinion. In a similar way the Geneva Initiative has, in terms of putting on the table the fact that the basic lines of agreement can be reached between parties on both sides. The big issue is trust. In the normal situation of two peoples or two countries at war where there's no personal contact with people on the other side, you don't know how they really feel. You have the narrative you grew up with, the narrative that was fed to you in school and fed to you in the army and fed to you by your parents, the media by and large reflect prevailing public opinion. You have nothing to challenge that and each side gets locked into its own way of looking at things. The dominant aspect is accusing the other side. In my experience, once you start talking to people, as it were, on the "other side," you suddenly discover a different reality, you discover real people that have the same emotions we have. When I hear that an Arab is afraid, let's say of walking in Tel Aviv, I say to myself, wow, I never imagined the Arabs were afraid of us. We're used to being afraid of them. And that hopefully can have some result.

  • What made you want to get involved?

    I think what made me get involved was an increasing feeling that there's something wrong here, that I'd been deluded in a way. It's like there was this very clear picture I lived with, and suddenly cracks starting appearing in this picture and they were things that didn't fit. If the Israeli army is really the most humane army in the world, then how come such and such happened? What made the Israeli-Arabs riot in October 2000? I think I was looking for answers to try and understand. I think ultimately there is also a personal kind of relationship to the situation; I'm getting more and more concerned about what is happening in Israel on all kinds of levels. Fortunately I've secured a situation where I am economically stable, and where I think of the future of my children. Probably the most important thing I can do in my life is to make Israel a better place for them to live and to bring their children up in.

  • When did Middleway decide to start doing activities in the West Bank and why?

    It was pretty much in the middle of last year [2003]. And it actually started quite by chance in a way. On one of our walks in an area called Wadi Ara, we walked through a large Arab town named Um el-Fahem, which has a very bad reputation in Jewish eyes, as being the most fundamental, Islamic town in Israel. We happened to meet a local resident there whose house we walked by. He asked, "What is this group?" and we told him. He liked the idea of what we are trying to do. He's originally from Jenin. He grew up in the Jenin refugee camp and married an Arab-Israeli woman and then moved... So then he got his papers and could live in Israel. And after he got to know us and urged us to spend more time in the area in Um al-Fahm, he said, "My dream is to do a peace walk in the Jenin refugee camp." After what happened in the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002, when the Israeli Army moved in, there was a terrible battle between the local guerilla fighters and the Israeli Army. There were 23 Israeli soldiers killed and I think 50 or 60 Palestinians killed. That operation left a very bitter scar in the memories of people on both sides. And we really liked this idea, this dream of doing a peace walk in the Jenin camp, with such difficult and bitter memories for people on both sides. This guy from Um el-Fahem has family and friends in the West Bank and the villages around Jenin. He started taking a small group of us to visit his family and friends. At that time it was relatively easy for Israelis to go in and visit the area of Jenin. We started developing relationships with these people and even did a few peace walks with Palestinians. The situation is very difficult... it's very different to what it is in Israel. The gap is so much wider. For an ordinary Jewish Israeli who has no contact with any Arabs it's quite an experience to have some kind of real contact with Israeli Arabs. But if you go one step further and start meeting Palestinians from the West Bank you see they are in a different position altogether. It's much more difficult to build up trust and confidence. That's basically how our activities with them started.

  • You mentioned to me that doing the peace walks wasn't exactly the right thing to do in the West Bank. Can you tell me more about that?

    It's been very difficult trying to convince the Palestinians that the style we have of doing these silent peace walks is appropriate. I would say the culture... the idea of walking in silence, without flags and without placards, is very alien to the Palestinians. They even consider it demeaning, in a way. We had lots of arguments, for instance, about flags. We said that we don't want to walk with flags because they are somewhat provocative. There are Israelis who don't want to participate in a procession or in a walk with Palestinian flags. The Palestinian flag has, in Israeli consciousness, come to symbolize something that even many liberal Israelis find difficult to accept. We're far more interested in dialogue with them and far less into the walks. We had some incidents, for example, where we did a walk in a village near the fence, near the security barrier. We got permission from the Israeli army to go in and to do this peace walk, but on condition that the whole group would not go near the fence. But the Palestinians did go near the fence, because they wanted to protest. We managed to navigate our way through that. But it's complicated and part of the complication is very much related to the essence of the conflict. Working these things out is part of dealing with the conflict.

  • How did you work that one out?

    We told them that we had made an agreement and weren't prepared to get into a situation that might result in a violent confrontation with the army. In the end, they accepted that. But there's always a lot of discussion around that. They accepted it but they weren't happy with it. There was a lot of discussion around that, and that discussion is precisely part of processing the conflict.

  • The idea of marching with the flags - how do you think the Palestinians would have felt walking with the Israeli flag?

    It was unthinkable as far as they are concerned. Their sense of powerlessness and oppression and victim-hood is so strong that they find it very difficult to accept a situation where we want to say that there should be some sort of balanced expression between the two sides. This is one of the central problems in the conflict. Each side is so immersed in its own victim-hood that it is totally unable to connect to the feelings of the people on the other side. And then sometimes you have to make an effort and say, "We're here too, we have our needs, we have our feelings too."

  • Do you think there is balance to the situation?

    Of course there isn't, in the sense that Israel as a country is very rich, and the Israeli army is hugely powerful. The Palestinians are poor and disenfranchised and humiliated. But we think things are only going to change when people on both sides really get a feeling of how the people feel on the other side. Often in discussion with Palestinians, I have made the point of how the Israelis are afraid and how the soldiers are afraid. They say, "What, really, the soldiers are afraid?" I say, "Oh yes, you have no idea how a soldier with a flak-jacket and a weapon is afraid of a ten year old kid who may have an explosive belt on him." It is as important for Palestinians to recognize this as it is important for Israelis to understand and be sensitive to the endless humiliation that the Palestinians suffer every day.

  • How are you able to go to the West Bank as an Israeli?

    We've mostly worked in the northern part of the West Bank where the security barrier and the wall have been for over a year. So passage to the West Bank has to come by getting permission from the Israeli army, which also has become an interesting part of the process. It has gotten us involved into some kind of dialogue with the Israeli army, which I now see as no less a valuable part of what we're trying to do as the dialogue with the Palestinians.

  • How do you see dialogue with the army as valuable?

    Armies use force, it's the instrument they have at their disposal. It is the one instrument that is therefore naturally used to achieve any results. I think only in the current situation the army, or parts of the army, has realized that this is not a war that can be won by conventional means, by any force of weapons. So the army is beginning to be prepared to listen and observe - with some puzzlement I would say - when groups of civilians want to go in and try and achieve some results which the army, with all its resources and power cannot achieve. It's a strange relationship we have with the army. If I was in their position, I don't think I would waste my time with the nuisance civilian groups are when they want to go in there [Palestinian areas]. It's only because some of them realize the limitations of what they can do that they are prepared to let this go. There are always very interesting reactions whenever we go through a checkpoint and the soldiers say, "You're crazy, you're going to get killed if you go in there" And we say, "No, we're not." And they say, "You aren't going to have an army jeep there to protect you?" And we say, "No, we actually feel safer without the army jeep. The fact that we're not wearing uniforms and that we don't have rifles actually makes us more secure than you soldiers are when you go into the West Bank." That's always a very interesting dialogue. It's challenging an accepted concept. This is what I think it's all about - changing perceptions: getting people to realize maybe things aren't exactly the way we've always been told, the way the interested powers on one side or another try to sell it.

  • Have you had trouble getting permits to go in?

    Oh, sometimes we do. Sometimes the army wants to do some kind of operation and they feel themselves obliged for our physical safety even though we say we don't need it. And sometimes they cancel, and sometimes we agree not to go into certain areas. It's a relationship with ups and downs, but it's a relationship of some kind.

  • Would you say the army supports what you are doing?

    I would say "tolerates," which is probably the best one could hope for now. It's very difficult to change this perception that finally, only by the strength of our will and by the force of our arms can we survive, given history, the Israeli ethos after the Holocaust, and the idea of two thousand years of precarious Jewish existence in the Diaspora . That's a very difficult concept to challenge and to break. There are cracks which have been appearing in that for the last twenty to thirty years, but it is an ethos that is so huge and so powerful and with such enormous psychological force.

  • How do you relate to that ethos, to that history?

    I'm at a different point. I can understand it but I think we are doomed if we continue that way... doomed to eternal conflict. We have to break out of it. It's not an easy process. In many ways if you look at what's happened over the last twenty years, you can say in fact there has been remarkable progress. Before Sadat's visit to Israel in 1977, most Jewish Israelis thought there would never be peace with any Arab state. We've made two peace agreements with Arab countries...1 the vast majority of the Jewish population accepts not only that there will be a Palestinian state, but that that it is probably the only right and appropriate solution. But there is still a lot of fear. It's a slow, gradual process.

    • 1Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt on March 26, 1979 in Washington, DC. As part of the agreement, Israel gave the Sinai back to Egypt. Israel signed a peace treaty with Jordan on October 26, 1994 at the Wadi Araba border crossing in the Arava Valley between the two nations. For a text of the treaties, see http://www.mfa.gov.eg/MFA_Portal/en-GB/Foreign_Policy/Treaties/Treaty+of... and http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/peacetreaty.html0

  • What do you gain from doing this kind of work?

    First, I would say I've gained an enlightenment in the sense that I think I have a more balanced and a truer view of the situation, while previously living with a very one-sided view of the situation. And secondly, that I've done at least a little something to try and change it... to try and end this terrible situation which is two-thousand years of victim-hood and fear for the Jews and five hundred years of defeats and disappointments and humiliations for the Arab world.

  • What have been the difficulties of doing the work in the West Bank?

    One of the difficulties is that it's a very delicate issue for the Palestinians to be "making nice" with Israelis. And so we get the feeling that our Palestinian colleagues are watching their backs all the time. They are very cautious and very often we are in the situation of making one step forward and two steps back. Also, there's definitely a cultural issue. We are as a group, on the Israeli side, a flat organization, not hierarchic. I don't think we ascribe any importance to rank within the organization whereas my perception is that in Palestinian society rank and hierarchy are extremely important. And there's a huge amount of internal rivalry, and because there isn't any real power structure there are several power structures. And so one gets caught in this competition and rivalry between people, people get offended: "You went to visit him and you didn't go to visit him" and so these are all issues that we have to deal with. And probably the biggest issue is that we can't operate freely in the West Bank either because we are talking about places where the army won't let us in, or places where our Palestinians colleagues don't feel that it's safe. We've mostly been in villages rather than the big towns because there are more violent, disruptive elements, more extreme elements in the towns.

  • Do you have any fears yourself about going?

    Not really. We are always accompanied by local colleagues and we pretty much trust their street sense about what goes and what doesn't go. It's clear that there's no guarantee anywhere. There are still twice as many people killed on the roads in an average year than there are people killed in terrorist attacks in Israel.1 And I spend a lot of time on the road so I should be more worried about that I guess. I'm doing it for a reason, so as far as I'm concerned the end justifies the means.

    • 1For a graph comparing deaths in Israel due to auto accidents, see: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/traffic.html

  • How do people in your family think about what you are doing?

    Well...that divides in several ways. I have two daughters from my first marriage who are very supportive of what I do, but they wouldn't get involved themselves. This is very typical of a certain Israeli attitude. "Good you're doing it but I'd never get involved myself." That's called an egotistical point of view in many ways. My partner is ambivalent in two ways, which again is quite representative of a certain type of view in Israeli society. She says, "I'm all in favor of doing whatever it is to improve relations between Jews and Arabs within Israel, but the Palestinians over there, on the other side, that's not our responsibility." There's an Israeli saying that "they're there and we're here." I don't agree with that because I think it is our responsibility both historically and practically. So she doesn't share that point of view. And she's also more worried for my personal safety than I am. And then for instance there is the third view from her children, who grew up in a more mainstream center political environment. They don't feel comfortable about my "consorting" with Arabs. It's the kind of view that we are at war with the Palestinians, how can you be talking to them? One of her sons saw a photograph of me meeting Arafat and he was shocked. He said, "I never thought I would ever be in the same house as someone who met Arafat." But I deal with that.

  • How far would you take that? How important is it to you?

    I feel that I live on a very delicate edge between my activity, which is considered very unusual, sort of borderline in terms of mainstream Israeli society, but still in terms of my socio-economic group, I am part of mainstream Israeli society. I'm not prepared to burn my bridges from my home community. Besides which, the way I guess I rationalize that is by saying that I think the whole point is to try and get the mainstream of Israeli society involved. I feel as if I'm one of the few links between those two worlds. Being on both sides or feeling both sides is a much more complicated situation than being more comfortable in a black and white world. It's a state of mind.

  • How do you do it? Do you have a response to your partner's son as to why you met with Arafat?

    Yes, it's not always very successful in terms of a dialogue because I feel that he doesn't really want to get into a dialogue with me. Maybe because he doesn't want to hear stuff that would be tough for him to deal with. He's gone off now for a month's reserve service in the area around Jerusalem. Being on both sides or feeling both sides is a much more complicated situation than being more comfortable in a black and white world. Bush supporters probably sleep better at night than Kerry supporters.1 It's a state of mind.

    • 1Refers to the United States' 2004 presidential election between George W. Bush and John Kerry.

  • What are some of the things you have given up to do this work?

    Well, I've given up quite some income. I don't have the job that I had, but that now is not so important to me. I've found myself in sometimes uncomfortable social situations. But again, that is a price that I am prepared to pay. I'm doing something that has meaning and purpose as far as I'm concerned. For me it's also part of a transition to an environment where one is thinking more about society and meaningfulness and less about the meaningless consumerism of the everyday Western world.

  • What would be your vision for the future?

    My dream is for there to be a revolution in people's consciousness, in terms of what is going on and what it is doing to Israeli society. I am sad that probably the only way that could happen is if things get worse in one way or another. That could be... which isn't the prospect right now... but that could be by there being far more terrorist attacks or by a great alienation of Israel by the outside world. I could see all kinds of possible scenarios, or a very painful process, which may happen around the disengagement. On a personal level, I'm sorry or I'm not happy that in some way people will have to suffer for things to change, but that's probably the only way. As long as it's at a sort of pinprick level, which is the level it is at the moment in terms of Israeli consciousness, people can deal with it and move on and not face the deeper issues and go on like that forever.

  • What are you calling a "pinprick"?

    Well, a suicide bomb every two or three months is a pinprick. That's a level we have learned to live with. People adapt their lives, parents don't want kids to take busses so much and they're nervous when they see people that look like Arabs in public places. But those are things you can live with, in a way. It's difficult to make major changes in the way one looks at the world and in the same way it's difficult for an individual it's equally difficult for a society. Is there anything you'd like to add? I'm now also involved in another group called Israel 2020 which is an NGO that has been formed in the last year which is trying to build a new vision... a vision of a new Israel in the year 2020. It's sad that because of the concept of being in constant survival mode, Israel does little in the way of long-term planning. It's clear that the vision of the Zionist founders of the State of sixty to seventy years ago is no longer relevant. So there has to be something that replaces it. And there are many different ethnic groups... there are a lot of problems. Thirty years ago Israel was a highly egalitarian society. Economically it's now a terribly polarized society with many hugely rich and many very poor people.1 I'm glad to say there are people who are concerned about this and what to change that.

    • 1See, Cohen, Yinon. Gender, Ethnic, and National Earning Gaps in Israel: The Role of Rising Inequality. Tel Aviv: University of Tel Aviv Press, 2003.

  • Let's talk about previous peace processes. Where did they succeed and fall short?

    One was the process with Egypt at the end of the 1970's. Up to that point, Israel was not officially recognized by any Arab country. For Israel, that was such a relief, to get the acceptance, the acknowledgement from an Arab country, to be prepared to pay the price that it had to pay. I think there was also something balanced, in a way. Israelis won a resounding victory over the cocksure and foolish Arab leadership in 1967. Egypt and Syria succeeded in mounting a surprise attack on Israel in 1973 so it was like, "we are even," in a way. So as much as the Arabs were humiliated by their defeat in 1967, the Israelis were embarrassed and anguished by the surprise attack. That's some background in a way, there was some balance so now we could settle some scores. I think the Oslo Peace Process succeeded in that it did create the foundation for a future Palestinian state, of a relationship between Israel and a future Palestinian state. In one sense, that is a huge achievement because again, it was unthinkable before. It failed because both sides afterwards basically didn't trust the other and both sides thought they could screw the other. And the thing fell into terrible disrepute. It created unrealistic hopes for what it was which then gave way to deep disappointment and distrust which takes more time to resolve.

  • What has to be done differently next time around?

    I think there has to be far, far more humility on the Israeli side. I'm not quite sure how that can be achieved except at a very painful cost if the Palestinians would succeed in inflicting considerable pain on the Israelis. One respects strength... strength and achievement. The Israelis gained a great deal of respect for the Hezbollah guerillas in southern Lebanon. They were very effective. They made life hell for the Israeli troops in southern Lebanon, as a result of which Israeli troops had to withdraw. I would love to see an environment wherein Israelis who were involved in negotiations with Palestinians could really try and learn and understand and respect the Palestinians... because there is such arrogance from the Israelis towards the Palestinians and the Palestinians are super-sensitive to that. That fouls it up.