On July 8th, I had the privilege to attend a peace conference organised by the Israeli Newspaper Haaretz. Let me first stress that on that particular day, Hamas started unilaterally to send missiles and rockets on Israeli Cities. I experienced 3 alerts although I never made it to a shelter. This is my very personal account of the discussions which took place on that day, I reorganised the interventions as pleased me and as I understood from the extremely fast and almost hysterical interpretation by one of the two (!) interpretors who covered 11 hours of non-stop speeches. I even went once to ask her to stop screaming so that we could understand what she said…Let me thank French philosopher and ‘Haver Academia’ (Member of the French Academy) Alain Finkielkraut



for handing his text to me which explains why this is almost the in-extenso version of his speech and also a very big thank you to wonderful novelist and translator Anne Rabinovitchanne


for proof-reading these notes.

You can find more about this conference by clicking on this link: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-peace-conference


Opening Remarks. 

Leaders and great principles:

Abbas, Mahmud (2014), ‘Pre-recorded Conversation’

Peres, Shimon and Shavit, Ari (2014), ‘Interview’

Barak, Ehud and Benn, Aluf (2014), ‘Interview of Ehud Barak’,

Strategy and Security

Harel, Amos, Diskin, Yuval, and Amidros, Yaakov (2014), ‘Peace and Security- Conflicting aims?’ 

Human Rights. 

Hecht, Ravit, et al. (2014), ‘Democracy and human rights: between conflict and peace’, 

The people. 

Al-Masri, Munib (2014)

Basharat, Uda (2014) ‘Peace through Palestinian eyes’, 

Levi, Gideon (2014), ‘Opinion Statement’

Haas, Amira (2014), ‘Opinion Statement’

Grossman, David (2014), ‘On despair and hope’

Socio-economic considerations

Peretz, Sami and Yacimoich, Shelly (2014), ‘What is the connection between social justice and peace’

Avriel, Eytan, et al. (2014), ‘The Economic angle: What will the economic gain from an agreement-and what will it lose without one?

The Israeli Right and the Settlers Camp.

Bennet, Naftali (2014), ‘Peace in the era of realism’

Dayan, Danny (2014), ‘Making peace and breaking peace’

Natural Resources. 

Bromberg, Gideon (2014), ‘Peace and the water issue’

The Jewish Diaspora. 

Finkielkraut, Alain (2014), ‘The Conflict and Anti-Semitism’

Shalev, Chemi, et al. (2014), ‘The conflict and peace- Views from the Diaspora’, 

Politics and Compromise.

Gal-On, Zahava (2014), ‘The peace we never made’

Herzog (2014)The conflict and peace – Is there another way?

Diplomatic considerations. 

Ravid, Barak, Erekat, Saeb, and Tzipi, Livni (2014), ‘The diplomatic angle: How can we get closer to peace?’ 

USA and Israel

Gordon, Philip (2014), ‘Special assistant to the US. Message from President Obama.’ 



Opening Remarks


Schocken, Amos, Eldar, Akiva, and Huddai, Ron (2014), ‘Opening Session’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


Due to the violent events, our Palestinians speakers have cancelled their presence today but we are not giving up and we have to get out of that impasse. The Israelis understand the necessity to peace.

How can we live in this country without peaceful cohabitation? We would like to thank our guests for being present today despite their many reservations and concerns in the eye of what we are witnessing as I speak.

Amos Schocken: We have gathered here in order to put peace as the main event in our agenda. The only response to the present days’ event is peace. How has peace been delayed and how can be obtained?

Zionism, Judaism and peace are the main values we support in Haaretz. Need to peace in order to complete the goals of Zionism. After a few hours our conference registration was full and if we had been able to host everyone we would have needed a public stadium.


Akiva Eldar: Wow what a full floor! Welcome to the Israel conference on Peace. My friends ask me what’s the point of peace conference for a newspaper at the present moment when people are in shelters? People didn’t complain about our corruption conference… what’s more urgent?

End occupation and find peace for all refugees. The Arab Peace Initiative has been opened 12 years ago and awaits an answer. This is our answer. People wonder why representatives of the far right are present with us today, well, if you make peace with the enemy, start with our brothers, so we are giving them a platform to express their views to you.

Thanks to our Palestinian MPs for being present today.


During the Independence war, we were all mobilised. We should be mobilised against hatred and racism. If we don’t pursue this goal, our newspaper is just letters on paper.


Ron Huddai: I’m happy to host you as the Mayor of Tel-Aviv, but I would have been even happier if this conference had taken place in Jerusalem because peace should come from Zion. As a person belonging to the labour party and peace camp, and against settlements, I thank you for this conference, but it’s hard to speak in this reality. People of clever mind should remain silent (Book of Amos). Riots, barbaric deeds are such that even myself and my people are working very hard but don’t feel any attention nor emotional openness from the public in Israel at the moment to the theme of this conference. Yet I’ve come to greet you and wish you a successful conference. For great projects, you need a little bit of despair said Ben Gurion, well then now more than ever the Peace Camp should be heard in Jerusalem.

Leaders and great principles.

Abbas, Mahmud (2014), ‘Pre-recorded Conversation’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


Introduction by Akiva Eldar: My nation wants peace and I join president Peres to pray for it (in Hebrew and Arabic). Two weeks ago before the development we had an interview with the President of the PA.


Q: Thanks for speaking for us. What are the missing pieces in the peace process? What are the conditions for breaking these obstacles?


He mentions a Group of detainees.


the settlement is illegal and yet we are not asking for the destruction but for the stopping of new constructions. These are not preconditions but we are waiting for some sign of good will


With Olmert, we didn’t object to anything. We were fully responsive and very close to reaching an agreement. We talked on all points but suddenly he disappeared from the political map.


As for Kerry, he simply spoke to us without any written confirmation. He conveyed to us the impression it isn’t the right time for a framework.


Q: Do you think an agreement based on the API would mean the end of the conflict?


The initiative is still on the table but there’s no official recognition from the Israeli leaders. Let’s discuss things on these bases. As soon as the refugees issue is solved, everything will be fine.


Q: What’s your view on the debate about the change of name of the State of Israel?


I say that the issue of the Jewish state is a new item. We acknowledge the state of Israel so if you want to change your name, fine, go to the UN and change your name.

Q: Do you think the Oslo accords are now obsolete?


We don’t want the Oslo accord to fail. When things clear up we will have a position in our interest.


Q: In your dream how do you see our future?

Peace isn’t a dream, it is a reality as long as the intentions are good. Does Israel really want peace? True solution or not? UN resolution in 2012, specifies that the territories are occupied land. It took 64 years to be recognized. Statistics show that most Israelis want peace, but as of today, we will not remain silent.


I hold the right of approaching over sixty international organizations but we could make direct peace talk without any go between.


He gives his message of peace on the eve of Ramadan and concluded “My hand is reaching out in peace. I don’t believe in war. Please seize this opportunity of our hand held to you. Time is like a sword, if you don’t cut it, it will cut you. This government doesn’t believe in peace, why keep it?  We need to have peace now, you have such a movement.”


Peres, Shimon and Shavit, Ari (2014), ‘Interview’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


We cannot begin our conversation without mentioning that every kind of peace requires solidarity and we need to express it to our southern citizens who suffer. In a few weeks, Shimon won’t be President any longer but I will miss it because he’s a living icon, he’s the Israeli who is welcomed with an undivided respect. 8th prime minister and 9th President of our country.

Q: Palestinian barbarians are singing, Jewish barbarians are burning a boy who is struggling for his life. What about peace?

We always had barbarians and always sought for peace. Hundreds of thousands of people and soldiers fight day and night and should be acknowledged. When I see mothers who hold their children all night long, they will be the winners and these civilians and combatants should be recognized. In order to answer your question, I know that for many, peace belongs to the left camp while the right is against it, but when I graduated I knew that the world is round and our perspective should be more global if things might change for the better. Over half the existence of the State, our Arab neighbours said NO Peace, Negotiation and Recognition from the Arabs, but now the Saudi Prince is talking about peace and it proves that hope is possible. Things that are changed for the better? Terrorism is pulling down and tearing apart country after country. Look at Lebanon which can’t elect a president, Syria, …the Arab world should decide who is the problem, the danger.

Q: what about the Palestinians? We hoped that Kerry would bring peace, and now in July 14, no peace and no Kerry.

Peres: I don’t want to drop names, neither compliment nor blame anyone. I remember when we made peace with Egypt, when Arafat wasn’t recognized at Oslo. Now one camp wants peace and one wants to suppress us. But Abu Mazen in Arabic called for the arrest of the kidnappers, and called for peace. So when people ask me who is our partner, I’m surprised. We need to see the good things. It’s not only up to the Arabs to decide who is our enemy. We fight only if we are being attacked.

Q: Abbas is a peace partner, what about Netanyahu?

There are things Netanyahu did that I admire, some I suffer…so out loud let me say that I esteem two things Netanyahu did:

  1. To combat the rejection of Israel as two separate states by the right. This proclamation is a great thing.
  2. The other thing, he with goodwill wanted to attain an economic peace. But how to translate this wish into reality?


Could we say that in 2010-11 hope and peace appeared and disappered?

It’s too late in the day to regret, but two days ago, I negotiated with Abu Mazen. Some bought the idea that it’s impossible to attain peace if it is not global. I don’t agree with this view. Every time you agree on one step, you agree on the very existence of the next step. So as far as I’m concerned, we understood a lot and achieved some.


You conducted negotiations and were close to meeting Abbas. The sceptics, to whom I belong, need to be convinced thatyou got a serious peace outline. Convince me.


Peres: we thought the most serious problem was the refugees and Israel said that if they insist on this right of return, we would no longer be a Jewish state. So now the solution of the refugees must be just and be agreed by both parties. So Israel  is protected.


Do you believe you can bring a signed agreement?

I don’t quite agree with your formulation. If you place Jewish concerns in the forefront, it’s going to blow up. You should reach agreements on other issues first.


You are saying we missed the train when we didn’t capitalize on what was offered at the negotiating table?

Well the Palestinians also made some mistakes. I think there are obstacles but we can overcome them.


In 99 she was with you and she’s sitting in her shelter. In her heart she’s moderate but she’s lost that faith today. How can you convince.


Shula, and these women are willing to suffer and are no experts to negotiators and leaders are elected by the majority. Many poor people supported peace, so let me quote: “I don’t know what people want but I want to be good to them” (Ben Gurion): a leader should be at the forefront even if the people disagree.


We see that awful hatred and cries of revenge on facebook which led to that abominable murder. Are you afraid for our image?

I’m distressed and anxious. We have to remove the evil before it evicts us. The Jewish people values life forces. It sacrificed itself for their moral value and now we should uproot them? This is an existential danger for our moral nature. We have to stand as one man.


Personal question: you’re an optimist. But people tell me you have difficulty falling asleep….


I’m an optimist because we can achieve something but it is not automatic. My lifetime mistake was that I wasn’t optimistic enough. Who would have believed that this tiny and poor country would become an 8 million country at the forefront of technology, so fascinating in so many areas. It took less time than I thought. Instant fulfilment is impossible but I would never have dreamt that an Arab prince in Saudi would offer a peace solution to us…so who’s optimistic? Why should we be afraid? Change is happening and I’m looking for these changes. There will be a democratic state. There is no other solution. Those who doubt aren’t trusting human values. I’m still very young and full of hope.


One final question: your lifestory is ours, from the Holocaust to Oslo, with your energy, when you become a free man again, will you act in the peace camp?
Do you have any doubt??? I’ve been in camps and I want peace!



Barak, Ehud and Benn, Aluf (2014), ‘Interview of Ehud Barak’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.

Aluf Ben:

How humble one has to be, even in planning convention? I can’t recall that anything positive came from the influx of verbal talks. I just want to say we have to respond with determination and we shouldn’t let things continue over time. I don’t think that one of the distinguished members of the government knows what to do to save peace. Mr. Barak,14 years ago, we left Camp David, you said there is no partner. You made many people believe that there was no one to talk to. Do you still believe this?


Ehud Barak

I always tell the truth assuming that the public is mature. At that time, Arafat wasn’t a partner. We placed a proposal on the table, contrary to the urban legend pretending that we threatened “take it or leave it”. We simply wanted to leave it as a basis of negotiation and he refused. The fact that he wasn’t a partner doesn’t mean he couldn’t become one. Undoubtedly Abbas is the partner at the moment.


I went to Camp David to bring back peace. Triangle land swap with Egypt. I’m worried about that Egyptian border at a time there’s no Egyptian leader. The reality is that it’s not easy to achieve an agreement. We need to find a plan B around the concept of each party putting conditions. We need inside the land of Israel, a unilateral state of separation.


Q: After Camp David, did you hear any development of the Bar Ilan statement about 2 state-solution?

There is something important noting: we think that everything will be solved by an agreement. But both parties want to appear as leading the discussions. But one needs to insert the element of compromise such as losing face in front of one’s own public. We must find a way for leadership to impose informal discussions far away from public eyes leaving room to reach something instead of remaining in the focus of the public.

We need trust on two levels:

  • between the leaders and
  • in between leaders and their constituency.

Netanyahu treads on a very fine line. I think he meant what he said at Bar-Ilan.

Assad, Hezbollah, extreme dangers for the order of the World such as Iran would still be there if we had reached an agreement 5 years ago. Unity of Israel is also important. More urgent issues in the country…chess board. In order to achieve an operation, there is no meaning to a hierarchy of priorities. We have to give sometimes priorities to other elements.

Strategy and Security


Harel, Amos, Diskin, Yuval, and AMIDROS, Yaakov (2014), ‘Peace and Security- Conflicting aims?’ paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


We’ve gone downhill to the second intifada that eradicated any peace hopes on both camps. New model of fight against terrorism much more effective on behalf of PA.


Q: If we withdraw, what kind of deployment will occur?

With your permission, you’re going to the end but in fact I’d like to start with the beginning. After so many years of distrust, reaching peace hopes are bleak.

Syria and Gaza look bad. I don’t see true reconciliation from Palestinians happening in the near future. We need to spread this process over several years: make sure Palestinians can maintain a viable state. In my experience, ability to reach a bilateral agreement is close to 0 as we need a regional agreement. We need to focus on a regional arrangement.

We can build an infrastructure which will be able to behold disagreement. It will provide a solution to all the problems.

Arab spring and huge shake in the Arab world since 2010:To what extent is this area unpredictable?

We cannot ignore these developments but I do suggest we take them with a pinch of salt. Let’s be humble in our forecast and cautious. The real security is a combination of strong army and government.

If we bring down Hamas to its knees it won’t have positive outcome. We have to promote a better life quality on condition that they keep their quiet.

I’d prefer peace with all and not only part of the Palestinians, but we need also to support Fatah’s successes if we want it to survive.

No possibility of 185’000 settlers removal as we did in the past. We are still paying the heavy price. The israeli society failed in this disengagement. Those who were evacuated and objected are still bleeding and the tag price (tag mehir) was too high. I support a referendum because without it, nothing good can come out and planning an orderly evacuation.


Let’s start with Gaza, Amodros.

I thought Gaza also would take this conference into account but they didn’t. Gaza is tied to a permanent agreement. Security will be undermined otherwise. People promoting agreement with the Palestinians assume that the latter will do the job. They’ve never done and never will do the job.

If we have to give up our ability to protect, there’s no hope.

Is there a security agreement is to be reached, there needs to be an independent state able to enforce its security.

Nation-State of the Jewish Nation is the name Europe should acknowledge.

Abu Mazen doesn’t want an agreement.

There is no way to prevent Palestinians from killing of Jews. This is a cultural issue that can’t change in one or two generation. There is no easy solution. We need Palestinian goodwill.

The number of people killed after Oslo tripled. Now this threat has almost totally disappeared.

If anyone can guarantee that we never have to fight against on the Eastern front, I suggest that we do not ignore the option of such a threat. We need an option to change all that.


The moral argument is unfounded. It’s not a moral issue as we need to enforce our security, (somebody calls you should be ashamed).

Q. You sat next to Netanyahu about the BDS.

First it’s true in respect to the settlement, it plays a negative role in some countries including this newspaper. Tailwind people contribute to this argument but it’s no reason to commit suicide. Israel has to tolerate these conflicting views. Very fine balance. It’s no shame to be flexible. I apologize for my preaching but I expected a more civilised reception from this crowd.


Human Rights


Hecht, Ravit, et al. (2014), ‘Democracy and human rights: between conflict and peace’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


I come from the proletariat. Discussing peace is something that stops in the intellectual and philosophical circles. It then became clearer to us that field reality came knocking at us.

Kashua, Sayed

Sayed, I don’t think to introduce you after a very dire and sad column you wrote this week announcing you are leaving this country. It was difficult for you to come. I’d like to ask about your feelings in our column that you have no future despite the tremendous love your readers expressed and that this place has become a jungle.
On Wednesday I’m leaving for Chicago for good. I know I was deluding myself for many years but my alternative is to live in an Arab village which is scary or leave. I raised my children in this land wondering how it would explode in their face, but now I really have nothing to do here. You can hold on to a rope if it’s short enough but these ghettos are becoming more rooted. The stories I heard from my grandfathers are still going on. There is violence due to lack of law enforcement. Usually when I hear about a threat in my parents’ village, I pack my kids to Jerusalem but now there’s nowhere to escape.

You’re a writer and popular journalist what’s so difficult for you, you have a place in our society.

Well first it was hard to get there. But now I’m afraid. (he later left the stage after some comments from other people on the panel.)


Sasson, Talia
You know the Israelis from within.

I want to speak as a citizen, not an attorney. Mohamad was burned a few meters from my house. Something happened to me on that day. Something broke inside me. I ask myself when I pass that place everyday. I was asleep and they burned a person live next to me. People from my own people behaving like animals. So much hatred? I think that people who were born in the reality that Israel is right believe that their position is higher than others. It’s ok to take people’s land, water, houses and are ready to die for that.

Racism is the rotten fruit and undermines the foundations of Israel’s democracy. We are on the way of not being a democratic State. It’s the responsibility of everyone in this room

Branding of left as antipatriotic. Is this valid? People like myself are the real patriots of Israel. You undermine the foundations of the State, that’s why this branding because the right was successful in owning patriotism.

How legal are the settlements?

Harel, Israel

I have no interest to responding to anything else than what we prepared. Do you think settlers are responsible for deterioration of democracy. I can say a lot of things about myself, about the place where I’ve been living (Ofra) where people are law abiding like you. Just like in every society, if you accuse this society. Many people from my camp have the feeling you care more for Palestinians than for your Jewish brethren. No discussion comes until you realize this. I don’t want to generalize but out of hatred for settlers there will never be peace.

These settlements aren’t legal according to international law.  Answer: there are other illegal places according to the UN. The borders of greater Israel, according to important legal specialists, the bible borders are the only legal ones. What about the Egyptian borders and the Sikes Picot agreement.

Muli Dor of Israeli Arab initiative.

Galili, Lily

The people


Al-Masri, Munib (2014),.

Didn’t come, replaced by

Basharat, Uda (2014) ‘Peace through Palestinian eyes’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


We are naturally born optimists, but we stopped because all think we’ve reached the very worst. We can’t console ourselves as we keep counting our existential threats. That’s not why you build a country!

Absurdity is rampant.

As an average optimist, I think that in these past 3 days, no Arab was killed following the appalling murder. We should seek for a vaccine against racism which is despicable. Recent events prove that it all begins and ends with the police. If they are treated as proper citizens our people will act as such.

To those who tell me why do you hold a peace conference while there’s a war going on, I say: “ask the Israeli government why it is on war on the day of a peace conference?

The older women who are visiting Palestinians right now are the Jeanne d’Arc of our times.



Levi, Gideon (2014), ‘Opinion Statement’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


The moderate Arab has finished to speak, now it’s the turn of immoderate one.

There’s a poetic justice in the fact that Palestinians didn’t come. Before making peace with them we need to make sure we want peace. This general decision to bring justice never really included the end of occupation. The proof is that we never stopped the settlement policy and kept building.

I believe we must first decide to end the occupation.

There are many reasons for that occupation: lust to real estate. The feeling that we are a bit superior to others. We are the chosen people. We’ve never looked at Palestinians as human beings equal to us, never ever.

Do we treat them as such? The day we do so, we’ll wonder what this was all about. We believe that we have more rights… and they are left. They are exactly like us, their pain is like ours. I called at the house of the boy who was burnt live. You should have heard the father talk nobly about peace. Don’t take myself seriously. I will always argue that the most basic popular sentiment among the Palestinians is to cohabit in peace. Basic sentiment that Israelis share is separation.

Two weeks ago, I wrote: there was no memorial rally and nobody apologized. Muhamad was a 15 years old man whose life was very short.


Bitton, Michael (2014), ‘Peace and the periphery’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


It’s difficult to talk about peace today. As a citizen of this country, resident of Negev and reservist, let me send my condolences to both Jewish and Arab family including the residents of my region who are under missile attacks as we speak. Let me pray that soldiers return with fewest casualties as possible.

Where did the Jewish murders come from, what kind of narrative? If they didn’t go from a good neighbourhood it’s the periphery.

The Israeli society and the periphery is held hostage to peace process. Perhaps the point of change was the 80s with the economic new deal and serious escalation of the social gap in Israeli society.

There is a correlation between periphery and peace. Both Begin and Rabin understood it and sent millions of dollars to the periphery even they came from the political right and left.

We are a society that used to be poor and took care of the weak with free education and social welfare. Now we are an OECD rich country.

My parents made alyah from Morroco. They raised 9 children and sent me to a boarding school thanks to a grant. I was asked to open my mouth and I was very well treated then, but a child from Ethiopia wants to come to the same school I attended, he can’t and neither can his parents be properly housed. Without free education and healthcare which can’t happen because we are budgeting peace and security all the time, we are heading to disaster.

Without the public housing in the Negev, people can’t make ends meet. The people of the Negev are the periphery. This includes 200,000 Bedouins who are left without an option to housing. Some people tell me they won’t help my city of Yerucham because it would mean helping these Arabs.

Even at 10 km away from here at the Intercontinental there’s a social periphery.

My parents came in 63 and voted labour but this camp betrayed and forgot them. Why don’t we stop? Let’s wait for peace, I’d say let’s have a just society that will mobilise people. I yearn for peace for Israel. According to the book of Isaia: give the bread to the hungry and your house to your brother. When this day comes, you’ll have more soldiers for peace in Israel.


Haas, Amira (2014), ‘Opinion Statement’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


Why is Hamas so strong and successful? In 94 it warned the people who relied on peace. Here we are 20 years later, it proved right. Methodically and systematically, the government….cf. journal p. 98


I don’t talk of one or two state. I’m conservative, I say that the peace camp was full of metaphors and didn’t relate to what was happening. The peace camp listened to the Palestinian leaders not the Palestinian people. They’ve had enough of Jews.


Grossman, David (2014), ‘On despair and hope’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


The most important issue of the struggle for peace for the State of Israel evolves around hope and despair. Void of activities and arena and ethics. Story of the fish (what is water?). The water is here but behind it is the extreme manifestation of the settlements, the stagnant water, crazy gambling over the future of the State. State of extremists, rabbis and settlers. despair of those who understand that this is a design against us. In 1983 we hoped that our enemy would become our partner and that life would be good one day. Now it’s a betrayal of any chance and hope. No matter what Abu Mazen professes, our Prime Minister will still scorn him. Necessity for a new dialogue. Mocking and scoffing way for past 12 years. Announcing that they will never believe any Palestinians again. Israel sounds if it had decided to close that option of hope. Why, when it comes to peace, the Middle East is storming but vis-à-vis this threat, a lack of character and numbness is a disease. It is very frustrating that all our military force has become such an obstacle instead of a tool for peace. We are an empire, the strongest state in the region but we keep acting as a victim. We are victims of our own history and of our own despair.  Anxiety of Jewish faith, victimhood. from day to day, with every news headline, cult of isolation, killing trees and young boys.

Wisdom of life and compromise is a characteristic feature of both nations. I cannot accept that we’ve been defeated, not on the battlefield but at the lack of actions towards peace.

We are too desperate to lose that despair.

Socio-economic considerations.


Peretz, Sami and Yacimoich, Shelly (2014), ‘What is the connection between socialjustice and peace?’ paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


Q: In the past 4-5 years, new socio-economics discourse. Is it more important than security?

No, but this discourse is much more at the centre-stage instead of focusing only on right and left.


You were elected on a social agenda and so was Lapid.

Indeed, that’s true, people like myself and Lapid, despite the fact we don’t share the same ideology. All of them are very right wing when it comes to economy, so no difference between the various members of the coalition.

Livni said that she’ll try to change from within rather than from outside.

The deal was labor-orthodox and Netanyahu, take it or leave it. As long as Netanyahu is the head of state, there won’t be a treaty. He’s a right wing ideologist. There’s no difference between him and Bennett except that the latter is freer to speak his mind. The choice ultimately for political people to make a change or remaining in the opposition.

Education and social security isn’t a give away but a human right,

Flowers of peace won’t flourish in such a place.

I’m against sectorial parties. Labour party has an inclusive perception of society. The topic here is peace. Connection between peace and economy. It’s obvious, not even peace, a mere negotiation, improves the macro-eco parameters. It will lead to more tourism and exports. Amazing opportunities are lost as a result of loss of negotiated peace.

There should be some kind of correlation that we won’t enjoy the fruit of peace unless we come with social democratic worldviews, decent allocation of funds etc.

I come from the peace camp and support the two-state solution, not in a romantic but pragmatic way because that’s the only solution.



Tibi, Ahmed (Palestinian Israeli MP)

We represent the hope and pains of our population. We get more votes which proves we get a feedback.

Our agenda doesn’t include shooting children intentionally like you do because we are a civilised people. Netanyahu is the first one who expressed the word revenge and he’s responsible for the death of the burned child.

Behind every child there’s a mother. You, the Jews, should understand the meaning of burning a child who was still alive. I come with my hands clean and I expect the official denouncing of a Palestinian child’s murder. To this day, from 67 this has never happened. This is a war crime.


Some people agree with your criticism. People used to consider Israeli Arabs as a bridge but they didn’t see any concretization.

Well this is a difficult moment, but I’m Ahmad and you expect me to stand on the side of those who burn a boy? (Shakespearian emphasis) Do I have no feeling, am I not a human being?. I condemn suicide bombing but I expect empathy for our suffering and ending of settlement. Housing, education we’ve been waiting for 30 years and even Israeli left didn’t do a thing. No one came to tell me anything.

You now have the Hutzpah talking about national insurance as you stole our land. We didn’t come by ship or plane. We were born here.

I’m at the head of an Arab committee at the Knesset but I’m banned from Public Service.

Once you integrate an Arab in the public service you will see progress. Even on Shabbat you said that you can’t leave the switches of the Electric system to us but the best doctors and technicians are Arabs and they are excellent. So, we are talking about people who have talent but are excluded and abandonned. Look at employment figures. From 1948 to now, we have gone from 98 to 4% of the land. Our struggle is for equality.


The Arab sector is excluded to military service because we object. There are also Jews who refuse serving the occupied territories. But a national service would integrate us. Druze have filled beautiful cemeteries. We are admitted as volunteers in summer camps, NGOs…but the government is a problem. Bennett talked to increase enforcement on Syria, Gaza and the… Arab Israeli. That’s how awful an Israeli minister talks! He’s saying we are the enemies. He’s pointing us to the public saying look, they are terrorists.

They are discriminating the Arab population and you are asking us to thank them for this.

We could beat racism together. I’d like to repeat, I don’t want to beat you, I want to beat racism with you.

Avriel, Eytan, et al. (2014), ‘The Economic angle: What will the economic gain from an agreement-and what will it lose without one?’ paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.

If we reach an agreement, who will gain or lose from it? Now of all time it’s strange that the economic conversation is at the top of the agenda and discourse so it’s high time we addressed this topic.

distinguished panel: Manuel Trajtenberg, Yarom Arlav, Ditta Bronicki, Chemi Peres, Lars Faabor-Andersen,  ADD JOBS.

Manuel Trajtenberg:

Economic consideration in retrospect was never a ruling condition for peace negotiation but now we should look at the impact if we don’t have peace. To understand the current status quo, there is no process. Economic phenomena have always had a decisive influence on conflict. We should remember two cases:

  • 100 years after WW1, one person, Keynes, perhaps the greatest economist of all times wrote about the economic consequences of peace. He said that the great amount of compensation imposed on Germany was disastrous. No one listened to him.
  • After WW2, the Marshall plan was the exact opposite and brought stability and peace. Let’s hope this experience won’t be repeated.


Since 1985, Israel’s economy grew much quicker than its neighbours’. Growing GDP, contrary to what happened after 1973 which had lead to hyperinflation. Suicidal syndrome of an economy: quick increase of economy. Peace treaties allowed a flourishing economy. Second intifada, security needs have risen. We are in a more global economy. Protests in 2011 means for us currently the unwillingness of mainstream youngsters to wait eternally. “We want normalcy here and today” was their demand. We are walking on a very narrow bridge. Security expenditure dropped to 6%. This is significant yet, 4% higher to average GDP of other countries. We find ourselves at the limits of our social ability. The western world, our friends who sell the commodities that we buy (80%) are starting to tell us they are a bit fed up. Multinationals might not continue their relations if we continue that way. We cannot face the threats we are facing if the growth goes down even of 1%. To maintain our economic resilience, this 6% has to go down. You cannot savour socioeconomic aspects otherwise. The economic threat doesn’t come from our enemies. The most significant one comes from the loss of tolerance of our friends vis-a-vis our political stagnance. We must hold a peace process bona fide. The liability is depending on the political process. Decrease of rate of growth and increase of security are a danger we have to take seriously. Secular and religious and other divisions are also a danger. If we are to have a future, we have to be inclusive. Similar world in which to hold our current activities. We need a trustworthy political process. I don’t have big dreams but I am anxious that the Israeli society might not be able to survive. The bridge is narrow, I really hope we will pass it.


Yarom Arlav:

we cannot imagine we are in a bubble, so let me say, the President said we need to remove the evil and I’d like to stress we won’t be able to remove it so long as settlement exist. Reality of brainwashing. Awful image of ourselves. If we want to remove this evil we have to reach a political agreement to stop to control also another nation.


There is no status quo. Danger of escalation for the economic. People wonder if this danger is serious. I can guarantee it’s definitely serious. Demographical 3%. We’ve reached the glass ceiling and the only way out is by reaching an agreement. Dozens of hours working in each committee is necessary. Economic model of growth for 10 years. Growth engines, if we reach an agreement, will impact the entire economic by more exports, huge market of Far East.



In order to show the seriousness of commitment of EU, the ministers of foreign affairs last December put an unprecedented proposal, including Switzerland and Norway, for the horizon 2020 in technology which should be exported to other sectors.



BTI two sided organisation to stop the standstill. It’s not an economic conference, but it is based on values in the model of Davos. Is it successful? Interpersonally for sure, we can say that peace is attainable. I believe we mustn’t give up and inspire our leaders. At Davos, a senior Palestinian official, said cannot promote business with Israel until the status quo is overcome but there are other voices.



Why would you care about peace? Can anything be done in the field of high tech? Social justice can only be achieved if we have peace. We can only lift the burden once we have peace. As an investor capitalist, there’s the first circle, Israeli high tech, its most important resource is our brain, not commerce. we must make sure to be on the forefront of international technology. Global companies investing in Israel and start-up nation (5000, 800 per year). Cycle of inclusion, we need to include all the powers in society. We are a fabric of different population groups. We focus on the Arab sector, 20% of Israel population but only 7% of GDP. We need to increase it to improve our GNP. We are a start-up nations but not for the Arab sector. At the Israeli stock exchange, there are no Arab companies. We have a huge opportunity. Middle Eastern market is also a huge market for us. 350 million customer. Arab language is the fastest growing language on the internet. We could offer 22 countries in the region content in services. The companies we invest in are also Arab speaking. In November in Turkey we’ll have a conference you’re all invited to.

Average age in this country is 25. Average in the region is younger. Investment, technology and Arabic internet could and should embrace regional strategies, not only all over the world. From the Saudi prince, I learnt about the notion of the day after. We don’t need to wait for our leaders to say it’s time to make peace. We can achieve economic peace NOW. If we bring employment, peace can be a dividend but also a true engine.



We should indeed need to keep in the back of our mind the fact that our friends are losing patience but also we are losing our legitimacy. Remember the Arab boycott until the Oslo accord.



Two points, in any arrangement, the State of Israel would need to evacuate Jews from Judea and Samaria. What’s the cost today, what would be the cost of evacuation? The cost is in our paper (Yarom Arlav). We are not there yet, but the funding could be done by donations and the dividend for peace is much greater than the cost of the evacuation. Difficult to quantify, but the constant suffocation will be lifted if we reach normalisation. Potentials such as stability and mood are more difficult to quantify, yet they are of essence.



Regarding the atmosphere of the Council of Higher Education. We are affected. Many young researchers are returning to Israel. We are connected to research worldwide. This is the secret of our success. Boycotts don’t have a real influence but there are the first signs that we should pay attention. The academic world, because it’s more global in its nature, should pick up this zeitgeist. One fact should be in our awareness: an Israeli who goes to an academic institution is 24 and this age is rising, this is a six years gap with any other country. The technological human capital has to be addressed. if you start so late, it has an impact on several aspect such as choice of research and potential success.


Economic consideration should not be at the forefront. Values are the essence. In order to shape the perception to deal with these difficult issues, this should be very clearly addressed. We have to look at our children in their eyes. What will our kids inherit from us? How to give them a NORMAL country, not an exceptional one. Israel is the country for the Jews but in order to stop drifting away from the Jews of the diaspora we have to take all this in consideration.


The Israeli Right and the Settlers Camp


Bennet, Naftali (2014), ‘Peace in the era of realism’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


Hurlements et huées durant tout tout son speech. On apprendra par la presse qu’il a même été molesté à la sortie de la conférence.

Eldar intervient à plusieurs reprises: “We understand your protest, yet we invited the Minister and it’s worth letting him express himself.”


Good afternoon, in my previous life, I established a start-up company with 3 friends. We had a business plan and were full of hopes. After a year and half, loads of employees, but no sales. Every month I went to the board of directors, no profits, and we kept moving one column to the next until my accountant came and said we were on the verge of bankruptcy. So we changed at 180 degrees, complete change and we not only survive but were wealthy. The Israelis here are like I was, denying reality. How many missiles have to fall on Ashkelon for you to understand? (loud interruptions from the public). This is the last place where I expected to shut people’s mouth. Nobody will shut my mouth. On this platform, the time has come to wake up. Those experts who scream at me today are the same people who told us to leave Gaza and now see what happened.

The Middle East is entering a new phase with the Muslim spring and we don’t know till when. He enumerates all the cities falling under the Shiites and Suni. How can we achieve peace in such a complex region? With three key elements:

1) Determined territories

2) Deterrence. We need to be strong in a neighbourhood made of hooligans. Ability to hit the enemy with the determination to do so if you need so. The Jewish people do not want nor seek war. No one in this room wants peace more than me. Please open up your ears.

3) Resilience. Taking care of the Arab minority. Where were you while I was doing this work? We saw this in the past three weeks. The three family didn’t scream as you do. (New screams from the floor and intervention of Haaretz journalist: How can it be that we can’t talk to Mr Bennett if we speak to our enemies?)

Jacob, the father of the Jewish people changed his name to Israel. All our history till the return to Zion. This is not a foreign land that we have taken, this is the inheritance of our forefather and we Jewish people took back our land.


Dayan, Danny (2014), ‘Making peace and breaking peace’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


I’d like to thank the organisers as my invitation was not taken for granted.

It’s not a peace conference but a two-state solution conference. Let me explain. The idea of a two-state solution didn’t die because of Kerry’s failure but simply because it never existed in the first place.

Two state is the only game which has been around since 1937. 70 years later, this formula hasn’t brought any more peace than in 37. Ask yourself whether this isn’t simply the wrong question, it’s a mirage. Every time you reach it you discover it isn’t there. It’s an aesthetic formula, easy to grasp, diplomatically acceptable but has two problems:

  1. It cannot be obtained
  2. It doesn’t exist.

There are morning when I wake up wondering whether Netanyahu believes what he says but I can’t doubt on Olmert and his predecessors. No Israeli including Olmert managed to achieve this mirage.

Keep toying this idea but this isn’t the solution to the conflict because Begin could have signed with Egypt and given the Sinai peninsula because there was a stable regime. In Palestine, a week won’t pass before Hamas takes over and this is why the peace agreement is unreachable.

We have to understand and accept the fact.

What can one do in such a situation:

to give up and despair saying “oy gevalt”.

The second is to do your second best. With whom can we achieve peace, according to NY Times and Haaretz? I wrote an editorial about Peace and reconciliation in the view of the lack of political solution. Concentrating on Human rights, rehab of refugee camps.


Natural Resources


Bromberg, Gideon (2014), ‘Peace and the water issue’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


Water is life. It’s one of the core issues with Jerusalem and peaceful borders except that it can be solved yesterday due to technology. We have a surplus of water. A just distribution between us and Palestinian won’t come at the expense of any Israeli. Despite that, on the Palestinian side, tremendous shortage. They open a tap and there’s no water. In Bethlehem as we speak, this is occurring. A thirsty neighbour feeds Hamas! It’s not missiles coming from Gaza but also millions of cubic water. Water cannot wait. It’s in our shared interest to reach an agreement. I call upon Bennett to reach an agreement on this core issue which will promote trust and create the environment for peace to be called upon. I raise my glass to peace for us and the Palestinians.


The Diaspora


Finkielkraut, Alain (2014), ‘The Conflict and Anti-Semitism’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


I’m a Jewish French intellectual. What does it mean? It means two reasons for insomnia: to struggle without respite on two fronts.

  • In France, the occupation of the West Bank was always criticized ever since the 6-days war but until now it wasn’t demonized as it is today. Until recently, the existence of Israel went without saying. The situation has changed. A Jewish State appears more and more as a political freak in the post-modern era. For Europe, taking pride in defeating the demon of origin, in replacing History by reason and particularism by universal values, Israel is seen as a relic or a regression. Zionism was an attempt to normalize the existence of Jews through the existence of a State. And that is exactly what has become abnormal in the eyes of the new democrats. In a famous article published 10 years ago, Tony Judt coined the word for this oddity – anachronism: “But what if there is no place in the world today for a “Jewish State”?(…) Israel remains distinctive among democratic States in its resort to ethno-religious criteria with which to denominate and rank its citizens (…). In a world where nations and peoples increasingly intermingle and intermarry at will, where cultural national impediments to communications have all but collapsed; where more and more of us have multiple identities and would feel falsely constrained if we had to answer to just one of them: In such a world, Israel is truly an anachronism. And not just an anachronism but a dysfunctional one. In todays “clash of cultures” between open, pluralist democracies and belligerently intolerant, faith-driven ethno-states,  Israel is still resorting to criteria.

In 1976, Michel Foucault called the UN resolution to compare zionism and racism “ignominious” What is ignominious now among his followers who see multiculturalism as an achievement of human history, is Zionism itself. But the real world isn’t a supermarket. What is multiculturalism now? It’s violence, a clash of cultures is going on in the open democracies celebrated by Tony Judt. The Jews are not the only targets in this clash but they are the first ones. Whereas the fascist variety of anti-Semitism is dying, a new Islamic hatred is invading the Old Continent. Two unexpected questions arise: what is the future of the Jews in Europe? What is the future of Europe in Europe? And the figures of Aliyah increase dramatically.

Because of this new predicament, Jews in the diaspora and especially in France are not in the mood for criticism of Israeli politics. In this view, when they are insulted or molested, it’s always on behalf on Palestinians. And they don’t want to make any concession to self-righteous intellectual who consider Zionism as a crime. I share this feeling. I share also the grief and the disarray of the Israelis after the killing of three teenagers from Gush Etzion.


  • Although the “archav” of Shalom Ahchav is wrinkled and old enough to be retired, I still think it’s urgent to fight for compromise on this second front, Israel. Why? Because the Zionist project is not an anachronism contrary to multiculturalism , I came with my JCall friends to express that the two states solution appears as the only reasonable option in our time of clash of cultures.

Jews have chosen to form a majority and to govern themselves somewhere on the earth. They decided to gather somewhere but not anywhere: in Israel. They have decided not to be at the mercy of other peoples. Why now do they take the risk of undermining this project by becoming a minority in their own country? They don’t trust their divided partner and nobody can blame them for that, nobody can blame them either for their lack of trust, after the retreat from southern Lebanon and the departure from the Gaza strip yet their real concern isn’t their enemy, it’s extremism. Unconfessed and paralysing fear of Israeli war even on a small scale. So the different Israeli governments stick to the status quo, build new houses in the West Bank, do everything in their power to keep the settlers happy and radicalize their claims to make sure there will be  no compromise. But instead of tranquility, they have to deal with murderous madness and rage of revenge, the contagion of barbaric behaviour, the racist generalization dictated by anger. That’s why I feel it’s my duty “po ve achchav “ to warn Israel against the destruction of Zionism by its very zealots.

And as worried by the current situation as I can be, I’m not desperate enough to think that time has come, for Palestinian and Israeli leaders to pray for peace, even with the Pope. They don’t transfer the burden of peace on the shoulders of the Lord. In this instance, we are entitled to ask them to make an earthly negotiated separation from him.


Shalev, Chemi, et al. (2014), ‘The conflict and peace- Views from the Diaspora’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


Earthquake in the US. Turbulent time for European Jewry with antisemitism. If things don’t change danger of existence of European Jewry.

Wexler, Robert

Ben-Ami, Jeremy: his father was on the Alta Lena.

Beinart, Peter, represents the enfant terrible of US Jewry.

Nizenstein, Flamma


Q:Two events received a lot of exposure: horrific killing and beating of his cousin. Real sense of shock even among established Jewry. Where is all of this going? Are we heading to a schism between those who become disaffected or alienated and staunch supporters?

Beinart acknowledges bomb sheltered Israeli. The division is indeed deepening. American Jews were around their communities. Now secular or very orthodox Jews. Unprecedented growing number of unaffiliated Jews. What anchored the consensus was that Jews needed a state as refuge. Jews facing prosecution needed somewhere to go. No young American has seen Jewish refugees and thus wonders why there would be a Jewish state at all. The era of Zionist consensus is decreasing. Some argue for some kind of binational state should be achieved. Incidents like the recent ones only deepen the gap.


In the 70s, Israel was the unifying code for US Jews. Now, some rabbis don’t dare speak about Israel and even at dinner table. Is it such a divisive factor? Answer from Drexler, no! But the degree of unanimous view is exaggerated just as well as the division today. The vast majority believes deeply in the bond with Israel and the 2 state solution. Everyone refers to Israel as the Jewish state in the US contrary to Europe. At a time of rocket fires, we should refrain from generalisation as Beinart indicates. The basis of the bond is on shared values and interest. When some Americans question the policies of particular head of government, the leap to quick conclusion of a growing divide is erroneous.

US presidents and Israeli prime Ministers have always had disagreement. Obama would never do what Bush menaced to do in withdrawing funds.


Ben-Ami‘s feelings about joining conference of presidents and March 88 statement of Shamir: Jews abroad have a moral duty to support the State of Israel  (DRM’s personal note, this is the first time I questioned myself regarding Israel, then there was the banning of an Arab-Israeli in a Tel-Aviv neighbourhood and finally my uncle’s murder). It’s hard to argue that there isn’t a division of opinion amongst US Jews. Within the US Jewish community consensus and argument. That’s in our Jewish nature. We are in a different world in 21st century. Ultranationalist right wing for personal occupation and you fighting them. Profound fight about who we are as a people. This argument is simply being echoed among the other 6 million Jews, half the total of us in the diaspora.

Jewish community is liberal, progressive non-orthodox worshipping only the values on which it was raised. The right wing in this country has relationships with the one in US. We need to forge similar bonds. The future of Jewish people is at stake.


Fiamma: I cannot participate in the US discussion. Having been in the Italian parliament when politics of Italy was close to Palestinian issue. Member of council of Europe. What I felt beyond the division was that European Jewry suffered from demonization and criticism. The problem of antisemitism is about demonizing Israel. Deligitimization of European Jews. Impossible amount of criticism to stand. IDF is seen as an army that commits crimes and harms children. You must be very careful because your criticism can end up as an accusation of ethnic cleansing and apartheid.

Do you think we can aswer to this very legitimate criticism?

 Israelophobia. Europe was born on the ashes of WW2 against nation-states, ethnic identities. So beyond traditional antisemitism, in European culture are the seeds of the rejection of Israel as a nation state. A little State in the middle of an ocean of Arab States having identity as the main point. Difficult to swallow from European point of view. Our legitimate discussions have to be brought upon so as not to nourish antisemitism.


People use Beinaert use his writing as arguments of deligitimization of the existence of Israel.

Answer, nothing I’ll ever write is as bad as Tanach. Yet, this is what we stood for over centuries. Hateful and unfair criticism against Israel, especially in Europe, yet, its legitimacy is in its democratic and moral character. If you violate that, you deligitimize israel more profoundly and it makes the job of our ennemies easier. If we take pride to our fight for human rights in the 60s, we have to send our children here to support Israel. This will have profound implication of how we see ourselves as Jews across the world.


Drexler: it’s clear that Israel needs to remain a democratic state. To do so, it needs a border which it doesn’t have. To answer only one side of the equation isn’t a legitimate discussion. We need the other part. The Two -state solution has been offered times and again and refused. This isn’t what the debate revolves around. Point is that even in the 50s and 60s America didn’t send arms to Israel the way it does now. Congress reflects the views of US people. There is no other issue other than Israel upon which Democrats and Republicans agree.


Ben-Ami: how our JStreet views are accepted by the public and rejected by institutional Jewry? From our point of view, organisations have to close their doors to dissenters for fear that their funding be in danger. Tradition of preserving the worlds of both sides of the argument, of Hillel and Chamai. Institutional bias to a broad and open debate. Refusal to hear us is a disservice to the future of Jewry.


The best antidote for ideas that you don’t like is OTHER ideas.  Why not having an open discussion? JStreet fights against BDS but we include these discussions within ourselves.


How endangered European Jewry is? Do you think it will exist in 10 years from now?

Fiamma: in some places like France or Spain life might be difficult but Jews have been in Europe since 70 BC. We defend democratic institutions in Israel. President Peres mentioned twice Saudi Arabia’s Initiative. Abu Mazen thinks that in the middle of Sunni craziness and Chiite’s attacks, Israel is still a safe heaven. Peace must be seen from another perspective. Having a security worry is more than legitimate after what we saw Gaza.


We can’t end this before saying something about AIPAC? Is it only an arm of the Israeli Government?


Drexler: despite the debate, the American Jewry is the best element in support of two-state solution. Both AIPAC and JStreet attract the degree of support they do. AIPAC’s undeniable achievement is that it has educated members of congress to support Israel. Both organisation must and can exist.


Jeremy: AIPAC has achieved remarkable support of Israel. Its impact would be immense if it were to support a two-state solution. What’s vital for our country is to convince Congress that the two state solution is the answer. By not doing so, AIPAC created the vacuum in which JStreet was created.


Fiamma: The two-state solution isn’t a messianic promise. I’d like it to be that easy but the Palestinians have on their fatah website hatred messages. In Italy in May, football game beween Rome and Napoli. Rome has fascist supporters who shot a young boy. The Italian abducted the brutal people. But we didn’t identify with him, just caught him and put him in prison.


DREXLER: Obama was elected and reelected by same numbers of Jews on the idea of a consensus.


Politics and Compromise

Gal-On, Zahava (2014), ‘The peace we never made’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


Those who instigate war wants to reoccupy Gaza and annex the territories should instead consider peace seriously.

I’d like to extend my blessings to Haaretz for initiating this conference. No further bloodshed is necessary to acknowledge that today is better than never. Terrible crimes aroused many anxieties. Innocent citizens are paying the price. These horrors are the result of the conflict of incitement. The Prime Minister called for blood revenge after the murder of the three Israeli teenagers. The PM mustn’t condemn but prevent. Bennett said after these murders called the Palestinians a nation of murderers. Who can express afterwards any surprise that youth march in the streets calling for the death of all Arabs.

Lapid has been sitting in a government that for 9 months has demonstrated its lack of willingness to negotiate.

I confess that I have no expectation from this government but I still hope it stops this bloodshed. We refuse to hear death to the Arabs. These are mere products of an education system that has failed and coyed their basic instincts.

We are not ashamed to say out loud that we call for values on which Israel should be based.

This Government is limited after all.

Shame that we haven’t learnt the lesson of our 6 wars.

To conclude, we have experienced so many wars to show that we have the courage to fight but now we have to find the courage to compromise. We have to understand that we, the left, have the responsibility of pursuing to fight for our right to mold our country and make our voice heard for the sake of our future.

We are the land of patience and tolerance.

Herzog (2014)paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


It’s not crazy at all to have a conference on such a day. We have to create hope. I look at the map. Good guys and bad guys who send missiles. A kibboutz near Gaza was hit by rockets.

How to preserve Israeli citizens in such a state of lack of clarity?

There is a partner for peace, not an easy one, but he is one. We have to understand and once again resort to the two-State solution. There’s a huge camp, a lot of anxieties, concerns and lack of trust. High time to present an alternative. 67 borders, security of Israel. The biggest strategic threat to Israel is the future of state as a democratic Jewish state. Forces of evil and darkness which are Jewish voices have to meet us as an entity for generations to come and learn to respect

Zero tolerance to racism, sectarism, missiles, threat to our security.

Netanyahu could have exploited his window of stability and opportunity. He didn’t. We need a coalition with Lapid and Livni. We have to serve that vision of peace. Join me, let’s undertake a huge central block and provide an alternative.  Time is high to take a legitimate decision, courage, no delusion. No trust between Netanyahu and Abu Mazen. I’m sure I can provide this alternative


Diplomatic considerations

Ravid, Barak, Erekat, Saeb, and Tzipi, Livni (2014), ‘The diplomatic angle: How can we get closer to peace?’ paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


I missed most of this certainly interesting session. Looking for David’s notes or whoever took some!

Ravid:I’d love to put in prison the kids who insult Arabs on FB…but some ministers also are writing horrible things. People who are incenting the population here are the same as those in Gaza feeding hatred.

how many words make a headline in Haaretz and how many words are necessary to incense haters?

We need to address the two sides of the equation and go beyond let’s beat them all up.

In Gaza lies our concern. It’s our duty to provide security to all citizens of this country. All the discussions in the cabinet are really measured and matter of fact. Outcome is our very measure.


USA and Israel


Gordon, Philip (2014), ‘Special assistant to the US. Message from President Obama.’ paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.


I’m pleased to see such a big turnout for such a big issue Peace talks have been suspended and killings of the past few weeks make it seem that we have the wrong agenda.

Peace talks in fact have resumed to ask what we could do better. Our inability means more insecurity, more grief, and the sight of grieving families reminds us that the cost of this conflict remains unbearably high.

US strongly condemns attacks against innocent Israeli civilians. We support Israel to take all measures.


Conveys Obama’s condolences. Killings and abductions. The families reacted very decently on both sides. We applaud as you do these words and the fact these families reached across each other.


There has clearly been too much recriminations and racism on both sides, we welcome Netanyahu’s comments

This is a moment for leaders to call for reason and calm. I acknowledge that Israel faces threats on several front and give President Obama’s assurance of ever greater support and cooperation with Israel. No one can question America’s unshakable commitment to Israel security. It will not waver.

Top of that list is ensuring Iran doesn’t get the nuclear weapon. Anything else than peaceful use of nuclear power will not be tolerated. We are also working on reducing the ability or a brutal dictator to threaten its own people and its neighbours including Israel. Syria remains an immense danger at an enormous scale.

Supporters of Islamic states are a major concern to us and we are surveying it. The President has made clear that partnerships with local Iraqis taking the lead is of essence.


These are some of the regional challenges. How do they affect peace? Should the Palestinian issue be put to the side when there are so many challenges for Israel to meet? The answer is no. Peace is just, necessary and possible. We’ve not hidden our disappointment of the failure of the recent talk but we are not playing the blaming game. The US didn’t invest so much effort relentlessly in vain but instead because all other alternatives are worse.


True safety can only come from mutual trust. We know that the withdrawal from Gaza created fear but we are determined that this never happens again. Israel’s security in a two state context. General Allen is the best person to address this concern.

The world is misinformed and misled. Approaches being discussed will ensure one of the most secure borders from conventional and unconventional threats. Technology cannot bring peace but can certainly contribute to enforcing it.


President Abbas made in Arabic in Saudi Arabia a speech advocating for peace, so we have a belief that this solution will bring to Palestinians the dignity they deserve in their own State. Israel confronts a reality: it cannot contain security in a neighbouring country. We know all too well the problems that arise in a status quo.


Settlement announcements will be counter-productive. Ehud Barak warned us of a tsunami in New York, we are starting to see it. US will do all it can to fight boycotts. These are not threats, US will always have Israel’s back. But as its closest friend, how will it remain democratic and Jewish if it controls for millions of people in the West Bank. The growing turbulence elsewhere is no reason to downgrade the urgency to reach a two-State solution, rather the opposite. That’s why Kerry encouraged the Arab league to revive the API. A so called one-state solution is unplausible. It’s wrong, illegal and the US will never support it. Only a negotiated two-state solution can be the answer. A lasting peace will involve two states for two people, Israel the state of Jewish people, a viable Palestine. Permanent borders along 67 lines including land swaps. Our deep commitment has not waned but it’s not our commitment that will make peace but you and your Palestinian neighbours.



These same questions lead us. time is becoming short to make peace. Mr. Gordon chose to be the last speaker and I don’t remember a conference that remained so full 11 hours after it started. Let’s hope that  won’t need another such conference, but if we don’t have peace, we will consider.


BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES (Please revisit as I will add my notes from the Special Magazine Haaretz issued on this occasion which includes contribution from Barack Obama, Mahmoud Abbas, David Grossman, Tzipi Livni, Prince Turki Al Faisa, Saeb Erekat, Abraham Burg and Margaret Atwood among many, many others):

Abbas, Mahmud (2014), ‘Pre-recorded Conversation’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
al-Masri, Munib (2014), ‘Peace through Palestinian eyes’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Avriel, Eytan, et al. (2014), ‘The Economic Angle: What will the economy gain from an agreement-and what will it lose without one?’ paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Barak, Ehud and Benn, Aluf (2014), ‘Interview of Ehud Barak’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Basharat, Uda (2014)paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Bennet, Naftali (2014), ‘Peace in the era of realism’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Bitton, Michael (2014), ‘Peace and the periphery’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Bromberg, Gideon (2014), ‘Peace and the water issue’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Dayan, Danny (2014), ‘Making peace and breaking peace’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Finkielkraut, Alain (2014), ‘The Conflict and Antisemitism’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Gal-On, Zahava (2014), ‘The peace we never made’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Gordon, Philip (2014), ‘Special assistant to the US. Message from President OBAMA.’ paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Grossman, David (2014), ‘On despair and hope’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Haas, Amina (2014), ‘Opinion Statement’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Harel, Amos, Diskin, Yuval, and AMIDROS, Yaakov (2014), ‘Peace and Security- Conflicting aims?’ paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Hecht, Ravit, et al. (2014), ‘Democracy and human rights: between conflict and peace’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Herzog (2014)paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Levi, Gideon (2014), ‘Opinion Statement’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Mingav, Uri (2014), ‘Opinion Statement’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Peres, Shimon and Shavit, Ari (2014), ‘Interview’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Peretz, Sami and Yacimoich, Shelly (2014), ‘What is the connection between social justice and peace?’ paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Ravid, Barak, Erekat, Saeb, and Tzipi, Livni (2014), ‘The diplomatic angle: How can we get closer to peace?’ paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Schocken, Amos, Eldar, Akiva, and Huddai, Ron (2014), ‘Opening Session’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Shalev, Chemi, et al. (2014), ‘The conflict and peace- Views from the Diaspora’, paper given at Israel Conference on Peace, David Intercontinental, 8 July 2014.
Zmora, Nohar and Handelzalts, Michael (eds.) (2014), Special Magazine for the Israel Conference on Peace (Tel-Aviv: Haaretz ).













































2 thoughts on “Can there be any light in this darkness? Account of a mistimed conference

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