Editor’s note: Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun: A Quarterly Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, chair of the interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue in Berkeley, California. He welcomes feedback: email@example.com
(CNN) — Israel’s security can only be assured when its neighbors believe that it is no longer oppressing the Palestinian people but instead living in peace and harmony with them.
The de facto strategy of past and present Israeli governments of seeking security through domination and by pushing Palestinians out of their homes, or allowing right-wing religious fanatics to create settlements throughout the West Bank to ensure that no Palestinian state could have contiguous parts, has not and cannot work to provide safety for Israel.
Israel’s fate and its well-being are intrinsically linked to the well-being of the Palestinian people. It’s time for the powerful to show generosity to the relatively powerless.
So those in the U.S. and Israel who want Israel to be secure should welcome the Palestinian Authority’s decision to seek observer status as a nonmember state in the United Nations. The authority has agreed to return to negotiations with Israel without conditions once that status has been granted. The goal is creation of a state living in peace with Israel in borders roughly approximating those of the before than 1967 war, with minor border changes mutually agreeable through negotiations.
Why Hamas? Because Hamas’ strategy is to keep their area so powerless that the Palestinian people will turn away from support for the secular and peace-oriented and nonviolence-committed Palestinian Authority. So the last thing Hamas wants is for the Palestinian Authority to win popular esteem by being seen as having “delivered” a real tangible accomplishment to the Palestinian people in the form of statehood.
Why Israel? Because the Likud-Beiteinu dominated government does not want a Palestinian state to emerge that would limit the ability of the Israeli settlers to expand their hold on much of the West Bank. So while they sometimes talk about a two-state solution, they have in mind a tiny state that would not be economically or politically viable.
Why the U.S.? The Obama administration gave a green light to Israel’s attack on Gaza, refused to support calls for an immediate cease-fire and has now joined Israel in opposition to upping Palestinian status at the U.N.
The most charitable explanation is the Obama team believes the Netanyahu government will never negotiate a reasonable deal with the Palestinians and so has turned its attention to trying to gaining leverage with Israel to stop it from dragging the U.S. into a war with Iran. And for that, it’s willing to ditch the Palestinian Authority, even though it certainly knows that the authority might soon collapse unless it can deliver something real for its people.
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Read the entire article on the CNN website.