Tuesday, December 27, 2005

He Feels Their Pain

Have you heard? Haaretz tells us that FM: Likud willing to make concessions in talks with PA

The reference of course is to Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, and he is willing to make not just any kind of concessions--
The foreign minister refused to elaborate on what he called "painful concessions" in a potential settlement with the Palesinians, but added, "it is certain that we won't take an extreme route that that says 'no' to every proposal meant to promote peace."
Again with painful concessions. Shades of Sharon!
"I am ready to make painful concessions for a lasting peace but I have not changed and will not change my stance on the question of security," he [Sharon] underlined.
I know it doesn't mean a thing, but if you Google "painful concessions" -- you get about 38,500 hits. Do a search for "painful concessions" and Israel -- you get about 34,100 hits. Do a search for "painful concessions" and Sharon -- you get about 29,200 hits. It's not scientific, but it's clear Sharon has been talking alot about painful concessions, and now Shalom is doing the same.

There is an article on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s discourse of peace that shows that Sharon has been talking like this for over 3 years. Of course, back then we did not know just how painful it would be.
Speaking at the third annual Herzliya conference in December 2002, Sharon spoke of the need to make compromises for peace and welcomed US President Bush’s Middle East speech from June 24 2002, in which he presented a vision of a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel. “I have said it before and will say it again today: Israel is prepared to make painful concessions for a true peace,” Sharon said.
...Sharon was interviewed in Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on April 13th 2003. The Prime Minister expressed his willingness to make efforts to reach peace with the Palestinians, including the potential dismantlement of some settlements. “There will be a parting from places that are connected to the whole course of our history. As a Jew, this agonises me. I feel that the rational necessity to reach a settlement is overcoming my feelings… If we reach a situation of true peace, real peace, peace for generations, we will have to make painful concessions. Not in exchange for promises, but rather in exchange for peace.”
...Sharon reiterated his will to make ‘painful concessions’ for peace at a Likud convention in June 2003. “We will be prepared to make painful concessions, very painful concessions, for real peace and security.”
I don't know the art of negotiation, but I imagine that if I am a Palestinian negotiator, I'm thinking the other side is ready to fold and there is no need to give up a thing.

Maybe Shalom realizes that when he says:
Shalom also said that "it is inappropriate to declare red lines before negotiations begin, because as far as the Palestinians go, negotiations start there."
This may be the most intelligent thing that an Israeli leader has said about negotiating with the Palestinians.

Maybe all we really need to do is take all the Israel politicians on a field trip to the shuk?

Crossposted at Israpundit

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