Wanted: Middle East statesmen

My latest from Al Jazeera.

As last week’s trilateral meeting in New York showed, forces outside the control of the offices of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, have pulled these leaders back into the peace camp.

This brought to mind a quote by the Roman statesman Seneca who once wrote: “The fates lead him who will; him who won’t they drag.”

So, what is next for the peace process? One word: Leadership.

The historian J. Rufus Fears once noted that great leaders – from Pericles to Lincoln to Churchill – share four characteristics. They are anchored in principles, guided by a moral compass, posses a vision, and have the ability to build a consensus to achieve their vision.

These are the qualities that distinguish them as statesmen, rather than mere politicians.

If Netanyahu and Abbas are sincere about bringing the century-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict to an end, they must stop being politicians and start being statesmen.

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5 responses to “Wanted: Middle East statesmen

  1. “Political and national myths – such as the right of return and an undivided Jerusalem – will have to be shattered.”

    I didn’t realize the idea of the right of return was a disputed concept within Israel. You call it a national myth. Do many within Israel share that view?

  2. Terry,

    Right of return is not the law of return. Right of return speaks to the right of Palestinians to return to live inside Israel. Law of return grants automatic Israeli citizenship to any Jew. As you can imagine, right of return is a big issue in Israel. If implemented, Israel would no longer be majority Jewish.

  3. I read the Haaretz article ” Should Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish state?
    I like to attempt to answer the question.

    Since no one can tell a state what to name its seslf. Israel can changes its name to the “The Jewish State of Israel” and proceed to sign all of its future agreements with all Arabs and Palestinians as such.

    This should resolve the issue.Yes I am Palestinian who wants peace, but a lasting peace which can only be attained by resolving all outstanding issues.

  4. Thanks Mike for your thoughtful response.

  5. Pingback: Wanted: Middle East statesmen | JewPI

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