Press Release
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
April 17, 2009 - 12:00am

ATFP senior fellow Hussein Ibish spoke at Towson University on April 16 on the subject of “a third intifada or peace?” Dr. Ibish told the audience that peace was vital to both the Israeli and Palestinian national interests, and that a “third intifada” might be a predictable outcome of the long-term failure of peace talks, but would likely be a disaster for both sides. “In contrast to the largely nonviolent first intifada, the militarized second intifada was a disaster for the Palestinian national movement” he said. He told the audience that the war in Gaza had proved that Israel too could not achieve its national goals through violence. He outlined the needs of all parties – Israel, the Palestinians, the United States and the Arab states – in a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians based on two states. He said no other solution was possible and that no other plans would correspond in any way to the minimal national interests of the parties and that therefore they were all nonstarters. Dr. Ibish acknowledged that there was ample ground for pessimism, most notably the rise of nationalist extremists and rejectionists on both the Palestinian and Israeli political scenes. However, he said, the international and regional scene provided reasons for optimism, and that the foreign policy establishment voices in the United States are increasingly realizing not only the benefits of a peace agreement, but also the costs of not achieving one. He also noted that the Arab states appear to be much more interested in promoting an agreement than they have in the past. He said that making the case for pessimism was easy, but not productive, and that anyone interested in positive change should look for opportunities for progress rather than reasons for inaction.


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