The following remarks were made by ATFP Pres. Ziad J. Asali at aspeech given by Israeli Finance Minister Lapid at a WashingtonInstitute event on October 10 hosted by Robert Satloff:

ZIAD ASALI, American Task Force on Palestine: Mr. Minister, thank you
for your remarks. And I have to tell you that this is the most
interesting speech I have ever heard by a Palestinian or an Israeli to
tackle the substance of the conflict.
SATLOFF: Now I’m worried. [laughter]
ASALI: I’m telling you, this is a serious statement. We have had all
kinds of speeches about final - status and all kinds of relations —
what bothers me has been the exact impossibility of the space in
between: between people who represent Palestine and people who
represent Israel, where every concession is a test of manhood, or lack
thereof; a test of, zero-sum measure of compromise on morals or on
land or on history or identity. I think what you just said is
promising because I feel like there are people in Israel, certainly at
high places, who understand the problem in those terms — that we need
to connect at the human level, and understand that there is a
possibility of compromise, without actually selling out whatever it is
that we’re selling out . I am very intrigued by the formulation of
timing that you put together. We all know that at the present time,
it’s just not possible to put together a package and have people sign
on and then go to everyone and have everybody agrees. It’s just not
possible. It is possible to come up with a formulation that would
unfold over a period of time that would be consistent with the change
that you talked about. The last thing I want to say is this: you are
in a stronger position. You as Israelis and as American Jews vis-à-vis
us as Palestinians or as Palestinian - Americans. There is no question
about it. It makes concessions on our side , consistently , feel to
others like a betrayal or a weakness. It is really a belief that what
you just said is possible; it is possible to make concessions even in
a weak position, if you know that you are ending up with a result that
is achievable , and that’ s equitable, and that’s honorable. I did not
mean a speech, and Rob is already warning me... [laughter]. But
anyway, thank you. And this conversation just needs to continue.
For the full PDF transcript of the event click here
For the full video of the event click here


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