Newsletter

Receive HTML?

Peace Roadmap

Selling a Vision of Hope: A Refreshing Alternative to Armageddon

Look inside Nissim Dahan's book Selling a Vision of Hope with Google Books.

In the News
Palestinian sister-city proposal stirs rancor in Colorado

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2013 file photo, a Palestinian walks through snow on his way home in the West Bank city of Nablus. The Boulder, Colo., City Council was scheduled to vote Tuesday, April 19, 2016, on a formal sister-city relationship with Nablus on the West Bank. But proponents instead asked the city to name a mediator to work with them and opponents, saying they were surprised by the resistance they encountered despite their efforts to win over their critics. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh, File)
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) ? This peaceful university town is 7,000 miles from the violence of the Middle East, but a proposal to become sister cities with a Palestinian community has stirred such rancor that the City Council is trying to negotiate a truce among its own residents.

Listen to an interview with Nissim Dahan on the Tom Marr Show.

What Do You Think
Should US take preemptive military action against Iran to destroy its nuclear facilities?
 
Who's Online
We have 2 guests online
Show Support
Share the Vision
Vision of Hope
Category >> Hamas
file under: self-interestSaudi Arabiapeace in the Middle EastIranHamas 12 Oct 2011 5:08 PM
Two Hints That Peace May Be Possible Posted by Nissim Dahan
 

In this increasingly hostile world of ours, it is only natural to search for even the slightest hint that peace may be possible. As I watched the news last night, two such hints came into sharp focus right before my eyes. The first is Iran's recent attempt to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. And the second is the imminent, God willing, release by Hamas of Gilad Shalit, a captive Israeli soldier, in exchange for the release of approximately 1000 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.

 

You may well ask: Why do these seemingly two unrelated news items point to the possibility of peace?

 

Iran's assassination attempt underscores the threat that the current regime poses to the Sunni Arab world, and for that matter, to the world at large. It is seemingly inconceivable, in light of the threats that confront Iran's leadership, that they would even attempt such a bold and brazen attack, against a Saudi diplomat, on U.S. soil no less. Who in their right mind would do such a thing? And yet, as the last few years clearly demonstrate, Iran's leaders have not hesitated to finance and carry out terrorist attacks of all shapes and sizes, including the bombing of a Jewish synagogue in Argentina, with over 100 killed, as well as the murder of over 100 dissidents throughout Europe.

 

And as we all know, Iran makes no secret of her desire to develop nuclear weapons, and to use that umbrella, and her proxies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, to wield an even greater influence throughout the entire region. There is no doubt that at least some of Iran's leaders wish to remake the Middle East in their image. Even if it turns out that this plot was perpetrated by a rogue faction, still: Would you want a rogue faction to have its finger on a nuclear trigger? Is that a risk we can afford to take?

 

It would be natural, therefore, for Saudi officials to be quite worried about Iranian intentions, especially considering the historical enmity between Shiites and Sunnis, the acts of terrorism sponsored by Iran, the attempt to become a nuclear power, and the recent attempted assassination of the Saudi Ambassador. Taken as a whole, the assassination attempt is just further confirmation of Iran's intent to take charge, and of her willingness to use extra-ordinary means to do so.

 

So why does this point to the possibility of peace? Because as Saudi looks around, and searches for a way to keep Iranian designs in check, she may have no choice but to look to Israel and the U.S., because only they have the wherewithal to accomplish such a mission, and the self-interest to do so. And therefore, a strategic alliance between Saudi, the Sunni Arabs, Israel and the U.S. may soon be in the offing. And what will be the price for such an arrangement? That is easy enough to fathom; assistance in closing the deal on peace between Israel and Palestine, and leveraging that into an overall understanding between Israel and the Arab world.

 

The second hint that peace may be in the offing is Hamas' apparent willingness to release Gilad Shalit in exchange for Israel's release of over 1000 Palestinian prisoners, 300 of whom are serving life sentences. Why does this prisoner swap bode well for peace, you may well ask. And the answer is quite simple. Because it shows, in a rather perverse way, that Israel and Hamas can cut a deal, even though both are sworn to each other's destruction, and have vowed never to negotiate with one another. Still, somehow, a deal was cut, and if that deal could be cut, it follows that other deals could be cut as well.

 

Ask yourself a simple question: Why did Hamas cut this deal? Because it wants to look good in the eyes of the people, and bringing home 1000 Palestinian prisoners looks good. Well, what if the people begin demanding jobs and a greater measure of freedom, which they are? What then? Is it just possible that if Hamas needs to deliver on jobs and freedom, that it too will look to Israel and the U.S. to help in this regard, because in reality, they are best able to do so? And if that is the case, what will be the price that Hamas has to pay? Well, that too is easy to fathom...peace! Nothing more, and nothing less. 

 

     So in the end, when push comes to shove, peace may be possible, not because people love one another, God forbid, or because they want a better world for their children, or because they believe in the sanctity of life. No, none of that crap. Peace may come one day because as we face some very common existential threats, we may finally come to realize that we actually need one another, for a change, to stave off these threats, and to save our very own necks.

 

 

file under: vision of hopeTurkeySyrian SpringMiddle East PeaceHamasArab Spring 11 Aug 2011 3:58 PM
Are Turkey and Israel Kissing Cousins Again? Posted by Nissim Dahan
 

 

Relations between Turkey and Israel have been strained to the breaking point, ever since nine Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara tried to run Israel's naval blockade of Gaza, and were killed by Israeli naval commandos in May of last year. In the years preceding this incident, relations between the two countries were relatively good, including strategic cooperation, tourism, economic cooperation, and the like. But since the Mavi Marmara affair, any attempt at rapprochement by Israel was met with; "apologize first," by Prime Minister Erdogan.

 

In light of this recent and contentious history, rumors that Turkey may be willing to help mediate the prisoner exchange by which IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, now being held by Hamas militants, would be released, seemed too good to be true. Why, in the face of such strong positions taken by Turkey, would Prime Minister Erdogan even consider helping Israel secure the release of her soldier, Gilad Shalit?

 

The answer may well be the "Arab Spring," or more specifically the "Syrian Spring." The turmoil in the Arab world is plain to see, and is most vividly brought home by the relentless killing of demonstrators in both Libya and Syria. Particularly in Syria, the killing spree by the government seems to know no bounds, and is affecting Turkey directly by the swell of refugees crossing over the border.

 

There is little doubt that Turkish attitudes have changed, as the current harsh realities of the Arab street are factored in. And in fact, as Turkey searches for some measure of stability in the region, is it a wonder that she may look to Israeli in that regard? The ups and downs of Israeli/Turkish relations may well pale by comparison, as compared to the existential threats posed by the "Syrian Spring," with its widespread and far reaching implications for the region as a whole. In short, a strategic partnership with Israel may be a bitter pill to swallow, but may also be the right medicine at the right time.

 

Rumors have it that we will soon see: the appointment of new ambassadors to Tel Aviv and Ankara, a renewal of a strategic partnership between the two countries, an Israeli apology for last year's flotilla fiasco, and official confirmation of the Turkish mediation efforts in the Shalit affair. Much of the progress in this regard has been fostered and encouraged by President Obama and his administration, which is trying to bridge the divide between Washington and Ankara, and which sees a rapprochement between Israel and Turkey as indispensable in this regard.

 

If it is true that the "Syrian Spring" has played a significant role in bringing Turkey and Israel closer together, then this has widespread implications for the region as a whole. There is no doubt that the history of the Middle East is replete with enmity between Israel and much of the Arab world. Rightly or wrongly, and I believe wrongly, Israel and the U.S. have been blamed for much that has gone wrong in that troubled region.

 

However, the "Arab Spring" may have ushered in a new day, a turning point of sorts. Whereas in the past, Israel and the U.S. have served as convenient scapegoats, as a way of diverting attention away from the inadequacy of corrupt and oppressive leadership, today, in light of new realities on the Arab street, Israel and the U.S. may better serve as friends in need, as  partners who may be of help in averting existential threats, and helping to usher in a new age in the Middle East, based on a Vision of Hope for the region, a vision of Peace, Prosperity and Freedom.

 

It would be quite ironic indeed if all this came to pass, but no less ironic than some of the other craziness that takes place on a daily basis in this mysterious place we call the Middle East.

file under: PalestineMiddle East PeaceIsraelHamasFatahArab Spring 15 May 2011 5:39 PM
Palestine: How Will She Come Into Being? Posted by Nissim Dahan
The recent agreement in April between Fatah and Hamas has paved the way for Palestinians to act unilaterally, this coming September, to ask the U.N. to declare a Palestinian State on the basis of the 1967 borders. By some estimates, Palestinians will receive 140 votes in favor, when only 128 votes will be needed. The only real question that remains is: Will a Palestinian State come into being unilaterally, or as a result of a last minute negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine?

 

A non-negotiated Palestinian State will pose problems for both Palestinians and Israelis. On the Palestinian side, a state may well be recognized by the international community, but if Israeli settlements remain in place in the West Bank, and if there is an Israeli military presence there, then Palestine will be a state in name only, with no reality or sovereignty to back it up. Palestinians would probably expect that the international community would pressure Israel to dismantle the settlements and to withdraw to the 1967 borders, but such pressure could take years to bring results. In the interim, political tensions between Fatah and Hamas could resurface, as they have in the past, and if a civil war breaks out, then the international community may become far less willing to pressure Israel to comply with U.N. demands.

 

A non-negotiated Palestinian State would be a problem for Israel as well. The U.N. could declare the new state, based on the 1967 borders, without resolving such contentious issues as the status of Jerusalem, the settlement blocks around Jerusalem, the rights of the refugees, and the decision as to whether Palestine will be militarized. Under such circumstances, Israel would be faced with the reality of a Palestinian State, without having resolved any of the vital issues which have divided the parties for so many years. In addition, if Israel maintains the settlements and her military presence in the West Bank, then she will likely be subject to a growing campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions by the international community, in an effort to delegitimize her, and to pressure her to relent to U.N. demands.

 

To a certain extent, the Israel/Palestine issue is a microcosm of the Middle East as a whole. The issues which divide these two people may be unique to this particular conflict, but the ideological barriers that keep these two apart are the same kind of barriers which have kept the Middle East trapped in the past, and which have prevented the Middle East from moving forward. The impasse over borders, Jerusalem, settlements, and refugees is deep-seated, not because an equitable solution can't be found, but because the strength of ideological conviction prevents the parties from making the necessary concession to broker a peace. Is it possible, based on current realities on the ground, including the Arab Spring, that ideological intransigence will finally give way to the need to come together, in Israel and Palestine, and throughout the greater Middle East as a whole?

 

The Middle East, after years of oppressive rule, corruption, and stagnation, is being asked, by the man on the street, to dismantle the old model, in favor of a Vision of Hope, a vision of Peace, Prosperity and Freedom. A transition of this sort is a better pill to swallow for those in power who are used to getting their way. In a similar vein, Palestinians and Israelis are being called upon to weaken the hold, to a certain extent, of ideological conviction, and to embrace the possibility that today is a new day, and that the past may no longer be a harbinger of things to come. Today hints of the possibility of fundamental change, of reaching the next stage of human development, and of becoming more than we ever dreamed possible.