of the other people thinking and talking at the time, did develop quite a distinct theory from Hobbs and others.

Comment – I don’t think Tagore should be taken as just one who was advocating selfishness. What he described was a symbiotic relationship. Translating his poem, he said, when a bee approaches a flower, the flower doesn’t open up unless the bee is playing on its wings some music, and then the flower opens up. The flower needs the bee because otherwise there is no pollination. On the other hand, the bee needs the flower, but they would also have to have respect for each other. This is the symbiotic relationship. A time may come when the younger generations say enough is enough, we need each other for a peaceful existence, and I think of the flower and bee.

Comment – [inaudible]

Nusseibeh – I think the Israelis will not disagree with the fact that they are on top, although they will probably say they are the victims. We are on top, but we are the victims. That is the paradox we have. It is true that both feel they are the victims, and we Palestinians have to take that into account, even though we are underneath and can see that. We think that the only way to get out of this victimhood situation is by being on top. So you need to create a conversation in which attitudes change, create a vision that will produce and attract both sides, reflecting a symbiotic relationship between the two sides. Although in fact the Israelis and Palestinians are shooting at each other, in the long run, objectively speaking, they have to work it out. It is better for them to work it out, the sooner the better.

Talking about my own experiences, in the political drive in which I was personally engaged in getting people to sign this document, we had more than 170,000 Palestinians from villages, from everywhere, who were for peace with the Israelis. It was unprecedented. I think that, paradoxically, had Arafat still been alive and had there not been the kind of diversion that is now happening in Gaza, one might have been able to go ahead and push for general public support for a two-state solution based on reasonable terms of reference. Today, maybe it is a little more difficult because ordinary people have resigned their will to that of their governments, and they believe the government will do it. That is dangerous, because if the individual feels they have nothing to do with it, it is a major problem.

Wiesel – That surprises me. I think many of us in the Western world thought that this would provide an opportunity, rather than being a positive/negative development for future peace in the region.

Nusseibeh – The Gaza thing now—the Americans are looking at it as something that is happening. As long as something is happening, everybody is happy. But who knows what is happening? Who knows exactly what will happen after six months or a year, or two years. Sharon says this is part of the road map, the Americans say this is part of the road map, so a lot of Israelis have convinced themselves this is part of the road map. But maybe we will find ourselves a half-year from now in a difficult situation once again, unable to move forward. So it looks nice, but it might be diversionary—and not even intentionally diversionary.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement