Question – Thanks for such an inspiring speech. I want to ask a potentially gloomy question. This vision of evolution toward people connecting with each other, getting out of the dynamics of real politics, is so powerful, yet history has examples of the trend going in the opposite direction. One that comes to mind is Bosnia, where people lived with each other for generations. Muslims and Serbs would marry into each other’s families, and it was not a conflict that was ancient and ongoing. All of a sudden, the thing blows up and people are butchering each other. How does that interaction fit into the theory that you’ve set forth? How do we avoid that awful result?

Nusseibeh – Rather than going shooting at each other for 300 years for fear that 300 years later we might start shooting at each other, we might as well try to get an agreement now. Bosnia is an example, you’re quite right. That is why I said one has to look at patterns. What I’m claiming is that, in general, one basic, essential feature to take into account is what I call the participation of the citizen. That is the major element. To the extent that the citizens, the individuals, become true owners of the society in which they live, true partners, to the extent that the principles of freedom and equality are truly in effect, they fully become part of the political order, and the kind of thing that has happened in Bosnia would probably be avoided. The emancipation of the individual is the necessary ingredient.

Ideally, the Palestinian government would stand up and say very clearly to Israelis, these are the terms of a final agreement between us and yourselves with regard to borders, with regard to Jerusalem, with regard to refugees and settlements. But, they have to be very clear, because a lot of Israelis are not sure at the public level what the Palestinian aims are. Non-ambiguity and clarity are very important. If that is done on the part of the formal leadership, I think it would be a great thing. In order to get the formal leadership to do it, very often you need to lead the leadership to do it. That is why sometimes it is necessary for the people to take the lead.

Wiesel – I think this has been a very inspiring talk. We all should stand up and give Sari thanks for his presentation.



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