Pressing Forward With The People’s Voice
Former PLO cabinet minister Sari Nusseibeh, and former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon, have forwarded a peace plan that they call The People’s Voice. It is very good. Are there things I would quibble with? Yes, of course. But they are not sufficient such that I would have any hesitation in voting for it, were it up to me. Indeed, I would say they are not sufficient so as to justify anyone who calls themselves “pro-peace” to vote against it.
The problem with The People’s Voice is that neither the Israeli nor Palestinian governments are in any position to support it. So, Mr. Nusseibeh says, forget them. Take it straight to the people: a popular referendum by the Israelis and Palestinians wherein both sides agree that they will adopt the plan if the other also accedes to it.
It’s a daring proposal. If it fails — if both sides reject it, or, perhaps worse, if one side rejects it and the other does not, it will hobble the peace process for generations, destroying the credibility of the rejectionist party. In a climate where both sides have been heavily radicalized, it is a dangerous gamble. I’m not sure it is a bet I’m willing to make.
But Nusseibeh and Ayalon have the right idea, and it’s one worth drumming up support for. If it can generate some actual, grassroots support (and it has some already — 500,000 signatures thus far, 200,000 of them Palestinian) and buzz, maybe it will see the light of day without an all or nothing throw of the dice.
And maybe, just maybe, we’ll then see a day where Israel and Palestine live side by side in peace.