Views of Palestinians give reason for hope in Mideast peace talks


The Christian Science Monitor - August 22, 2013

Dr. Khalil Shikaki is a Crown Center Senior Fellow and Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah.

Steven M. Cohen is a sociologist of American Jews and a Professor at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.  

Secretary of State John Kerry has succeeded in bringing Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations. Now his mission must focus on helping the two sides reach an agreement. Many Israelis and Palestinians and their supporters in the United States and around the world believe the gaps are so wide that an agreement is mission impossible. Instead, they say, the goal should be to manage the conflict. We disagree.

Skeptics among Israelis and their American supporters, with counterparts on the Palestinian side as well, see Palestinians as committed to violent resistance, as seeking to destroy the state of Israel, and as being uniform, unwavering, and unjustified in their seeming hostility to Israel. Israelis have a succinct saying to reflect this perception: “There is no one to talk to and nothing to talk about.” ...