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27 / 06 / 2004
Gadi Baltiansky: “citizens are ready for dialogue in the Middle East, but their leaders aren’t»

141 Questions (49): “After a Half Century of Violence, Shouldn’t We Talk?” Today, Israeli Gadi Baltiansky and Palestinians Elias Zananiri and Amneh Badran discussed the challenges and difficulties for peace in the Middle East. Baltiansky and Zananiri both pointed out the opportunity the Geneva Accords offer to take on the conflict with more optimism: “the future is more important than the past.”

More information about 141 questions

Journalist Gadi Baltiansky, former cabinet press chief for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, defended the need for “urgent dialogue between both parties” and added that “citizens are prepared for change, but their leaders aren’t.”

Baltiansky, who reiterated the Jewish people’s right to their own state, something that, according to him, Palestinians deny, said “the future is more important than the past. That’s why we met in Geneva to talk about future perspectives.” He added that “many Israelis think their neighbors are terrorists or support terrorists. The violence began long before 1967, the occupations as well as the PLO terrorism. The important thing, therefore, is that Israelis and Palestinians sit down together and talk, like we did in Geneva.”

Baltiansky presented the Geneva Accords as a good path. “We know what the solution is but we don’t know when it will come.” All problems have a solution, we can’t forget that. The Geneva Accords give us hope.” He also made special mention of Sharon’s efforts in the open process of dismantling illegal settlements in Gaza. “Israel is a democracy and if Sharon doesn’t start down the road to peace we’ll him.”

Amneh Badran, from the Jerusalem Center for Women, insisted that the responsibility is mainly Israel’s, “Israel has occupied Palestine since 1967.Yes, we need dialogue, but on different levels. Those responsible for the occupation are the Israelis, not us.” Journalist Elias Zananiri, representative of the Palestinian office for the Geneva initiative, said “We must stop talking about the past in order to talk about the future. Peace is a challenge for all of us and we need the support of the international community.”