Paying the price for peace

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An exceptional post by Lilac Sigan “To bad it doesn’t pay to be a nice guy” suggests that Israel may be better off in the long term with its relations with Turkey by demanding a quid-pro-quo (The Turks are demanding reparations and an official apology from Israel for boarding the now infamous Gaza flotilla boat – the Marmara).

There is a larger issue that Israel has with foreign policy and that is constantly being defensive.    I believe that the root cause of Israel’s perennial problems with public relations is the “need to be loved and be thought a nice guy by the rest of the world”.  This in itself, is rooted in 2,000 years of being a minority in the Diaspora, having to keep a low profile in order to stay alive.

An interesting corollary that may be derived from the post is the notion of the price to be paid for peace and who pays the price. Conventional wisdom is that the Americans and the Israelis need to pay the Arabs for peace.   The fact that this wisdom has no basis in reality or history is immaterial.  But – the same conventional wisdom states that Israel is the key to peace in the Middle East. If so, then it follows that the question should be not how much Israelis should pay but how much the Arab and Palestinian nations should pay Israel for peace.

Just like being assertive is important on a personal and business level, the world will think better of Israel when Israels leaders stop being defensive and attempting at being the perennial “nice guy”.

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