... [The Oslo peace process] hasn't worked. Whatever your political point of view – Israeli, Palestinian, or other – I think we all agree it didn't work.
But yet there's a reversion to it, most notably in 2013. John Kerry devoted the first few months of his [tenure as] secretary of state to follow this idea once again. And now we have indications that there will be another round. I feel confident in predicting it won't work.
... [W]hat's the alternative? Is there another way to approach it?
... In simple terms, it is to indicate to the Palestinians that this conflict, this war that they have been engaged in for a century, is over. And they lost. And they've got to recognize it. And if they do, and when they do, it will obviously be very beneficial to Israel, which will no longer be attacked and delegitimated. But it will also – strikingly, ironically – be even more beneficial to the Palestinians, who will finally be liberated from this obsession with damaging the neighbor. So, it's good for everyone.
"The alternative ... is to indicate to the Palestinians that this conflict, this war that they have been engaged in for a century, is over."
The process, however, is not that simple, or necessarily pleasant. Understanding that you've lost is a bitter experience. And yet it's a necessary one for there to be movement forward. If all we do is focus on today's issues, we'll never move forward. We have to move forward.
So, my thinking was that I'd like to offer an American president an alternative to the never-ending and never-failing peace process. What happens when one day a president – perhaps the current one, perhaps a future one – says, 'You know, this isn't working. We've been at this 25 or 30 years, whatever it might be. Do you have an alternative?'
At that point, I'm hoping that we would be able to say to him, 'Yes, there is an alternative. It's politically supported, for example by the 20 members so far, and we hope for more, in the House. It is intellectually worked out by specialists – security specialists, Middle East specialists and others. It has support in Israel – look at the Knesset, look at the poll; look at other indications, prominent personalities, figures. So here it is. It's ready. Take it, run with it.'
And what is 'it'? It is saying to the Israelis, 'Negotiations have failed. Try something else. Try to convince the Palestinians that they have lost. How you do it is up to you. Obviously, you have to stay within moral, legal, and practical boundaries. But make your goal to convince them that they've lost. How you do it is your business. But we don't want to be engaged in these endless negotiations, which in effect in the Israelis giving up benefits and the Palestinians taking them and not giving anything in return. That model hasn't worked. Let's try something else.'
Now, as MK Forer pointed out, this is not Left or Right. You can fill in how you think this should happen, according to your own view. It can be – I don't even want to get into specifics. As an American, I'm not coming here to say, 'You should do this.' As an American, I'm coming here to say, one, I hope for your support, so we can be more successful in Washington; and two, I hope you'll start thinking about what step you take, I hope you'll start debating this.
"It's necessary for the Palestinians to accept that this is a Jewish state, just as theirs is a Muslim state."
I think one symbolic way of understanding this is the Jewish state issue. To make a long story short, the Jewish state was assumed, Israel was assumed to be the Jewish state, until about a decade ago, when the Israeli Arabs started talking about an Israel that's not a Jewish state. Suddenly it became clear that it's not enough to recognize Israel, you have to recognize Israel and a Jewish state. That first came out in the Annapolis conference in 2007, and since then it's become very prominent, and I think correctly so.
I think it's necessary for the Palestinians to accept that this is a Jewish state, just as theirs is a Muslim state. ... When that happens, then I think one can make real progress, real negotiations can begin. And real Palestinian construction of a polity, an economy, a society, and a culture can begin. ...