- 17 April 2015
Public Program | Background Discussion: "After the Election: What's next for Israel and Palestine?" with Samer Maklouf, Executive Director of OneVoice Palestine and Tal Harris, former Executive Director of OneVoice Israel
On April 17, 2015 Rüdiger Lentz welcomed Samer Maklouf, Executive Director of OneVoice Palestine, and Tal Harris, former Executive Director of OneVoice Israel, at the Aspen Institute Germany for a discussion on the effects of the recent elections in Israel.
Harris called the election results disappointing, since the polls in advance had predicted significant change. Many thought Prime Minister Netanyahu’s time had reached its end, Harris said, but now he was forming a new coalition. His Likud party garnered almost one million votes, 100,000 more than in the 2013 elections. He criticized Netanyahu’s racist comments aimed at Arab voters on election day which helped mobilize Likud voters who had not yet cast their ballots. Still, Harris noted, one has to respect the results and OneVoice would now increasingly focus on targeting Likud voters, who had not yet been reached.
Maklouf described the current times as being sensitive because the outcome of the election had been shocking. Maklouf claimed that the only alternative to the two-state solution would be an eternal war between Israel and its neighbors. He called for more activity from Europe, particularly Germany, to promote the two-state solution. Palestine itself does not have a strategy, he said, noting that they currently were just reacting. Maklouf noted its inhabitants were mostly in favor of the two-state solution, although he mentioned there is a big difference in how Israelis and Palestinians understand the term “two-state solution,“ particularly regarding the future role of Jerusalem. Whereas up to 74% of Palestinians preferred the two-state solution in past polls conducted by OneVoice, the number dropped below 50% in 2015 as people were increasingly hopeless, Maklouf said.
In conclusion, Harris made mention of other bi-national states in the world and their tremendous problems, even in places like Belgium. That is why, he said, he did not consider a one-state solution to be a viable option.