Amid the horror (Guardian)

Jonathan Freedland writes in The Guardian on how the Northern Ireland peace process may be useful in application to the situation in Gaza (“Amid the horror and doom of Gaza, the IRA precedent offers hope“). This has quickly generated hundreds of online comments, which unfortunately has digressed into a debate about the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) versus Hamas. Instead, Freeland is making the point about examining what has (apparently) worked elsewhere.

Dialogue and equality of respect are key ingredients. Point is not whether IRA is like Hamas, or Ulster Vanguard to Likud, etc., but the instruction of others’ political peace processes. Here, Jonathan Freedland’s thesis is valid.

A few months ago I attended an academic conference with many representatives from both Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine. What depressed us from NI was the dearth of even the desire of I/P reps to pursue a path of open-ended dialogue. It was all “my way or no way”. Sounded like NI rhetoric 20+ years ago.

Sure, there are valid reasons why this is the case — again, social and economic inequalities are significant contributing factors.

But if I thought the road to Middle East peace was long after the recent academic conference, it looks even longer now!

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