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On April 7, IPCRI's co-director Mr. Dan Goldenblatt spoke for Al Jazeera about the current crisis in the Middle East peace talks.
What has changed in Israel since the 1990s?
Dan Goldenblatt: Public opinion in Israel has veered to the right. Support for the center and center-right has increased. The country has become more religious. People still talk about exploding buses in Israel, even though, thankfully, the suicide bombers have not come since the second intifada. That had a very strong impact on the Israeli psyche. That continues to be fed by Israeli politicians to feed into this existential fear that Israelis have. This constant everlasting security threat — Israeli politicians say repeatedly that we can only count on ourselves. It is one the public listens to. Israel needs the international community. It needs the American government’s support.
Do Israelis take U.S. support for granted?
To a certain extent. Had the American administration put its foot down, it could have gotten Israel to do what it wants. We know Netanyahu has very strong ties on Capitol Hill. He probably even tried to influence, unsuccessfully, the last election. There is a feeling that we can trust Americans to not go the whole nine yards and pressure Israel. We know that from past experience.
What is Israel-Palestine: Creative Regional Initiatives?
We are a 25-year-old organization. It started as an Israeli-Palestinian think tank involved in track-two negotiations. We brought thousands of Israelis and Palestinians together. In the past two years, our mission has changed a little bit. We still support a peaceful resolution to the conflict. We no longer believe it can be done through a separation paradigm. We believe the solution must include two sovereignties and yet complete freedom of movement throughout. Important Jewish sites are in West Bank, and 100 percent of Palestinian refugees come from Israel proper. We are also focused on strengthening the Palestinian private sector. We take Israelis to Palestinian cities to show them real people living their lives. We call it breaking down the walls.