Oliver McTernan attended the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, where he had been invited to moderate a closed meeting on the current state of Israeli-Palestinian relations in a multi conceptual world. Oliver introduced the meeting by outlining the core challenge that impedes progress: the clash of perceptions and ideologies that transcend cultures and national boundaries.
In many ways, the current prospects for a durable resolution to the conflict appear dim. Israeli and Palestinian political factions are now so internally divided, it is difficult to see how either side might reach sufficient consensus to achieve such a deal. The Gulf MENA region remains engulfed in tensions between key states that prevents the development of any sense of sustainable stability in the region within the foreseeable future. Europe is both politically impotent and diplomatically fatigued as a result of failed past initiatives. The wider global community appears to be equally impotent, passively awaiting the unveiling of the greatest ‘known, unknown’ – the Trump administration’s ‘deal of the century’. These are just some of the realities that need to be recognised and addressed in the search for a just and sustainable agreement.
Despite all of these challenges an end to the conflict remains possible, provided there is a change of mindset. The Israeli Palestinian conflict is essentially grievance driven and therefore is not intractable. Political compromises, although difficult, can be achieved . Everyone must work to create the political climate in which such compromise become possible, without either side having to deny their identify or historical narrative.
While in Davos, Oliver took part in several other events, and met with H.E. Timo Soini, Foreign Minister of Finland to briefly discuss the work of the Helsinki Policy Forum.