This is part of a series of blog posts written by the 2014 Peace Scholars as they experience their summer program in Norway. This post was written by Asil Abuassba from St. Olaf College.
In 1994, both Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin won the Nobel Peace Prize because of their contribution to creating peace in Israel/Palestine through the Oslo Accords. The Oslo Accords were considered a breakthrough for bringing peace to the Middle East and were met with great optimism from the international community and also from local communities in Israel/Palestine. However, considering what is going right now in Gaza, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has never been this far from achieving any peace.
Many wonder why the Oslo Accords failed and whether there is ever hope of getting Palestinians and Israelis together. Through my experience this summer as a peace scholar, I have come to understand that peace cannot be established only by the politicians who want it. After Hamas democratically won the elections of 2006, many countries around the world raced to boycott it and denounced the elections. Norway, however, kept relations with Hamas and was harshly criticized for it. According to Norway, dialogue is an important part of any peace process and must be inclusive of all parties in the conflict. After all, the exclusion of Likud parties from the Oslo process is arguably one the reasons that led to its failure. This, in turn, led to violent reactions from Palestinians in response to continued Israeli occupation and repression.
People frequently ask me whether there will be peace in Israel/Palestine. Many countries and peoples have been in conflicts before, so Israel/Palestine is not the exception. A just peace that ensures equality for both sides will prevail, but we must first imagine it in order to achieve it.