Walid Salem states that in Palestine, separation between freedom and democracy was witnessed during the peace process, in two, contradictory experiences: the first occurred during 1996-2000, with the implementation of a strategy to obtain more freedom to the Palestinians was practiced within the Oslo peace process, yet this process was practiced without democratization. In the second experience (2000-2006), the Palestinians were asked to promote democracy as a precondition to obtain more freedom from Israel. According to Salem, now is the time to build a process of democratization – freedom for the Palestinians without separation. Moreover, he states there are two ways to reach this objective: negotiations resulting in two states solutions, or two, unilateral Israeli and Palestinian tracks, leading in the same direction.
By Giandomenico Picco (for Safe Democracy)
Giandomenico Picco thinks that the concept of indirect democracy established during the French and the US revolutions is –in many ways– in crisis. The question today is that if the change in the means of communications amongst individuals and the methods of accessing knowledge and information is in fact leading towards a new form of democracy. Mr. Picco believes that electing our representatives is not enough, and the voice through NGOs, media, internet and other forms of social interactions have to count. We will not likely move from the model of indirect to direct democracy in one generation but the knocks on the door will become louder and louder.
George Soros challenges the concept of war on terror and says that it has been a tragic misconception: it has not prevented terrorist attacks around the world yet it has diverted the American attention from other vital tasks. He adds that it has damaged the American dominant position in the world and endangered its open society. Soros thinks that only by forging a new consensus on fighting the terrorists can the US correct these mistakes and regain the pre-eminent position in the world. In order to convince people that the war on terror is the wrong framework, we must formulate a better one. Here he explains how.
Walid Salem says that beyond the panic, and the fear of Hamas success in the Palestinian elections and impact on peace and on the area, the international community has two political options towards Hamas, and also two financial options. First, working for a short term arrangement of conflict management that include Hamas extending the Tahdiya unilaterally (calmness) and second, helping for transformation of Hamas towards recognizing of Israel. Regarding the option of stopping the funding to the Palestinian Authority, Salem says it is problematic: it will lead to collapse mainly to the health and education sectors among other sectors, and this will be not more than a punishment to the Palestinian people, which will lead to more support to Hamas.