Dialogue before all else

May 31, 2021

The Bishop of Oslo, Kari Veiteberg, has called for a boycott of Israel in light of the events taking place in and around the country in relation to the Palestinian territories. It is one of many international celebrations against what has happened in the past month with escalating violence. But how should one proceed in response to this type of geopolitical issue?

It is a counterproductive action from several aspects. Conflict is generally the ultimate effect of the fact that two different interests have not been able to agree. In this case, there are also complex and complicated factors that go back several years in time. Constantly reminding each side of old injustices in an attempt to incite current and future generations against each other is not sustainable. Yes, difficult decisions must be made, but it is for the benefit of future generations who then have a chance for peace.

The bishop’s call comes at the wrong time and is a call to the path of polarization more than to the path of peace. Old bitterness should not drive the process forward, but one must be prepared to start in new terms, as we saw with the Abrahamic agreements, for example. Then it is also important that you choose such a process to address the issues and problems that may exist and try to achieve sustainable and visible results through conversations and compromises. For this to succeed, it requires both realism and the will to compromise on sometimes difficult things. But the alternative, continued conflict, is in this case worse than the compromises that either side may be forced to make on heart issues. But what is important is to maintain the constructive attitude: when others call for more polarization and processes that risk resulting in more violence, we must call for dialogue and sincere, reciprocal meetings. It is also our choice, in all situations. Conversations before violence.