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Israel needs a long-term vision

Jan 12,2019 - Last updated at Jan 12,2019

What Israel lacks more than anything else is a long-term vision for the future. Surely it must have dawned on Israel that after nearly a century of warfare and conflict with its neighbours, including the countries it has signed peace treaties with, it is nowhere close to enjoying the kind of peace, security and stability that its people and their children must have been yearning for all these past years.

Israel has been on a permanent war trajectory with its Arab neighbours since its creation in 1948, and its people have been denied by their successive governments a sense of security and peace of mind ever since. Israelis must know by now that the projection for their future relations with the Arab side is the same, and nothing but the same if not worse, as long as the status quo continues to exist.

Confrontations and conflicts with all its neighbours are getting worse with time, rather than better. For how long can the Israeli "national psyche" withstand the accumulated and compounded pressures building up around the people and still hope for a normal lifestyle that is free of fear and anxiety?

Clearly the Palestinians refuse to let go of their link and attachment to their homeland, even with the passage of decades. The late Israeli prime minister Golda Meir used to question whether there is a Palestinian people, with the hope that the denial of the existence of a people called Palestinians they would simply disappear into thin air and then Israel could get away with having its cake and eating it. But this has not happened and will not happen. Successive Palestinian generations have come and gone, but their unquenchable fervour for their homeland, Palestine, has never wavered. If anything, the Palestinians' love for and attachment to their country remains as strong as ever.

At this rate, both sides will remain locked in a bitter and perpetual historic conflict, with no end in sight. So, what could be the end game for this chronic standoff between two peoples? No matter how strong Israel may be, now or in the future, time remains on the side of the Palestinians. This is the lesson of history since time immemorial. The Palestinians are a patient people and can endure more sacrifices and loses, human or otherwise, than Israel can bear over the next decades, if not centuries.

Unless Israel develops a historic vision for the future, when it can coexist with the Palestinian nation and the other regional countries in peace and reasonable accommodations, it is destined to develop long-term national insecurity and anxiety that its own people would have to endure for generations to come.

Israel would be well advised to develop a historic vision for the future and seize the rare window of opportunity being opened by the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, while it lasts, to nurture a genuine accord of the century, establishing a peaceful and stable coexistence buttressed by international guarantees for generations to come.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians can go on as is for another generation of discord and hostility. Both sides should aim for a win-win solution, with the help of international actors. For that to happen, Israel must make a move and budge from its hardline stance on the Palestinian crisis and accept realities on the ground.

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