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Ian Joseph

For peace and security, end the Hundred Year War

There will be no peace or security without resolving the hundred year war between the Jews and the Palestinians.
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There is no questioning the fact that the creation of the state of Israel resulted in the displacement of 750,000 Palestinian refugees who were not allowed to return to their homes, as was their right, after hostilities ceased in 1949. The Palestinian refugees and their offspring today number about seven million people all over the world, all officially recognized as refugees.

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The refugees, festering in their refugee camps, with no hope for prosperity, dignity or security, have violently resisted Israel in many forms, the most visible being terrorism, attacks on civilians and soldiers, with the most recent being the traumatic October 7 catastrophe. Israel, on its part, has mainly attempted to solve the ongoing refugee crisis with either the use of force, or by seeking a solution on terms favorable to Israel. This has not worked for the last 75 years and indeed will not work to resolve the ongoing security crisis for Israel.

Israel’s future, without a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine 100 year war, will look much like its past. An ongoing state policy of occupation, settlement, Palestinian displacement, and the resulting violence that both the Israelis and Palestinians deploy in the absence of any perceived viable alternatives.

This strategy will no doubt appear to the Israeli public as the least risky option. It is a strategy of appeasing the Israeli right, now a majority of the electorate, while giving the appearance, at least on a temporary basis of deterring Palestinian violent resistance. But… as history has so amply demonstrated, over and over, Israeli hubris, arrogance and overconfidence ultimately leads to catastrophic outcomes.

There are those in Israel, sadly it would appear a solid majority, who hold the belief that any move towards compromise with the Palestinians would be a “reward” for Palestinian violence and simply encourage more violence from the Palestinians. There are those in Israel who believe that Palestinians do not “deserve” a state of their own due to their past rejection of any attempts at partition.

A  solution would actually be the ultimate reward for Israel. It would settle, once and for all the Hundred Years’ War conflict with the Palestinians. It would settle the final international borders of the state of Israel. It would bring the desired recognition and formal relations with all the Arab states. It would give Israel the international recognition and legitimacy it has sought for the last 75 years.

Deserving has nothing to do with the need for Israel, and the world, to create a second state if Israel, and the world, desire a long term state of peace, security and prosperity in the Middle East. To use terms like “deserving a state” rings of paternalism, condescension and colonialism. Palestinians need to be treated as equals, not condescended to or treated as somehow less worthy of realizing their national aspirations.

Without a peaceful solution, and a resulting final settlement with the Palestinians, Israel cannot expect peace, stability or security for its citizens. No army cannot be taken by surprise, no intelligence service cannot be fooled and no barrier cannot be breached. Without a peaceful solution there will be repetitions of October 7, 2023 on a larger or smaller scale, it’s just a matter of time. If Israel continues to ignore the Palestinians, reject their  national aspirations, ignore their narrative, belittle their national culture, reject their legitimate rights to a nationality of their own, then Israel cannot expect long term peace,  stability or security in the area.

Israel must find a way to reach out to the Palestinians and settle this conflict for all time in order to provide Israelis with peace and security for all time.

About the Author
Born and educated in South Africa, a graduate of Jewish day school and Habonm Dror, Ian Joseph served in the IDF as an officer in combat units, and currently resides in North Carolina and Cyprus. Ian holds an MBA from Shulich School of Business in Toronto, is certified as a Master Instructor by the American Sailing Association and is currently retired from IBM. Among other pursuits Ian edits a weekly newsletter of Israeli news items, teaches sailing around the world and certifies sailing instructors.
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