Avi Nofech
"democracy and free trade are the only way to peace"

No Peace Usually Ends with War

I just watched a BBC video report about the lack of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The correspondent noted that the peace process began 25 years ago and instead of achieving peace things seem to be only getting worse.

She showed the images of rockets from Gaza and explosions in Gaza that everyone who follows the events saw already. But what was unusual in this report was the tone of concern, as if things are not going to stay as usual but instead will get worse. The concern was that the views of Hamas, not of Palestinian Authority, will prevail.

Palestinians do not see any improvement in their situation and Hamas offers them what they call “a path of resistance”, which may not be a path to better life but what some Palestinians prefer nonetheless.

Some Israelis believe that Palestinians will eventually see that they don’t have a choice and accept the outcome that Israel wants them to accept. But things do not necesserily work out this way. They might accept something else: that there is no choice for them but war.

War for Israel meant in recent years rockets from Gaza and less often from Hezbollah. Indeed this is still possible and this is what an intifada may initially develop into.

But if the Arab world in general gives up hope on peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, then intifada can lead to something bigger. There could again be a large Arab coalition against Israel, but bigger than before because the Middle East has developed and is capable of greater efforts than in the past.

There are Arab countries that did not take active part in Arab-Israeli wars and accordingly Israel does not pay them too much attention. But they seem to be paying attention to Israel quietly, in a special way. How else can one explain what Algeria would need six new Russian built quiet submarines for?
And they also bought from Russia two very large older submarines for training the crews. What do they need so many submarine crews for? (your guess here, I hope you understand what I meant. If you didn’t, look up where is Algeria on the map)

This is one of new frigates built for the Algerian Navy. (By Patrosk-Dente – Own work, CC BY-SA)

The concern is that Israel’s chance for a peaceful outcome may be slipping away. Israel should really be looking at solutions that would make Palestinian Arabs happy, and not only in a narrow material sense. They need spiritual things too, like freedom.

Understanding what would make Palestinian Arabs content and ready for peace with Israel is only possible if Israelis try to put themselves into their shoes and think about their concerns with respect. They would have to think of Palestinians as equals. But is it possible for Israelis to think of Palestinians as equals? Probably yes for most Israelis, but definitely not for some contributors of comments for Times of Israel. These would have to think long and hard to understand what I’m trying to say.

Luckily there are many places today were former enemies, like for example Germany and Poland, are at peace and friendly with one another.

So there is hope for Israelis and Palestinians – if they learn and understand how these former enemies achieved peace.

About the Author
I went to graduate school at the Hebrew University and since then worked as a lecturer in Canada and in Israel.