Thoughts on The Morning After

April 14, 2024

Memories of the Gulf War came back to me the other night as I awoke to the booms of missiles from Iran and waited to hear the siren instructing us to head for the fallout shelter.

With the booms continuing I took my time putting on my shoes before joining my neighbors in the building in the basement shelter.  At 1:30 in the morning, no one was at their best but it was another opportunity to bond with new neighbors. The morning after, educational institutions were closed, however, everyone went to work and life cautiously continued as usual.  From Jerusalem south, everyone was awake at night and for a change, from Tel Aviv north, everyone slept through the night. For the first time ever, excitement in Jerusalem’s nightlife outdid Tel Aviv.

As Israel’s response to October 7th changed the world’s view towards Israel, the Iranian attack on Israel turned the table with Israel’s friends. In fact, new friends also joined us on April 14 with the coalition of the US, Britain, France, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. For at least a day we are not the bad guys and once again some countries like us.

It feels like whatever normal there has been in Israel in the last six months, it has returned as life goes on relatively quietly. What I hope has become clearer to our government is the strength of the coalition of strange bedfellows that developed around Iran’s attack and its ability to effect what is happening in the Middle East. The massive destruction in Gaza cannot be ignored, nor whatever hostages are still alive, and for the first time in a long time a new opportunity to move forward on a different Middle East plan could potentially evolve; or we can return to the same-old, same-old.

The direct intervention of the United States in the air and coordination with partners in the region can bring renewed hope for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Until now, Israel has refused to let other countries take an active part in its defense, including its actions in the Palestinian Territories. Now that that door has opened, what is needed is a Marshal Plan for Gaza and the Palestinian Authority with our new partners and hard hitting cooperation. Much needs to change in the Israeli-Palestinian equation and it will take decades and hard work. A plan, a coordinated effort with especially Arab partners, and a large influx of funds for development are desperately needed for Palestine as well as a change in their educational approach in teaching their children about Israel. Similarly Israel must take two steps back and let some intermediary police the Palestinian Territories and help build governmental infrastructure. Where this might smell of colonial dominance, or hopeful thinking, we, Israel and the Palestinians have failed and it is possible that a window of opportunity has opened.

We are still in trauma from October 7th and it is hard for anyone in the country to see beyond anger, fear, and distrust. In governmental and political circles, retaliation is the word that is being heard the most. This can only bring more war and a greater threat to not only Israel but the region. It is time for our leadership to build on the coalition that has developed, bring new ideas to the table, and think about the long term.

About the Author
Born in the United States I have lived in Israel for over 30 year and have been involved with NGO's working on child welfare, and Jewish-Palestinian relations. In the past I have worked at Hand in Hand Center for Jewish Arab Education developing bilingual, multinational schools, and programs where Arabs and Jews learn together and at Neve Shalom – Wahat al Salam Jewish Arab Community where Jews and Arabs live together. NSWAS operates a guest house, school, spiritual center and educational seminars. Over the years I have represented and provided research and consultation to major foundations contributing to Israeli society.
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