Leaders Appear To Lose Faith: Is There Still Hope For Peace In Middle East? – OpEd


September 20th has come and gone and the issue of a Palestinian state was one of the main issues of the UN’s General Assembly.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Abbas have traveled far to address their local crowd. They were speaking in the UN, but not to the UN. Like Prime Minister Netanyahu said, anything can be decided in the UN’s general assembly, even that the sun sets in the east, the truth is not an issue here.

Netanyahu conveyed Israel’s genuine wish for peace and at the same time growing frustration of the constant demand for concessions. He reminded the UN community that Israel has taken great steps for peace by unilaterally evacuating from Gaza and leaving it in Palestinian control. Sadly, we all know how this “advanced” peace. Soon after Israel’s withdrawal, Hamas overtook Gaza in a storm throwing out the moderate Fatah leaders. Israeli cities have not been safe since with Hamas constantly shooting rockets on civilian populations.

Abbas’s statehood bid reflects his loss of faith after 20 years of failed peace talks sponsored by the United States, and alarm at Israeli settlement expansion in occupied land that Palestinians want for a state.

But the settlements in occupied land are not the issue. The issue is at the heart of Israel’s reason of existence. It’s the Jewish identity of Israel which the Palestinian refuse to acknowledge. It’s the Jewish connection to the land of Israel. The historic connection that goes back thousands years ago. The Palestinians are not willing to accept Israel’s right to exist in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and Beer Sheva. These are major cities in Israel, not occupied land settlements.

The refusal of the Palestinians to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state is what’s leading Israelis to lose faith.

While leaders seem to lose hope, it’s the people that will pay the price of lack of peace. As the world changes around us, the window of opportunity to achieve peace is rapidly closing. Let’s hope that despite the doomsday speeches at the UN Israel and the Palestinians will find a way to move forward.

Roni Drukan

Roni Drukan is the co-founder of Giyus.org, a pro Israeli online diplomacy group. She is also known as Israeligirl to her blog readers and social media friends where she shares news and views about the Middle East and the war between moderates and radicals that's impacting us all.

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