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Just settlement only hope for democratic Israel

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Two articles in last week’s SA Jewish Report (19 June 2020) struck a chord that can’t be ignored, namely the proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank under the so-called Trump peace deal.
by Allan Wolman, Israel | Jun 25, 2020

I have always maintained that Trump isn’t good for Israel, and will never be, in spite of all that he is perceived to have done.

In reality, he has caused more anti-Israel sentiment than any of his predecessors. But that aside, Israel is enjoying a period of political prosperity – the European Union, in spite of decades of criticism and covert hostility, has mellowed substantially. Trade relations with the West, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, are positive. Relations with India and China have never been better, in spite of pressure from the United States to make hard choices. But most importantly, Arab countries, and in particular the Saudis and the influential Gulf States, aren’t only talking to Israel, but certainly there’s a much warmer wind blowing from the desert.

After more than 70 years of living in a hostile neighbourhood, things are changing. Other than the intermittent attacks from Gaza and isolated terrorist incidents, things are pretty safe and peaceful.

A recent immigrant having arrived in Israel 18 months ago, I’m encouraged when walking along the beachfront in Tel Aviv and Jaffa to see family groups of Israeli Arabs enjoying the summer, having their picnics in groups alongside their Jewish neighbours with absolutely no hostility from either side. It’s this atmosphere that could be achieved by a just and peaceful settlement, something that as a citizen of my new country I see as the only hope for the future of a democratic Jewish state.

Like Warren Lewis in apartheid South Africa, other than voting for Nelson Mandela in the first free elections, I did little to effect change, but was very proud on the day I voted in a democratic country and it’s a democratic country that I want to live in. I lived in a pariah state for too long, had to have visas to travel, and was never proud of that passport. Currently I can travel to most countries without a visa, but for how long if annexation goes ahead?

Benjamin Pogrund, who has for years defended Israel from the accusation that it’s an apartheid state, clearly says that if annexation goes ahead, he may not be able to defend the indefensible.

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