Israel: Is it time for self-reflection?

Mohamed Ibrahim Eldawiry
Saturday 15 Jun 2024

It may seem unusual to write an article addressed to Israel, not only to its political leadership, legislative, judicial, and security institutions but to the entire Israeli society in the hope that a rational person among them will read this article and be prompted to pause for self-reflection.


In my opinion, this means seriously rethinking, even for once, the nature of the policies pursued by different Israeli governments and the extent to which they can achieve the state's goals.

I begin the article by addressing Israel's most important decision-making circles, namely the current government. Regardless of the fact that it is one of the most extremist governments in the history of the state, as acknowledged by the Israeli opposition itself and many sectors of Israeli society, I recognize that every government in the world aims to achieve the interests of its people. However, the question that needs to be asked here is directed primarily to the ruling coalition and is as follows: Do the current policies it pursues achieve the interests of the Israeli people in security, stability, and prosperity? Or is the opposite true?

Let me delve into the heart of the matter and ask Israel to define the natural goals it aspires to achieve. Here, I will volunteer and try to identify the most important of these goals, which are, from my point of view, the presumed goals of any state, namely security, stability, development, and progress in all fields. The state should also have a distinguished position at both the regional and international levels. Every state has the right to take action to achieve its goals, but in accordance with the provisions of international law and without encroaching on the rights of others.

From this point of view, I call on the Israeli government to take a serious look at itself and ask itself a fundamental question: Has it succeeded, after about a century and a quarter since the establishment of the state, in living naturally in its regional environment? Or is it still, after all these decades, living in a state of war, as if the situation has not changed much since 1948 until now? I will leave this answer to the decision-makers in Israel and call on them to be honest in their answer, far from the arrogance and extremism that will have unprecedented negative consequences for the future of the state.

In this context, I must be more direct and detailed in addressing Israel as follows:

* What is the nature of the bets it is placing?

* What are the bases on which it bases its hard-line positions?

* Does it believe that the external elements that support it will remain forever?

* Has it not benefited from the successive effects of the Gaza War, which clearly revealed that external support has not and will not be the same as before?

* Has the Palestinian issue, which it has tried to bury for years, ended? Or has it returned to the spotlight with a vengeance, regardless of the consequences that may follow in the future?

* Will the time factor be in its favour in the medium and long term, especially from the demographic point of view, as well as from the economic, political, and military aspects that will change in its disfavour over time?

* Does it see itself as remaining indefinitely the only state in the region that possesses nuclear weapons? Or even military superiority over the Arab countries combined?

* Does it see its chances of integration into the regional system approaching as hoped? Or is it moving away as expected?

* Have the Arab normalisation agreements provided it with the security, peace, and economic progress it craves? Or could these treaties be negatively affected over time?

* Has the dream of peace with Saudi Arabia become attainable? Or has it become out of reach and will not be achieved except under conditions it may not be able to fulfil, thus losing one of the most important achievements it seeks to accomplish in the next stage?

* Can Israel live in this climate of high tension on all fronts for long periods? To what extent can the state bear these pressures and drains, strongly deducting from its balance sheet at all internal and external levels?

* Would Israel's regional and international position have become so damaging if the Palestinian issue had found its way to a solution?

* Will the current war in Gaza, creating hostile generations and a regional environment that is wary of it, as well as the policies it pursues in the West Bank and Jerusalem, achieve the desired security for it?

* Is Israel, in its current state, capable of integrating into the regional system and achieving further Arab normalization?

* Where is the Israeli vision for resolving the Palestinian dilemma?

From this point on, I urge Israeli decision-makers to reconsider their calculations before it's too late. Despite all the current tensions, there is still an opportunity to open a new page in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, one that begins with resolving the Palestinian issue.

While some may view this as an idealistic approach, and they are right in that regard, it could be feasible under one condition: Israel's genuine existence of a will for peace.

This is because Israel is the only country in the world that still refuses to establish a Palestinian state based on unjustified claims and expansionist delusions that will never materialize.

Ultimately, in my opinion, the correct and only starting point is for Israel to be convinced that the continuation of the current situation will not be in its best interest. There is no room for any Israeli government to do anything other than prioritise the peace process if it wants to achieve the interests of its people.

Without such a shift, Israel will continue to be trapped in a vicious cycle of insecurity and instability. It will never succeed in achieving its goal of regional integration, no matter how strong its military might be or how long its occupation lasts.

Furthermore, Israel will remain hostage to extremist and narrow-minded political parties that care only for the voices of their supporters, despite knowing that these policies are leading the country towards the unknown.

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