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Reflections from the SwampPalestine’s future, fifty years from now

Palestine’s future, fifty years from now

Reflections from the Swamp
Richard van Duyvendyk

Do not mistrust foreigners who are living in your land.  Treat them as you would a fellow Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves.  Remember that you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.  I am the Lord, you God. 
Leviticus 19:33-34   (Good News version)

Dear Reader

What do futurists expect to see in Palestine fifty years from now? What could prevent the brutal, lethal, and disastrous response by Israel to the barbaric raids by Hamas in Israel on Oct.7th?

The first rays of hope for a ceasefire and a prisoner exchange are on the horizon. We don’t know if these prisoner/hostage exchanges will lead to more pauses in the conflict. Food, fuel, and medical supplies are increasing from the trickles we’ve seen in the past month.

During the 1967 war between Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, I was 13 years old and very interested in the news. During the Six-Day War, Israel captured the territory held by Palestine and some territory held by Egypt and Syria. The slogan” From the river to the sea” (Jordan River, Mediterranean Sea) was a battle cry from the Arab troops involved in the conflict. Israel has since controlled the Syrian Golan Heights and the areas once held by Palestine in the West Bank and the borders of Gaza. Israel maintains its water, fuel, electricity, and food supplies. Progress toward peace has been up and down for over fifty years.

Both Israel and Palestine have scuttled a” Two-State Solution” dividing Israel and Palestine due to continuous conflicts between the two. Israel withdrew from Gaza, preferring to control Gaza’s borders to the prospect of constant conflicts within the territory. The West Bank has seen a continuous increase in Israeli settlements, turning the territory into a “Swiss Cheese” area with pockets of Jewish settlements throughout the region. These settlements enrage the Palestinians and have led to many conflicts between the two peoples.

Israel is right in wanting to destroy Hamas.”; the world is right in wanting the safe return of the hostages; and Palestinians are right in wanting the just achievement of a two-state solution.  Somehow, all of these goals need to be achieved so that the long-awaited era of a new peace can be born on the other side of all the messiness. (Jeffrey Frantz in Progressive Spirit)

The recent conflict between Hamas and Israel has had more casualties than all the previous ones. The Hamas raids are clearly to blame for the present conflict with Israel. Supplied with weapons from Iran and others, the refusal to recognize Israel as a country and the vow to remove all Jews from the region doesn’t give Israel many alternatives other than fighting Hamas. Israel is not blameless in the neverending conflict because of the ways they have treated Palestinians, their land, and continuous new settlements on the West Bank.

As we look towards the future of Palestine and Israel, it is evident that the status quo can’t continue. The Two-State Solution needs resuscitation. Palestinians need a secure future with all encroachments on what remains of their territory stopped. Israel needs to be recognized by neighbouring Arab states and be free of attacks from Hizbollah, Hamas, and other armed groups. Arab states need to help Palestinians with investments and opportunities outside and inside of Palestine and end the supply of weapons that only, in the end, harm Palestinians more than Israelis.

Recently, The Abrahamic Accords between Israel and several Arab states shed a ray of stability on the region. These accords are a threat to Hamas and may have led to the recent conflict because Hamas doesn’t want Arab states to recognize Israel. A final resolution to the current conflict needs to include this accord.

Peace will never come with a Hamas-led government in Gaza. Peace will never come if Israel keeps building on Palestinian lands.

Israel and Palestine have no choice but to address the root causes of their conflict and take action to change the future of their children.

Compared to fixing the climate change issues, solving the age-old conflict in Israel/Palestine seems more plausible and hopeful.

The next fifty years could be more of the same in the Middle East unless there is a concerted effort to make meaningful changes. It will take the complex steps of reconciliation, admitting past mistakes and planning future actions to create the best long-term solutions. The international community needs to support solutions.

I hope the Gaza children we have seen suffering in this conflict and those Israeli young people who survived the Hamas raids will lead the region to a brighter, more peaceful future. Fifty years from now, Israel and Palestine can be safe places to live in peace.

Without hope, there is only despair. We have all witnessed the pain and anguish of those who have lost loved ones. We’ve seen the poisonous fruits of hatred and revenge; it’s time to give peace a chance.

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