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Normalization and schism in the Jewish world

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29.10.2020

On September 13, 1993, I was privileged to sit on the White House lawn and watch as President Bill Clinton brought together Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat in an historic advance towards peace. That moment is among my fondest memories in my years of service to the American Jewish community. Nearly three decades later, I remain a strong believer in a territorial compromise between Israelis and Palestinians, notwithstanding the unsuccessful efforts to date, as the only way to preserve Israel’s secure, Jewish, and democratic future while realizing Palestinian national aspirations.

Twenty-seven years after the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, similar scenes are unfolding in rapid succession: first, two normalization treaties between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain, collectively dubbed the Abraham Accords. Then, just last week, an announcement that Sudan too would begin a process of normalization with Israel. It is likely that more Arab states are waiting in the wings.

How this will all pan out remains to be seen, though they represent significant and positive achievements.

What is clear, however, is that despite Israel’s ostensibly suspending West Bank annexation in favor of normalization, the Trump-mediated accords leave the most intense disputes unresolved. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s existential implications for Israel have been virtually ignored. These cannot be papered over by treaties with far-flung Gulf monarchies or agreements with other distant Arab states.

Two likely, deeply concerning results are that the American Jewish community’s discord over Israel will........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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