A painful sight unfolded in front of the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue in Manhattan. On both sides of 61st Street, across from the hotel where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his entourage were staying, two demonstrations of lovers of the State of Israel stood opposite each other.
Netanyahu presents map of peace in the Middle East // Reuters
Both are the same size. Both carry Israeli flags. The two of them are actually so similar to each other that when one began to announce: "D-MO-K-R-T-YA," THE OTHER JOINED IN AGREEMENT. Locals passing by did not know, and could not know, that these were seemingly contradictory demonstrations. One of the drivers of the American entourage was even convinced that all the demonstrators were in favor of Israel and Netanyahu, since the blue and white were carried in both El Al.
I went to talk to the opponents of the government, to understand what and why they were protesting. It turned out that most of them consume the mountains of lies spread by the protest propaganda (the latest being that "Netanyahu was waiting for Zelensky next to a fire truck on a plastic chair," while receiving him with dignity and standing in the meeting room in Compound E of the UN building. I was there). Two minutes of heart-to-heart talk ended with a hug and a selfie, for the New Year and for being one people.
But this small gesture cannot, unfortunately, stop the engine of the internal rift, as what remains of the protest movement drags many good people to it. On nothing and nothing, irreparable processes of fragmentation are being stretched within the Jewish people. In Israel, we felt them throughout the previous year. At the start of the new year, they arrived in the United States, accompanying Netanyahu's trip there, and fanning the tensions that already exist in the Jewish community there.
Demonstrators against the reform in New York and a demonstration in support of Israel, photo: Reuters
All this happened at a time when the historical developments that took place during Netanyahu's visit unite not only most Israelis, but also most of the Jewish people around the world. After all, an absolute majority of the people wants peace, certainly if it does not involve problematic concessions to the Palestinians.
The series of statements by US President Joe Biden, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Netanyahu, both in their speeches at the UN and in interviews with the American media, undoubtedly brought us there. The first week of 2024 has already put the Middle East in a different place than we were at the end of 2022/23.
True, it is still too early to congratulate the final, and it is also possible that the current round will not end successfully. But just as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's visit to Israel in 1977 led to a peace treaty with Egypt almost a year later, so the mutual declarations by the Saudi crown prince and prime minister are irreversible. Peace with the Saudis will be signed, if not sooner then later. And if propaganda had not swept the country, every responsible person in Israel or the United States would have demonstrated for these moves, not against them.
Demonstration of support for Israel,
As mentioned, it is too early to congratulate the finished. Despite the euphoria that has taken over the discourse, Netanyahu's warning that the window of opportunity is open for only a few months must be taken seriously. It is no coincidence that both a senior American official and a senior Israeli official were briefed separately on the many difficulties on the way to an agreement. "Normalization is a very complicated issue. No one ever said it was just around the corner. We have made progress, but it is typical that there are difficulties," the senior U.S. official said.
The Israeli official estimated that there is a little more than a 50 percent chance of reaching an agreement with the Saudis. "There is an interest and desire on the part of the three countries (the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel) to reach an agreement. But there are obstacles and they are not few," the Israeli official said.
Contrary to what is said in the studios, it is not the Palestinian issue that is problematic. Netanyahu does not intend to hand over a grain of land, and bin Salman does not ask for it either. So in this context, as far as Israel is concerned, there is neither a political nor a political obstacle. The big gaps are between the Americans and the Saudis on the nuclear issue and on the defense pact. "These are gaps that can be bridged," a diplomatic source familiar with the matter told Israel Hayom. If this is indeed the case, we will know within a few months.
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