Is It Possible to Make "the Ultimate Deal"?

(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen - President Trump seeks what he has called "the ultimate deal" for Israel and the Palestinians, one that would be advantageous to both parties. In the business world, a signed deal is final. But agreements between states and peoples are likely to be revisited as national interests change. There is a crucial difference between such agreements and what transpires in the business world. Peoples have national aspirations that are stronger than any agreement. Those aspirations are not under the control of leaders and cannot be conceded in negotiations. They continue to arouse passions even when their fulfillment has been deferred. How far, after all, can any people be expected to go in giving up its dreams? The constraints of reality can indeed bring even ideological leaders to a compromise, but the resulting agreement is always temporary and awaits a strategic shift in which everything will be reconsidered. National passions can be repressed and deferred, but they do not dissipate. A hundred years after the downfall of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish passion for lands that were under Turkish control before WWI continues to burn and to drive President Erdogan's regional policy. For the Iranians, the golden age of the kingdom of Darius impels their current logic. The writer served in the IDF for 42 years, commanding troops in battle on the Egyptian and Syrian fronts.

2018-01-19 00:00:00

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