How Oct. 7 Has Changed Hearts and Minds in Israel

(Ynet News) Dr. Michael Milshtein - The unprecedented magnitude of the Gaza war has generated a profound change in hearts and minds. It has become an existential battle. The strong, violent urges exhibited by Palestinians against Israelis as a whole on Oct. 7, and the lack of criticism and all-around disregard for the brutal massacres, going as far as to argue that they had never taken place, have led many Israelis to wonder whether this is a burning animosity rooted deep within the Palestinian collective mindset. They are not only "sobering up" from the possibility of making peace but are also realizing that there is an enormous gap between the two communities with regard to moral values, truth, human life, and the ability to be empathetic toward others. The war has cast aside concepts such as coexistence and a political arrangement, creating instead an unprecedented blood score. This development evokes dark thoughts about the Palestinian national movement and its relations with Israel. The ongoing war is the strongest blow ever to be delivered by the Palestinians to Israel. The Palestinians are priding themselves in the fact that they have now returned to center stage, while proving their ability to destabilize the entire world: from Lebanon, through the Red Sea, to within Western countries. Not a single person in the Palestinian system has been heard wondering what prospects lay beyond these momentary accomplishments, when Gaza lies in ruins, the Israeli peace camp is going extinct, the concept of the two-state vision has become synonymous with a dangerous hallucination, and deep distrust toward Palestinians has seeped into Israeli society. In the hearts and minds of the Israeli collective, the war has led to the assumption that Palestinian independence poses an existential threat to Israel since it has now been proven that the extensive freedom enjoyed by Gazans following the Israeli disengagement in 2005 was primarily utilized to accelerate a violent struggle. Israel may be forced to determine - unilaterally - the physical borders separating it from the Palestinians while ensuring long-lasting control over the gates between this entity and the world - the border area between Gaza and Egypt. This vision may not be very appealing, but in the Middle East, it is sometimes more important to be realistic than optimistic. The writer is Director of the Palestinian Studies Forum at Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center.

2024-02-11 00:00:00

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