To understand the future of the Arab-Israeli conflict, argues Gil Troy, we must better understand its past. Israel has not faced a coordinated military attack from the Arab world in nearly half a century; it has instead contended with a series of peace processes punctuated by terrorism. Israel’s periodic conflicts with Arab groups no longer reflect a neat division between the Jewish state and its neighbors. By telling Israel’s story through the decades rather than primarily through its wars, Troy argues, we will be able to place Palestinian violence, anti-Israel propaganda, the Abraham Accords, and other significant facets of Israeli history in their proper context.
Inevitably, bombs upstage breakthroughs like the Abraham Accords. The Gaza hostilities in the spring of 2021 attracted more media attention than the millions of investment dollars, the 200,000 tourists, and the immeasurable goodwill that overflowed between Israelis and their new Arab friends in the accords’ first year.
Israelis know that their new Gulf partners are not sister democracies. But Israelis also know that these shifts are revolutionary. Nevertheless, most American journalists—and many American Jews—keep downplaying these transformations. Still addicted to unidimensional, unidirectional, woe-is-me, blame-Israel-first Palestinian propaganda, they remain mired in the old narrative of Israel being forever frozen in its forever war for existence.
Palestinian leaders accused their fellow Arabs of shaking hands with Israelis “on Palestinians’ blood-soaked soil.” But the Accords are the latest development in a peace-seeking process that began in the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, after the Egyptian-Syrian surprise attack failed to crush the Jewish state.
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