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Time moves on, so should beliefs

Mar 11,2017 - Last updated at Mar 11,2017

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Moscow for “urgent” talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the “imminent” danger of Iran’s expanded presence and hegemony in the region did not seem to have been very successful.

Netanyahu timed his talks in Moscow with the eve of a Jewish holiday that commemorates Jewish escape from alleged annihilation, some 2,500 years ago, at the hands of the Persians.

“Today,” Netanyahu told Putin, “there is an attempt by Persia’s heir Iran to destroy the state of the Jews. They say this as clearly as possible and inscribe it on their ballistic missiles”.

The Israeli premier must have referred to a statement made by former Iranian president Mohamed Ahmadinejad who had called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”, because these days, Iran is busy with other issues, hardly thinking of Israel.

The Russian leader was apparently not impressed by Netanyahu’s fixation on the past and inability to come up with a new vision, made Putin urge him to focus on today’s “different world”.

Well, at least someone had the guts to try to bring Netanyahu in the 21st century.

Historical events of gloom and doom, Putin reminded the Israeli leader, took place in “the fifth century BC. We now live in a different world. Let’s talk about that now”.

Netanyahu, like many other Israelis, continues to live in the past and to see things through a rear view mirror, and such attitude is not going to lead anywhere.

Hammering in for decades events from the past, for which many still pay, will eventually make them sound banal.

Israel needs to realise that times and the world have changed, and that living behind walls and wallowing in past misery will keep it isolated.

This Israeli state of mind can only contribute to continuing the Arab-Israeli conflict, for, as long as Israel refuses to live in the present and persists in viewing the world in the light of centuries-old events, it will never accept peace or to live like a modern nation opened to the world.

Netanyahu’s, and others’, fixation on existential threats to Israel will make them reject all offers of peace.

 

Iranian military and political presence in Syria and elsewhere in the region may be a cause for alarm, but it should not be used as an excuse by Israel — and an excuse that clearly lacks credibility because Israel’s expansionist game has long been exposed — to refuse all reasonable offers to live in peace.

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