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    • #18081
      Roy Gutman

      Welcome to the Baltimore Council’s Forum on the Middle East.  We’ve now posted Professor Robert Freedman’s blog on the Fifth Israel-Hamas War after one month, and we will welcome your questions and observations. Council members are known for their thoughtful questions and statements at our monthly speakers’ series, and we hope this forum will serve as an extension of those discussions. There should be a lot of questions out here!

      Professor Freedman will join in the discussion and respond to as many questions as feasible.

      Please keep your contributions civil and concise.

      We reserve the right to delete contributions that contain offensive language.

      We’ve sent a startup packet complete with account creation instructions to all members by email. If you have issues, please contact info@bcfausa.org.


    • #18264
      Roy Gutman

      Greetings to Baltimore Council members.
      I have a question for Professor Freedman. Hamas rejected negotiations to resolve the confllict in a two-state solution, and the present Israeli government has done little if anything to move in that direction. What will it take to revive negotiations towards a two-state solution?

      • #18565
        Robert Freedman

        Two things are needed to move to a two state solution.

        First, Hamas must be militarily defeated so it can no longer be an actor in the peace process. Up until now Hamas succeeded in sabotaging the OSLO Two agreement in 1996 by launching a series of terrorist attacks on Israel that undermined then Prime Minister Peres and led to his loss in the 1996 Israeli election to Netanyahu. Even if Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas wanted to move the peace process forward by accepting the peace plans offered to the Palestinian Authority in 2008 and 2014, he could not agree because Hamas, which had seized power in Gaza in 2007, would have undermined them. With Hamas out of the way, however, Mahmoud Abbas, or more likely his successor (Abbas is 87 and is concentrating on the succession process) would be freer to move forward toward peace.

        However, a second development is also required. Netanyahu is dead set against a two-state solution and he will have to be replaced by a more flexible Israeli leader for there to be a serious chance for a two-state solution. Given Netanyahu’s failure in preventing the Hamas attack of October 7th and his rapidly dropping popularity in Israel because of this, his political departure may be coming in the near future.

    • #18294
      Arnold Sherman

      Please consider the following as a question. Thanks. “Conflict should never begin without an exit plan. Exit plans need to consider a long historical timeline. The response to the Hamas attack on Isreal follows a classic pattern of the asymmetric powerless sucking in the dominant power into a response that will increase the commitment, in this case of Hamas, while at the same time reducing world public support for the victim of the terrorist attack.

      The more vicious the attack, the more likely the vigor of the response will be. In a growing tri-polar world, the more significant effect of this seemingly local conflict plays into the hands of those wanting to replace the flawed global rule-based order. Support for Israel without acknowledging the human needs of the Palestinians repeats foreign policy mistakes made in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

      The macro challenge is to create a realistic global strategic plan that leaves domestic politics up to sovereign states and creates a collaborative institutional/organizational rule-based world order based on understanding the universal psychic truths of the personal and collective unconscious that are expressed differently in the collective memories of the world’s cultures.

      Suppose we can see the universal underlying specifics and learn to apply interdisciplinary analysis to recurring patterns at historical turning points. In that case, we might break out of this 5000-year-old vicious cycle.” Arnold Kraft Sherman, Ph.D., 11/15/2023.

      • #18566
        Robert Freedman

        The shock of the October 7th attack on Israel has galvanized both the right and left in Israel to concentrate on eliminating Hamas. The post war arrangement is secondary to this goal. In any case, we will have to wait until it is clear that Hamas has been militarily defeated before the Israelis, with or without Netanyahu as their Prime Minister, are willing to seriously consider a post-war arrangement for Gaza.

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