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Forman & Son MD Lance Forman is hopeful after a recent trip to Israel

PUBLISHED: 09:20 31 August 2016

CARMEN VALINO ALL RIGHTS - on shift

I have just returned from a trip to Israel which included a meeting in Ramallah, on the West Bank with the deputy Palestinian foreign minister.

The meeting kicked off well. He started by saying that the Israel-Palestine conflict is not between Israelis and Palestinians, not between Jews and Arabs, but between modernisers and those who are stuck in the past. Interestingly this was precisely the same language used by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, when he spoke at a meeting in London last summer. Let’s hope the modernisers win.

One such moderniser was billionaire Palestinian businessmen Bashar Masri, who is building a new city called Rawabi, for Palestinians living in the West Bank. Whilst many Palestinians refuse to give up their refugee status and now some even claim they are third generation refugees – living in some very attractive properties, I hasten add - what Masri has done is moved forward with a positive vision so that Palestinians can throw off the shackles of their past and start looking at their situation in a positive light. I truly hope it succeeds.

The sad thing is that when you watch the news here you never see these extraordinary stories of hope. They only show the extreme elements and that fosters a sense of hopelessness and encourages those who don’t wish to compromise. Surveys have been done is Israel and the West Bank and the population at large want to move forward with a two state solution.

I also visited the Israel-Syrian border, where I could see and hear mortars going off only a few miles away. Damascus is only 40 miles from Israel’s border. Every night, the injured Syrians, on whatever side they may be – even Al Qaeda – drive over to the border into Israel, their arch-enemy, where they are taken to Israeli hospitals for life saving treatment. Once again, this extraordinary humane activity is never reported on by the western media, yet it shows that trust can be built, in this dangerous place, even if it is in small steps. More from Lance


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