When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.


Twenty Years On, Yitzhak Rabin's Vision For Peace Is Gone Forever

With renewed violence raging between Palestinians and Israelis, and an international community caught up with other conflicts, the two-state solution is all but dead and buried. Another reason to mourn the Israeli leader, assassinated Nov. 4, 1995.

Israeli security forces search a Palestinian youth near the Jerusalem central bus station
Israeli security forces search a Palestinian youth near the Jerusalem central bus station
Dominique Moïsi


PARIS — First came the stones, then the suicide bombers. Now it's the knives. How can these latest attacks ever be predicted and prevented, carried out by lone wolves driven by their own rage? We appear on the verge of a third Intifada just as Israel prepares to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin"s death on November 4. It's as if there were a direct connection between the killing of the man who best embodied a real hope for peace and the new explosion of violence that's haunting the region.

Why would the cycle of fragile truces and brutal explosions change? The situation is more than a stalemate: it's getting worse with time, spurred on by both political and religious radicalization.

There's a real gap between the tragic images coming from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the West Bank and the growing indifference with which the international community watches the region's, if not the world's, oldest conflict. During a meeting last week in Paris dedicated to "the new challenges and new balances in the Middle East," none of the speakers deemed it necessary to make even the slightest mention of the current eruption of violence.

Between the fight against ISIS and its globalization on the one hand, and the Iran nuclear deal and its political, diplomatic and economic consequences on the other, it is indeed difficult to make time and show interest in an issue that's been so discouraging and intractable. It has worn out even the most determined and optimistic minds.

The Palestinians will wait for better times to come, and the Israelis will pay the price tomorrow for the mistakes their leaders are committing today.

Is there even a credible alternative to the fragile and sometimes violent status quo? How can we expect the Israelis to return the West Bank to the Palestinians even as ISIS is gaining ground near their border with Syria? Wouldn't that be suicidal on their part? And who among the Palestinians would be willing to begin serious negotiations with the current Israeli government and its right-wing drift. There are too many divisions and weaknesses on one side, too many illusions of strength on the other.

A mere dream

To cut to the chase, the parties can't reach an agreement by themselves, and the international community is too weak, too divided, too indifferent and too far away to impose such a deal.

If there's a consensus today, it's a negative one. The solution — these days, more like a dream — of two states peacefully coexisting alongside one another has ceased to exist. At least in theory, it was a good idea to exchange land for peace. But in an almost perverse way, the two parties have seemed to resign themselves to the status quo. For the Israelis, it's "comfortable" save for these periods when violence erupts. It's much less comfortable for the Palestinians, but won't their demography avenge them in the long run?

Since the Israelis aren't ready to grant them a viable state alongside their own, the Palestinians will progressively, and within the current Israeli borders, become the majority, with the implied political, social and religious consequences. The Jews will simply become a minority in the Jewish state.

For decades, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a struggle for territory. It is possible to compromise on borders between two different peoples. But if the clash turns into a religious conflict between two sides who don't even need each other to radicalize, any form of compromise becomes much more difficult, if not impossible, to reach.

[rebelmouse-image 27069614 alt="""" original_size="602x411" expand=1]

The 1993 Oslo Accord handshake between Rabin and Yassir Arafat. Photo: White House

Since the two-state solution is de facto outdated, since the idea of one binational state isn't acceptable, some now like to think of a third option, that of a confederation between three peoples: the Israelis, the Palestinians and the Jordanians. After all, isn't Jordan Israel's closest partner in the region?

Based today on mistrust, such a confederation could tomorrow, thanks to its undeniable economic advantages, become a more positive entity. Let's stop dreaming. The Middle East isn't and won't become like post-World War II Europe. We watch powerlessly as hatred and intolerance rise relentlessly. In Israel, even small extremist minorities no longer hesitate to use violence to defend, or indeed impose, their vision of the world.

But how can we tell the Israelis that the first danger that threatens their country in the long run is not Iran, not ISIS and not even Palestinian knives, but a policy of occupation that undermines the very political and ethical foundations of their state? An occupation that comes with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's shift to the right, which makes him a hostage of forces even more extreme than him.

If Yitzhak Rabin had lived, we can't say for sure that his dream of peace between Israelis and Palestinians would have become a reality. But what we can say is that the world has desperately missed his brave, modest and realistic character. That is more true today than ever.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


What's Spoiling The Kids: The Big Tech v. Bad Parenting Debate

Without an extended family network, modern parents have sought to raise happy kids in a "hostile" world. It's a tall order, when youngsters absorb the fears (and devices) around them like a sponge.

Image of a kid wearing a blue striped sweater, using an ipad.

Children exposed to technology at a very young age are prominent today.

Julián de Zubiría Samper


BOGOTÁ — A 2021 report from the United States (the Youth Risk Behavior Survey) found that 42% of the country's high-school students persistently felt sad and 22% had thought about suicide. In other words, almost half of the country's young people are living in despair and a fifth of them have thought about killing themselves.

Such chilling figures are unprecedented in history. Many have suggested that this might be the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but sadly, we can see depression has deeper causes, and the pandemic merely illustrated its complexity.

I have written before on possible links between severe depression and the time young people spend on social media. But this is just one aspect of the problem. Today, young people suffer frequent and intense emotional crises, and not just for all the hours spent staring at a screen. Another, possibly more important cause may lie in changes to the family composition and authority patterns at home.

Firstly: Families today have fewer members, who communicate less among themselves.

Young people marry at a later age, have fewer children and many opt for personal projects and pets instead of having children. Families are more diverse and flexible. In many countries, the number of children per woman is close to or less than one (Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong among others).

In Colombia, women have on average 1.9 children, compared to 7.6 in 1970. Worldwide, women aged 15 to 49 years have on average 2.4 children, or half the average figure for 1970. The changes are much more pronounced in cities and among middle and upper-income groups.

Of further concern today is the decline in communication time at home, notably between parents and children. This is difficult to quantify, but reasons may include fewer household members, pervasive use of screens, mothers going to work, microwave ovens that have eliminated family cooking and meals and, thanks to new technologies, an increase in time spent on work, even at home. Our society is addicted to work and devotes little time to minors.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest