The purpose of the October 7 attacks was to wreck peace negotiations - Paul Andrews
As the British withdrew, the Arab and his lady friend were murdered by his comrades because of his friendship with the Jew. The film ends with the hope that one day Jews and Arabs would live together in peace.
Unfortunately, this is something which the people of Palestine have never been allowed to enjoy.
Throughout its short history, the tiny state of Israel has been continuously threatened by its neighbours. In 1967 it was invaded on three fronts by the armies of an alliance of Jordan, Syria and Egypt.
Israel miraculously won this war and occupied the strategically important west bank of the River Jordan and the Golan heights in the north. Israel never intended to annex these territories – it was simply a matter of having boundaries which were militarily easier to defend.
The importance of these boundaries was reinforced by the Yom Kippur war of 1973. That war started without warning by a carefully coordinated surprise attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria on a Jewish religious festival. Although caught off their guard, the Israelis again won the war.
This led to long drawn out attempts by the USA and other western governments to bring peace to the Middle East, and eventually Israel was recognised by Egypt.
However, this was something which other Arab states, particularly Syria, would not accept, and they were egged on by the Soviet Union which was allowed to maintain a naval base in Syria.
The people of Palestine, Jews and Arabs alike, had become pawns in cold-war superpower politics – the quest by the Soviet Union for world domination.
The obvious solution to the conflict was to have two separate states, one comprising the original territory of Israel and the other, the West Bank and Gaza. This would have given the West Bank and Gaza political autonomy, whilst providing Israel with a buffer against another military assault.
Unfortunately, there were details which neither side could agree on, Jewish settlements expanded into the occupied areas; there were two major uprisings in the occupied areas including misunderstandings, opposition, murders and suicide bombing, and, amid mutual recriminations, the negotiations failed.
Meanwhile in 1979, there was a revolution in Iran which created a theocratic Muslim republic. This looked to establish its own dominance in the Middle-East, and exploited tensions between Jews and Arabs for its own sordid political purposes.
To cut a long story short, Iran has come to be the main sponsor of terrorism by Hamas and Hezbollah – organisations which are dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel and have no interest in finding any peaceful solution, or improving the infrastructure, prosperity or welfare of the Arab people they govern.
Instead, millions of pounds which could have been spent on building a prosperous city, have been wasted on building vast military arsenals and a huge network of tunnels, as well as on buying thousands of missiles with which they have kept up a persistent bombardment of Israeli civilian targets.
This led to the unholy alliance between theocratic Iran and former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, who both seem to relish their reputation as an axis of evil. There had been negotiations between Fatah (the Arab administration of the West Bank) several Arab states and Israel, whereby Israel would have been recognised, and Israeli technical expertise would have been shared with Arab countries. This would have benefited the whole Middle-East, and the peoples living there.
This clearly was not in the interest of Iran, Russia, Hamas or Hezbollah. So, Hamas launched its murderous attack on October 7. The purpose was clearly to wreck these negotiations – and it seems they have succeeded.
Nobody can blame the Israelis for retaliation or their wish to eliminate Hamas. All Hamas has to do to stop the killing is to recognise Israel and negotiate the kind of peace which was being considered by Fatah and the governments of the neighbouring Arab states.
So, at the very moment when the main Middle-East issue seemed to be about to be resolved, Arabs and Israelis seem to stay locked in an interminable struggle.
Neither side has any control of the outside forces which are driving it. The Jewish and Arab peoples who live in Palestine are all equally the victims of this tragedy. Keir Starmer is right. Israel does have the right to defend itself, and a two state solution is the answer.
Paul Andrews is a former Ryedale District Council councillor and Mayor of Malton. He is now an honorary alderman of North Yorkshire Council.