As we approach the Jewish New Year, a time of reflection and renewal, once again we look forward to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

So, in the spirit of the New Year, let us hope beyond hope that the first faltering steps to a real peace can be made.

But what sort of peace can there be whilst Hamas, Hizbullah, Iran and ‘anti-Israelis’ all over the world seek her destruction.

Israel has shown its desire for peace over and over again. They gave back the Sinai to make peace with Egypt. They made peace with Jordan. They withdrew all settlements from Gaza.

What have they received in return? Intifada and rockets and bombs and threats, delegitimisation and boycotts.

As  José María Aznar said to the World Jewish Congress in Jerusalem recently:

Though I’m not sure about the possibility to achieve a “historic agreement” given the circumstances on the Palestinian side, we must be optimistic. At least the world will see that it is not the Israeli government that is the one that is not willing to talk and is not ready to deliver.

And what are the “circumstances on the Palestinian side”? They are still the refusal to recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, they are its continuing demonisation of, not just Israel, but Jews; they are insistence and a ‘Right of Return’ which neither exists or is practicable; the demand for a return to the 1949 armistice lines and the division of Jerusalem.

In other words, whilst Palestinians still dream of the end of the Jewish state, if not now or next year, at some point in the future, Israelis are willing to make painful concessions to achieve a lasting peace. Or at least to achieve two states recognising the rights of others to self-determination.

It is difficult to see any such agreement when Hamas see any deal with Israel as treason, whilst Hizbullah and Iran still call for Israel’s destruction and Fatah itself remains ambiguous despite its protestations.

We can only hope or pray or work for peace and truth and justice for everyone in the region. An Israel at peace could give so much to the region if only they were willing to accept it. If Israel’s enemies would embrace peace and not war, life not death, the world could be transformed.

In the words of Binyamin Netanyahu “Shalom, salaam, peace”.

Shana tova.