Things Are Never So Bad They Can’t Get Worse… / Nabil Fahmy

Apr 11, 2024

Both of the following statements are true:

  • The surprise October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel was brutal, outrageous, inhumane, and far outside the boundaries of behavior even remotely “acceptable” in war.
  • The ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza has terrorized Palestinian civilians, destroyed the majority of their residential and commercial buildings and infrastructure, contributed to a horrible humanitarian crisis and has made the territory all but uninhabitable—even if aimed at destroying Hamas.

That is not to suggest moral equivalency, nor to judge who is guilty of what.Rather, it is to argue that it is more critical than ever that this tragedy should beget a new effort to create sustainable peace and prosperity for Palestinians as well as for Israelis.

But, if peace wasn’t possible before October 7, how likely is it that the horrors of the past six months have improved prospects? Not surprisingly, hatred and shock not understanding and goodwill are the order of the day in both societies. And, haven’t the endless efforts over the past 75 years long since exhausted all imaginable diplomatic possibilities? Who has the moral standing, never mind the agency, to construct a solution? For that matter, who would speak for the Palestinians if any negotiation could be launched?

Nabil Fahmy, former Egyptian foreign minister and career diplomat who has spent his professional life working on these issues, doesn’t claim to have answers. But he deeply believes that failing to try to find them would condemn his region to a worsening cycle of violence—with consequences that could be far worse than what the world has witnessed since October.

Listen as Minister Fahmy discusses not only why, but how a different future might be possible.

Can you imagine a world where Israelis and Palestinians can live and prosper, side by side, in their own countries? Tell us what you think and comment below.


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Nabil Fahmy, a career diplomat, served as Egypt’s Foreign Minister from July 2013 to June 2014, guiding the country’s diplomacy through challenging times. He reoriented Egypt’s foreign policy, broadening its options globally and regionally. Over three decades, Fahmy held prominent diplomatic roles including Ambassador to the United States and Japan. He chaired the UN advisory board on disarmament and was Vice-Chairman of the UN General Assembly’s first committee on disarmament and international security. He played key roles in various multilateral events and was honored by the Japanese Emperor. Fahmy founded the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo in 2009, serving as its dean until 2022. His latest English book, “Egypt’s Diplomacy in War, Peace, and Transition”(2020), and an updated Arabic book, “From the Heart of Events” (2022), shed light on the challenges of statecraft over the past fifty years.


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