Mr. Prime Minister,

I herein write to you Mr. Prime Minister Netanyahu, from Palestine, from the land of Masada, and the land of the latest siege (194), where you and your government financially besieged the Palestinian people simply because we asked for statehood and freedom. Whilst you have closed the negotiations’ door, we recall the saying of Elazar Ben Yair, the great Jewish leader who, along with his companions, favored mass suicide over surrendering to the Romans and becoming their slaves. We recall his proclamation: “Since we long ago resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any other than to God Himself, who alone is the true and just Lord of mankind.”

The purpose of this letter is not to condemn and deplore. I realize that too much time has passed and that there is little time left, and thus there is a pressing need for our two peoples to think rationally, and to use the language of mutual interest that will lead us to ending the occupation, and subsequently ending the conflict. This way, and this way only, will we be able to give both peoples a chance to live in their independent states and to contribute to the revival of peace in this region; to be part of a new collaborative, peaceful Middle East, each living in peace and security with their neighbors. Contrarily, we could resort to the other option and make both the Palestinian and the Israeli people into the future victims of faulty political decisions built upon unfair assumptions. We could continue deeming it appropriate that one people’s development is built upon the appropriation of another people’s freedom and the destruction of their futures.

As you may already know, Mr. PM, the main task of any politician is to assure his people that a brighter future lies ahead for them. In the book “God on Trial”, a group of Jews gather in one of the Nazi concentration camps in order to discuss whether or not God can be deemed guilty for having left them behind to face their horrifying destinies without any help. At the end of the trial, they find that God is in fact guilty. Nevertheless, they all go out, believers and atheists alike, to perform their Saturday prayers, proclaiming that there is hope to be held even though it isn’t always obvious. The distinction, Mr. PM, is that I am not writing because I have hope. I write to you because I fundamentally refuse to give up hope for the generations to come, so that they may live in states that embrace peace and justice.

Therefore, I come here, Mr. Prime Minister, calling on you to take things into your own hands and push the wheel of peace forward by adopting the Arab Peace Initiative; a version of the solution that would normalize relations with your neighbors and give us peace, security, and independence. There also needs to be an instant freezing of all settlement activities, with this being the biggest obstacle in front of the two state solution and any other future initiatives that aim to end the conflict. It is also critical to resume negotiations, not to buy time but to use the little time left, for the good of both peoples, by building a lasting and comprehensive solution that ends the conflict once and for all.

Mr. Prime Minister, please don’t make the two peoples into the fuel for another war that would devastate the generations to come and murder their hopes of a peaceful and secure life. Don’t force us, the new generation, to waste our lives instead of using our time and opportunities positively, and preventing us from utilizing the energy and resources of our youth that will ultimately build our state and provide a good life for our people and families.

Mr. Prime Minister, do not make new Romans of your people, for the Palestinian people will not be a new Masada.

Mohammad Asideh

Palestinian farmer and political activist, works as a program officer at OneVoice Movement-Washington DC. mohammad.asideh@gmail.com