As a Jew I have always had a natural affinity for the state of Israel. My love for Israel is unconditional, along with the love I have for my people and all people for that matter. Wanting Israel to be safe and secure is a proclivity that most people have. However, what about the safety of Palestinians? What about security for the Palestinians? What about their right to self-determination? Don’t they deserve the same? Whenever I pose these legitimate questions or legitimately criticize various Israeli policies that I personally do not agree with I am sometimes hit with harsh backlash. The fallacious accusations espoused my way range from “you are a self-hating Jew” to “you are an anti-Semite” to “you are Anti-Israel”. I am used to it already. However, even with all the intimidation I will not back down from the cause of wanting a safe and secure state of Israel living alongside a safe and secure state of Palestine. That is actually a Pro-Israel/Pro-Palestine approach. Most people seem to have the same sentiments as myself. There may be some differences in the minutiae as to how to achieve a just two state solution but overall the goal is the same. I understand that the two state solution is not the only solution out there. But it is what I personally believe will be the best solution for both people. A one state solution I fear will bring either a very bloody civil war or the subjugation and persecution of either the Palestinian’s or Israelis.

Recent polls done by Hebrew University have it that both the majority of Israelis and Palestinians are still in favor of the two state solution. Will there still be a significant minority on both sides that will be against it? Absolutely. But either both sides will do their best to comply with international law which recognizes both Israel’s right to exist, as well as, Palestine’s or we will all keep seeing the same status quo which is untenable.

It is imperative that the new Israeli government push for a viable two state solution whereby the Palestinian leadership will have the backing of their citizens to accept such an offer. There is an Arab Peace initiative on the table. There is a Geneva initiative on the table. It is time for the leadership on both sides to make the tough choices of peace and concessions. It is time for Israel to choose “once and for all, between being a state or a Yishuv”-Shlomo Ben Ami.

Furthermore, many people need to understand that legitimate criticism of either Israel or Palestine should be welcomed and not shut down just because it makes some of us feel uncomfortable. Criticizing policies is not being Anti either country. Delegitimizing its right to exist and demonizing its people are.

Left: Mohamed Ghumrawi  Right: Sholom Neistein

Left: Mohamed Ghumrawi
Right: Sholom Neistein