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And now for something completely different

Gazans storming the border fence, Israeli troops shooting–and much of the world sees hapless Palestinian refugees crammed into Gaza, embargoed by Israel and struggling to assert their right to return to their former homes.

It’s a public relations nightmare that Israel seems powerless to change.  And as long as it plays Hamas’ game, it will continue to lose.

It’s time for Israel to try something completely different.

Here’s what I suggest:

At one of the border crossings between Israel and Gaza, offer Gazans the opportunity to sign up for guided bus tours of nearby Israel. Enable them to see the reality of Israeli life. Help them understand why Israel has been able to accomplish what it has as opposed to how Hamas has ruled in Gaza.  At the end of the tour, offer Palestinians the opportunity to sign up to live in Israel whenever a peace treaty is concluded, first come first served, based on the terms of the peace agreement.

Will Hamas allow its people to do this? Unlikely, but then at least the onus will be on Hamas instead of on Israel.

It’s a silly idea, never to be implemented so, instead, perhaps Israel should consider letting up on its blockade of Gaza for the sake of those same Palestinians who now suffer at both the hands of Hamas and Israel.

About the Author
Anson Laytner is a happily retired liberal rabbi whose career focused on building positive interfaith and interethnic relations in the Seattle area. As a volunteer, Laytner is president of the Sino-Judaic Institute and has edited its journal, Points East, for the last 38 years. He is the author of six books, most recently “Choosing Life After Tragedy” and the novel "The Forgotten Commandment." Visit him as his website www.ansonlaytner.com.