Peace Without …

In an American Jewish weekly newspaper, the featured Editorial was entitled “The Snub Club”. The editor struggles to find a way to co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians. It’s like dreaming the impossible dream. I wish him luck.

He commented on recent visits to New York and Washington by two prominent Arab representatives.

The first, Ayman Odeh, a member of our Knesset and leader of its Arab coalition, was interviewed at the office of the New York “Jewish Week” and declared that Arabs and Jews need to struggle against discrimination.

The following day, he refused to enter a building where he was scheduled to address the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. His refusal to enter was because the offices of the Jewish Agency are located in the same building. And so he walked away. Strange fellow! He can address our Knesset from the podium in Jerusalem but cannot enter a building which houses a Zionist office in New York.

Last week, the second Arab Palestinian spokesman, Saeb Erekat, demanded that the Israeli flag be removed from the podium on which he was standing at a conference sponsored by HaAretz newspaper and the New Israel Fund.

To our shame, the organizers of the conference removed our national flag. What happened to our Israeli pride?

The Palestinian people want peace. But it must be a peace without Jewish neighbors.

The Jews of Israel want peace. But it must be a peace without Palestinian neighbors.

So much for peace and co-existence!

Our Prime Minister, Netanyahu, mumbles an agreement to a two-state solution. He says it because he has to say it. But deep in his heart, I believe that he is opposed to another Arab state on our borders. And I believe that most of us, Jewish citizens and tax-payers in this blessed land, are also opposed to it. We came here to rebuild a Homeland for all Jews, not for Arabs who have 21 countries of their own.

Political correctness has been the fad for some time. Vladimir Putin doesn’t practice it. He says what he honestly feels needs to be said, no holds barred. And the American Republican candidate, Donald Trump, is the classic example of political incorrectness. He talks dugri. He says what millions of his fellow Americans think, but do not dare to say out loud for fear of offending.

Mr. Trump does not care who he offends. His only care is to show his fellow Americans where they got lost somewhere on the way and he declares that if elected to the presidency of the United States, he will set the country back on its tracks.

Mr. Trump is not a diplomat and does not speak the language of diplomatic protocol. Maybe that is what America needs… someone who is not afraid of offending another by speaking the truth as he believes it. And if they are offended, well…to hell with them. Present American leadership has been leader-less and 2017 will indicate that it’s time for change of direction.

We cannot control the Erekats of the world, but we surely can condemn the Odehs who will boycott an important scheduled conference simply because a Zionist agency is situated in the same building.

What gross hypocrisy! On one day he spoke of ending discrimination and on the very next day he discriminates against one building which houses a Zionist office. Don’t the Palestinian Arabs have any representative who knows how to publicly demand peace and who can demonstrate how to find the path to peace?

History and geography and political interference from former foreign governments i.e., the Sykes-Picot agreement which carved up the Middle East after the Ottoman Turkish defeat in 1918, are at the root of our present day politics.

There was no Palestine then, only southern Syria. Until 1967 I never heard an Arab say “I am a Palestinian”. They always referred to themselves only as Arabs. After the 1967 defeat, it became fashionable to be a Palestinian.

Peace? Yes, peace. Peace for Palestinians in a future Palestinian state and peace for Jews in the Jewish State of Israel.
A lasting peace. A peace without terrorism, incitement, racism or hatred. A genuine peace. It may be a cool peace like the peace we have with Egypt and with Jordan. But it is peace, nevertheless.

The editor of the New York newspaper ended his comments, writing “Erekat’s and Odeh’s actions add yet another day of failure to the Israeli-Palestinian ledger. Maybe the way out is a few days of common sense strung together. We’re not holding our breath”.

Neither am I.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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