I greatly admire Jane Eisner’s humanism and concern for the Other.
However, while I wish that Israel living next to a peaceful, friendly nation, I don’t see it there.
Can you imagine what would have happened if Israel had lost the 1967 war or any of the conflicts thereafter? Celebrating natives would have pushed the last one of us into the ocean and not one of them would have had regrets fifty years later as they celebrated the unification of their state. Nor would the demonization of us as Jews and as people have ended with the destruction of all in Israel. Also in the crosshairs: the western value system brought by Israelis to the region and the Jewish State’s attempt at accepting all equally — unlike surrounding countries.
There could have been peace multiple times – if anyone on the other side really wanted it. The Clinton deal would have almost established a corridor-like connection between Gaza and the West Bank, something that possibly could have led to the loss of the Negev subsequently, but Arafat managed to walk away from that as it didn’t go far enough to please him or the multitudes he had to please. There have been other opportunities, too many to go through here, but they were rejected.
I feel sorry for those whose lives have been twisted so that their goals, their very existence, hangs on the destruction of Israel to give birth to the place in which they fantasize they want to live. I feel sorry for a people who celebrate the death of Israelis and reward the murderers or the survivors of the murderers, as their values are those of death, not life. I feel sorry for the children, whose parents encourage the goal of martyrdom rather than a life of improving humanity through scholarship or law or medicine or even business. And I feel sorry for Israelis, fearing for the future of their children.
I wish the situation was different. That a peace-loving group of Palestinians would join together with like-minded leaders. I wish that this group would then reach out to an Israeli government able to grasp the opportunity and make it real. But, with every stabbing and every martyr funded by the Palestinian leadership, those in Israel who would reach out to make peace look more and more foolish and unrealistic.
I blame the Palestinians and their leaders for the so-called occupation. I blame the other Arab nations who encourage this fantasy to strengthen their control over their own people and deflect attention from domestic problems.
But, I do applaud Eisner’s humanity and thank her for expressing it. I just don’t think she is correct.
Janyce C. Katz is an Ohio lawyer.