How my countrymen gave up the hope for real peace, and how they can get it back.
Demonstrators sing peace songs during a rally in Tel Aviv in 2002. Quique Kierszenbaum/Getty Images.
These words are printed in three languages, loud and clear, on big red signs beside Israeli roads leading to Palestinian-governed territories:
This road leads to Area “A” under the Palestinian Authority. Entry for Israeli citizens is forbidden, life-threatening, and against Israeli law.
The warning is unlikely to shock anyone familiar with Israel today. As those of us who live here know all too well, a trip inside one of these areas can indeed prove fatal.
Yet the term “Israeli citizens” belies a deeply unsettling truth: not all Israelis need avoid entering these areas. Israeli Arabs come and go freely, and are even encouraged to conduct business in the territories. Only Jewish Israelis are at risk of death. No less unsettling is that one encounters such signs not at distant outposts, far from densely populated Jewish towns, but on the fringes of Jerusalem and the outskirts of Tel Aviv, just a few miles from Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Israeli Jews have resigned themselves to this reality. Under the laws of our own government, areas within what we consider our ancient national homeland are simply off-limits to Jews. We are not taken aback by this circumstance, not even disturbed. When the Palestinian Authority names central streets after suicide bombers with Jewish blood on their hands, we don’t think twice about it. And when we talk about a Palestinian state, we take it for granted that Jews will not be allowed to live there—or that, if allowed, they would never feel safe enough to do so.
To be sure, in the latest round of negotiations headed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, all sorts of suggestions have been floated for normalizing relations between Israelis and Palestinians. At the end of January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went so far as to raise the prospect of Jewish settlers having the right to remain in a future Palestinian state. But the outcry of protest from his own coalition partners, together with the longstanding stony refusal of Palestinian leaders even to consider the notion of a single Israeli Jew living in their prospective state, has only underlined the grotesque abnormality of our situation.
Correcting this fundamental abnormality is what lies behind Netanyahu’s repeated demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Maintaining it in place is what lies behind their repeated rejection of the same demand. This—not territory—is the essence of the conflict. Just as the very existence of a sovereign Jewish state in the Middle East has been the root cause of the long-running Arab war against that state, accepting its existence will be the root cause of any future peace.
Unfortunately, we Israelis have stopped hoping for such a peace. In the disastrous aftermath of the Oslo accords, having awakened from a false dream, we have become realistic. We don’t talk much about peace—tellingly, what in the 1990s was called the “peace process” is now routinely referred to as the “political process”—and even when we use the term, we mean something different by it. We speak not of Arab acceptance of our legitimacy and our national aspirations but of how to arrange affairs so that the Jewish state can be kept safe, and the conflict confined. The hope that our neighbors will put aside their animosity and accept our presence here as right and natural—the hope, that is, for true peace—is something we have abandoned.
In doing so, we have also lost something that is key to our sense of ourselves, and to our future.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
Feb 02, 2020 0The remarks from the US official came in wake of the Palestinian decision to reject the administration’s peace plan. US PRESIDENT Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrive to...
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.