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This is not a war.

Reader comment on item: Israel Shuns Victory

Submitted by Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai (India), Mar 28, 2006 at 12:33

Dear Mr. Pipes,

I will relate a real life story to compare with the despair of Palestinians. While I was in my early teens, I was passing through a deserted street in Bombay and found a group of people gathered in a circle playing some game. I stopped to observe. They were playing the smart game of shuffling of 3 cards. I tested my skill and found I could correctly follow the marked card through their shuffling. Encouraged, I bet one rupee, which if I had judged correctly would have been given back to me with another rupee. Naturally I lost. But I did not lose my cool. I again bet another rupee, thinking if I win two rupees I will be even. I lost the second rupee too. This time I panicked. The cash belonged to my mother and she had given me to buy some household item. I bet another two rupees this time. I thought, I will get four and I will be quits. But I lost those two rupees too. In despair I started crying loudly. Some local patriarch heard my cries and came over. When I told him that they 'robbed' me of my four rupees and my mother will kill me for that; the old man exhorted the criminal gang to give me back the money and they should be ashamed trying to milk a teenager. They should have figured out that he will not go home without money and he would go to police. So you all would be in trouble. The gang felt they really chose a wrong person to victimize and their chief gave me one big slap on the face and returned my 4 rupees. I ran for my home and never ever played any card game. I do not know any card games.

I feel Palestinians in 1948 thought by ganging up on the newly established Jewish State, they can get back their land. They lost some. They fought again and again lost some more. A third time and they lost still more. Israelis who were winning the game could not figure out that they cannot go on winning and cannot keep their winnings for all time to come. Their victim will not go home. He wants his stake back. Till Israelis sober up and find a solution, the stalemate will continue. Both sides have their rights and their wrongs. But the fundamental point is that Israelis cannot digest their victories. They will have to compromise and offer peace. They will have to go back to their 1948 borders and forget they ever had wars. It is only then that peace will return to the Holy land. I am sure, once chastised; Palestinians will never again underestimate Israel and will not think of playing the game that they can never win.

So Mr. Pipes, keep aside all your alternatives. Stop shuffling and go for peace. The British had favored Israel and gave in 1948 whatever they considered appropriate. You should be thankful to them and G-d Almighty. With legitimacy in any peace-settlement, Israelis can be assured of peace for a long time and for generations to come. This is my humble advice. I hope Kadima too is listening.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
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