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Strength is Vital, But Not Sufficient

Reader comment on item: Israel's Unnecessary War in Lebanon

Submitted by Sophia Gates (United States), Jul 18, 2006 at 13:31

In hindsight, the Oslo Accords and the withdrawal and all the idealistic attempts to reason with people whose true agenda is genocidal, were doomed from the start. And nor did they solve the underlying cause of the conflict, because the best of intentions failed to change peoples' hearts.

I saw a few sentences on an Arab blog the other day. The commentator was remarking on the fact that to the Israelis, the Arabs represent a "headache", whom they'd rather not fight at all; but to the Arabs, the Israel - Jews - are a cancer. And the constant vicious propaganda, the blood libels and Nazi style bigotry, the conspiracy theories, can't be fought with swords or with words or with good intentions.

Still, these were worthy and honorable efforts. They showed good intentions, they revealed that Israel was willing to drag her own citizens out of their homes, risk terrific civil dissent, in the cause of peace. I am sure this hasn't been in vain. There are encouraging signs of growth and moderation within the Arab world; many blame Hizbollah for the present war - a real breakthough in Arab/Israeli relations. And these small steps must be encouraged. People travel, acquire education in the West, we can talk to each other on the 'net. Economic and diplomatic ties can be fostered; Israel will come to be seen as a key to the future rather than as a threat - in time - indeed, as the Zionists were originally seen by Arab visionaries.

For now, people need to start talking RATIONALLY AND REALISTICALLY about what can be done to help the Palestinian people without harming the Israelis. Thus far, the so-called peace plans haven't satisfied the Palestinians, yet they all involve creating new victims: the Israelis. Therefore they won't work.

Some cold light needs to shine on the map. The sheer numbers of people vs. the area involved, the fragile ecosystem, the irrationality of trying to force hundreds of thousands of Israelis to move back behind the Green Line, of creating another Judenrein Arab state which in any case the Palestinians reject as "non-viable", really needs to be illuminated. Even with the best of intentions it's clear that such ideas won't help. A Palestinian state on the West Bank that would include its Jewish residents, that would be peaceful, linked economically to Israel, Egypt and Jordan, could be excellent - but even that would have its limits economically.

Yet, the Arab world is huge and rich in resources. There must be a solution! But the longer the UN persists in maintaining the illusion that people are "refugees" generations after the initial event, and the longer people believe that all would be well "if only you would give the Palestinians a proper state," and the longer people in the camps remain unsettled, the longer the problems and the violence will persist.

States aren't "given", they're created. And they're not viable based on topography either: states exist on islands, in the snow, in deserts. States are viable, or not, because people work to make them healthy, peaceful and prosperous. Yet we see state after state around the world, which are failing - states with ample space, ample resources. Why?

Gaza has been such an incredible disappointment - why? Because people used it not as the beginning of a peaceful and prosperous state, but as a platform to launch rockets over the fence. The proPalestinian lobby needs to get a grip right now and accept this reality, otherwise their tirades against Israel begin to look like pure bigotry. An acceptance of the fact that this isn't legitimate "resistance", in fact an acceptance that violent "resistance", is WRONG at this point, would be an excellent beginning. It's time to concentrate instead on the arts of peace.


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