The Opponents of Peace
It is customary to think that those opposing peace are those who blow themselves up in buses, restaurants and shopping malls. It is also customary to think that liquidations, closures, checkpoints, road blocks and the harassment of civilian population create opposition to peace on the Palestinian side, but this is simply incorrect
The real opponents to peace are those who dream about the Historic Land of Israel and are prepared to toil day and night to see this dream fulfilled. They are those who live in constant fear of terrorist attacks on West bank and Gaza roads but still they go on. They are those who lose their spouses and children but continue to believe in the vision of conquering the land. They are those who preach daily and every Sabbath in synagogues on the need to maintain control of the Historic Land of Israel. They are those who rise early and asleep late as they move rocks and clear barren land in West Bank hills and Gaza strip dunes with their own blistered hands.
Opponents to peace are those who go from house to house within the green line (pre 1967 border) to convince Israelis of the importance of Gaza Strip to the security of Israel, contrary to the views held by the government and the army; they are those who hold hands and form a live chain of over 130,000 people from Gaza to Jerusalem; they are those who overtake Palestinians held up for hours at road blocks; they are those whose red tiled houses, green gardens and playgrounds overlook meager Palestinian shanties.
- We are unaware of the gigantic efforts invested in the Historic Land of Israel dream.
- We are unaware of the gigantic headquarters set up for the Historic Land of Israel dream.
- We are unaware of the tens of thousands of anti-disengagement activists.
- We are unaware of over 250,000 settlers "enlisted" to persuade 1,500,000 citizens of
Israel to oppose dismantling settlements and reject any territorial compromise.
They will win and they will lose, and we will all be pay the price.
The settlers will attain deferment for a year or two, perhaps succeed in convincing most of the Israeli public to oppose compromise but they will not succeed in convincing Palestinians to consent to living under occupation. They will not succeed in averting Palestinian despair or blocking legitimate Palestinian resistance to the occupation. The settlers will not succeed in preventing deaths on both sides and sanctions against Israel by the world.
The terrible tragedy stems from the human quality of the settlers, their deep inner conviction that they are the true Zionists and genuinely love Israel. The real tragedy lies in the quality and faith of the Palestinian fighters who wholeheartedly believe that they must fight for their homeland. The tragedy gathers momentum and assumes one shape or another by the readiness of each side to self sacrifice. The settlers are prepared to sacrifice the lives of their children, their families and themselves, and the Palestinians are equally prepared to sacrifice the lives of their children, their families and themselves. It seems as if two trains are rolling towards each other on the same rail track with predictable results. No one asks the right questions, no one shows both sides the cost of this lunacy and it seems as if both sides fully understand the price they will have to pay but have agreed to be killed if only to prove to the other who owns the rail track.
Peace opponents are people of quality, values, virtues, generosity and vision. They radiate purity, serenity and dedication, and are easily likeable. They radiate love of country and people, and are a model for imitation by young people. Had it not been for the terrible injustice of their actions I dare say they are the model of a loyal and devoted citizen.
They live as an integrated homogenous group whose ideology bonds them together. One for all and all for one; "I am what I am because you are what you are, and you are what you are because I am what I am". The cognitive symbiosis as a society is absolute. They cover for each other, they support each other, they have their own codes and they have a different scale of values which they believe to be total and perfect. Life, in their eyes, is not in their hands but in God's; the land too belongs to God and therefore if they lose their lives for the land they regard it as sacrifice for a vision of the inner and true faith that is insurmountable in the worship of God. They have religious leaders who encourage them; they marry each other; they live in supportive communities; and earn the respect of most people. The ever changing Israeli governments have also supported them; they have extensive representation in the Knesset; receive billions of dollars in donations from American billionaires and from millionaires around the world; their settlements thrive and they enjoy an excellent system of education and health for their children. Driven by their messianic vision and faith they are prepared to live years on years in narrow caravans and raise their children in crowded conditions
Their greatest fear is not of terror, injury or death. Their worst nightmares and terrible fear is their fear of peace and its price of territorial compromise.
They are the real opponents of peace.
The question is now asked - what should be done next. One must understand that the battle is on public opinion. If we break down the data of the Israeli population, 20% are Israeli Arabs and 15% are extreme messianic and revisionist right wing. The balance of 65% is those who must be addressed and influenced. Today this public predominantly supports the settlers and the idea of the Historic Land of Israel but its decisions were based on misleading information. Had that public been aware of the terrible truths of occupation, the terrible Palestinian tragedy; or that most Palestinians wish to live in good neighborly relations alongside Israel, this knowledge would have persuaded Israelis to come forth and support dismantling the settlements in exchange for reconciliation and peace.
The most important goal today is to visualize to the public in Israel the real situation on the Palestinian side and its sincere wish for reconciliation and peace.