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Max Roytenberg

Max Roytenberg: Peace, the Palestinians and Platitudes

Max Roytenberg, posted Jan 24, 2013

It is astounding to me to read in this publication, and in so many others, a continuing flow of serious presentations by apparently rational people, talking about “peace with the Palestinians”. Are these people living in the same world as I am?
Where is there one representative Palestinian, or one Arab representative, that speaks of any possible relationship with the Jewish State that is based on an arrangement that will provide for Israel’s continued existence? The best one can hear contemplated is a situation where there will be such a flow of Arabs into the State that it will cease to have its Jewish character. And we know what that would be a prelude to. We only hear of concessions to be made by Israel. We never hear of what Arab representatives would bring to the table except by Jewish proponents on the left who are “dreaming in technicolor”.
This position, intransigence by the Palestinians and the Arab world, is being continually fostered by our “friends” who are totally insensitive-are they deaf, dumb and blind-to the reality that the Palestinian representatives are advocating the total disappearance of the State-even the total disappearance of Jews. Yet they urge the government of Israel to refrain from actions which might “create obstacles to a resumption of the peace process”. The Palestinian Authority just tore up the central tenet of the Oslo accords and Israel is being harangued to comply with its tenets. Such blindness is no accident. Such blindness is not just a misunderstanding. This asymmetric view of the situation is a symptom of the weariness of the world with the “ Israel problem” in the same way it was once weary with the “Jewish problem” for which it could find no other solution but an acquiescence to the Holocaust.
To me, what is insufferable is that we hear the same stories parroted by those purporting to speak for us as Jews. I am reminded of our Jewish representatives in the ghettos, particularly the Warsaw ghetto, who collaborated with the Nazis to deliver up contingents of Jews for shipment to the death camps. Those unfortunates, who struggled with their consciences to ensure their personal survival for another day, persuaded themselves they were pursuing a worthwhile cause, or they might have advanced the argument that they did not know. Now that Obama has proposed Hagel for Secretary of Defence, what do their American ilk have to say? Why, the man is an American hero is he not, even though he accuses American Jews supporting Israel of disloyalty, and believes Iran should have the bomb. These are the same people seeking a compliant Israel fostering its own destruction.
In the Israel of today, the residents of the central core, where the bulk of the population reside, are in many ways insulated from the hostility of jihadi elements in the West Bank and Gaza. Though the young are present everywhere in full military regalia, automatic weapons carried on their shoulders, Jews live cheek by jowl with their Arab fellow citizens without the slightest indication of discomfort or fear. They have not, in recent memory, come face to face with the life and death reality of the Second Intifada, or the missiles that terrorized the inhabitants of the northern and southern portions of the country. They learn mainly about this outside world through their media.
In this region reside those dreamers of the Peace Now movement, now largely discredited by the reality of Arab intransigence. But, here are still mounted the fairy tales we want in our hearts to believe, that there are concessions to be offered that will gain a peaceful arrangement with the Arab side. It is not possible to have a rational discussion with believers, who seem, more and more, to be dominating the Arab side. .The evidence of recent election polling in Israel speaks to the change in public attitudes in this respect. But that empathy, perhaps flowing from being Jewish, that wishes and articulates for the Arabs what they should want to ensure for themselves, better lives, continues to motivate many to believe they can find the route to communion with an Arab base, who if they are there, are not in possession of the levers of power.

Could it be, that in the heart of this society of which most of us know so little, such options are not conceivable?, Could it be that this society is so closed off from the world we know, that the misery of their present lives appears immutable and the option of a better life is not conceivable ? Could this be why the celebration of death in the common mind is so omnipresent, and the delights of the afterlife are so attractive in this untutored milieu, offering a religious ecstasy even to the instructed? There may exist no conception of the better life we aspire to for ourselves and some dream we could offer our Arab neighbours if only we were more generous and forgiving. .


So we hear the platitudes. peace with the Palestinians is within our grasp.  If only Israel would cease to build apartments in East Jerusalem. If only Israeli politicians would not be so inflammatory in the face of Arab intransigence. If only Israeli settlers would not behave in kind with those who seek to terrorize them. If only Israel would not be so pro-active in defending its people. If only Bibi would be more polite to Obama when he proposes things that would endanger Israel security, that encourage Arab intransigence, that encourage Iran to achieve nuclear capability, when he behaves in ways that insult the elected leader of a sovereign nation. If only we would cease being Jewish.
As if any of these things touch on the basic issue, the refusal of the Arab world to accept the reality of Israel from the first day of its inception. As if the murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel was not incited every day. But then, they don’t really mean that, do they? Five wars were fought, but they were a mistake because the Arabs were just kidding?.
Wake up to the news! The Palestinian Arabs do not want a state unless it means Israel will be gone. Palestinians did not even exist as a people until Jordan and Egypt were driven out. They have steadfastly resisted building the institutions necessary to create a viable state even with assistance offered by Israel. They have fostered internal strife by persecuting Arab Christians. They seek to discard the only people who act to build their economy, which has advanced through the imposition of law and order by Israel. They do not want the responsibility of governing another failed entity like Gaza.
Their leaders want Palestinians to remain homeless refugees supported by a world they have taken hostage with the power they have acquired through fellow Arabs’ oil trillions. (Oil independence cannot come soon enough.) They want this even though it means their millions will remain without rights and in poverty. Even though this would not change if Israel were to be gone. The better life that Arab citizens of Israel live compared with those outside the State on this side of the Jordan and on the other side as well, and the relative tranquillity of life in Israel, speaks to that. We saw what happened to the Gaza infrastructure that Israel abandoned, whose transfer was financed, probably, by the same Jews who urge more dangerous concessions on Israel. And we saw what happened to living standards in Gaza under Hamas rule.
These are dangerous times for Israel and the Jewish people. We urgently need to find a way to digest the challenges we face and find ways to build Jewish solidarity for Am Yisroel.  
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