Roger Cohen, writing in Cairo’s Daily Star described a trip through Israel in which he encountered endless barriers to the free movement of Palestinians. He observed that one goes through beautiful terraced landscapes that belong to Jewish settlers while Palestinians gaze on in anger at the sight of their lost land now settled by strangers.
Cohen castigates Palestinians for their failure to act when opportunities were available, and for that ‘Palestinians must take responsibility.” But, too many so-called friends of Israel do damage to that nation by remaining quiet in the face of Israeli inaction. “The West Bank after 40 years,” as Cohen notes, “under Israel control is a shameful place. If this is the price of Israel security, it is unacceptable.” Jewish pioneers carved beauty out of the desert by employing their creative talents. This generation of Israelis is devoid of creative thinking. A continuing problem is demanding pre-conditions for negotiation or insisting all violence cease before talking. On might argue such demands are necessary, but one might also argue small steps eventually may lead to larger ones. The reality of the Palestinian-Israel divide is that a developmental process in which security is built in small steps offers better hope for a peaceful future.
I realize those supporting present Israel policies will decry my comments as being naive because in their view all Palestinians are violent and seek only the destruction of Israel. If one takes that stance, there is no hope because forces hating Israel will always be present. Since there is no perfect solution, one must initiate negotiations in the ambiguity of hope. Ireland witnessed a forty year struggle that eventually was resolved. The resolution took time, and it required former enemies who had hate in their hearts to trust those with whom they had been fighting. We need creative thinking Israel leaders to enter into the ambiguity of peace. Time is NOT on Israel’s side. The time is act is now.
Cairo Daily Star, June 7, 2007, “Creating a Failed State In Palestine”