Several weeks ago Rocky Mountain Jew asked readers for their opinions on the Middle East, well, peace process or conflict, depending on one’s point of view.
The conversation started from a reasonable question: what could theoretically replace the peace process? It’s not unusual to read op-eds or letters to the editor denouncing “sell-outs” or those who “negotiate with terrorists”. But is there an alternative?
For our readers, seemingly the only option is for Israel to bow out of any kind of negotiations and reassert herself militarily. As William Eigles succintly wrote, “There is no stable diplomatic solution to what is essentially a religio-ethnic contest for sovereign control over the landmass that comprises the State of Israel.”
‘Aplomb Denver’ begins where many do in explaining the background to the conflict: “Perhaps the first thing to do is to be candid about what that ‘situation’ is in Israel and the surrounding territory. Israel should not even exist and the war cry of many in the middle east is to blow the Jewish state right off the map. Even children are lauded as heroes if they blow themselves up in the process of killing Jews.”
Aplomb really sets the stage here: if this is indeed true, the only way peace could come about is from a fundmental change at the most rudimentary level. If children are raised to hate and believe in destruction, there truly is no hope for change.
Ben M. suggests Israel must “hang tough.” After all, as he so rightly points out, if neither the left nor the right were able to bring about peace, who will?
Dr. Neil Dobro says, “Ironically, if the terrorists are soundly beaten, they will talk peace for real. As a matter of historic fact, negotiations are only effective when one or both sides changes the initial aspirations it had when the war began. Israel aspires only to exist. The Arab side aspires to have Israel’s existence terminated.”
Negotiations can also be successful if one partner can no longer sustain its aspirations, such as was the case with the former Soviet Union. The system was rotting from within.
Here’s where Ben M.’s “hang tough” comes into play: Israel must continue to believe in herself and her aspiration if she is to continue to exist.
Adrian Bernal uses the more traditional religious argument, that Jews are entitled, biblically sepaking, to Israel. “As for Israel . . . it’s the inheritance of the twelve tribes of Jacob (Israel). Has any country in the history of the world ever given back the land they captured.”
Well, actually, yes. We used the Cold War as an example above, and again it is applicable. Though the West won that conflict, the newly-unified Germany ceded all rights to Polish lands that were once German. Notwithstanding, we do understand Bernal’s point, that typically land won is not land returned. However Rocky Mountain Jew doesn’t believe in using arguments of religious entitlement regarding the modern State of Israel. The kind of suffering the Arab-Israeli conflict has brought about makes us wonder about the State’s divinity.
The comment that we found most poignant, and perhaps most true, was from Phil Waters. “If Jewish Israelis are so tired of fighting their enemies (as Olmert famously said) that they do not have the will to continue the fight in the spirit of the six-day war, then, short of the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, there is no hope for the country and their people.”
This is what it all boils down to: belief in and dedication to statehood. Which sadly, seems to be fast dwindling. Perhaps what threatens Israel most is the fact that so many Israeli are leaving, moving abroad to pursue a higher quality of life. And this is happening because the conflict is ripping the country apart.
Which brings us full circle…is there a solution to this conflict, so that Israel and Israelis can get back to building a country and leading successful, fruitful lives.