Israel Wants Peace, Political Moderation

July 18, 2008 at 4:22 pm | Posted in Peace Process, Security | Leave a comment

Make no mistake: the Hamas takeover in Gaza is not different from the Islamic revolution of Iran and the former Taliban’s role in Afghanistan, because the final goal of Hamas is not independent Palestine but Islamic Empire in the Middle East. However, the hope that emerges from this chaos in Gaza is that the national secular government of Mahmoud Abbas will finally understand the real enemy of Palestinians is not Israel but violence and terrorism.

Many people forget that immediately after the Six-Day War of 1967 that the Israeli government offered to return all lands gained, including Gaza and the West Bank, but the stark Arab answer was “no to peace, no to recognition of Israel and no to negotiation.” In May 2000, President Clinton, Prime Minister Barak, and Chairman Arafat were two yards away from the agreement but they failed and the second Palestinian uprising started thereafter.

Before the violent Hamas takeover started, we were debating in Israel if giving Gaza to some kind of international trust will do away with the violence and anarchy that started after our complete withdrawal from the entire Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Hamas was being built by Iran to be the next Hezbollah and to start a war similar to the one we just had in Lebanon last summer.

It is important for me to reiterate what very moderate Palestinian should know: that most Israelis do not want to see a Palestinian civil war. We know perfectly well the value of human life and understand that unrest in Israel, too. But as we learned from our own history in Israel, no stable country can survive if the central government is not the sole military power. The Palestinian president needs to live by his own campaign slogan: “one nation, one armed force.”

Gaza and Sderot are not fighting each other, but anarchy in Gaza is creating violence that does not differentiate between Palestinian kids in Gaza or Israeli kids in Sderot. It is so sad to hear the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad declaring that Israeli occupation needs to be reinstalled to prevent a Palestinian civil war. That instead of saying peace and nonviolence is the only way to prepare the human and material infrastructure to the future Palestinian state.

I was too young during the Six-Day War to remember anything, but I still keep the postcards from the front that my uncle, Waleed, sent my family. In these postcards he always asked about me and hoped that, when I am older, the draft will be ended and war will be over. That is still a very common prayer in Israel. My uncle’s wish was not granted, I was drafted, as well as his three sons, and more wards have followed. But the hope is still alive, and now it is the prayer of my generation that our kids will not go to war and that the draft in Israel will be ended. But this will be the challenge of our time: to make moderation prevail over extremism and make sure that these floods of violence in the Middle East end soon.

Article appeared in the Nashville Tennessean on June 26th, 2007

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