11/20/07

Will These Peace Talks be Followed by Another Intifada?

CNN reports: JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will travel to Annapolis, Maryland, next week where they hope to jump-start the long-dormant Mideast peace process.

As a historian I'd have to say, sadly, these talks will fail and will be followed by another round of hostility.

Reposting from 5/8/05. A lot has transpired since then:

Wanted: Pragmatic Religious Zionists...

I took my family through the Gaza strip on the way into Egypt by bus in 1983. We crossed the border at Rafah. Back then in Gaza I could not imagine why any Jew would want to live there among more that a million Arabs. After all there were thousands of other amazing options in the modern State of Israel.

After more than 30 years the Jewish Gaza settlers have done little or nothing to make their choice of address more appealing to me. They have not created a better world or a better Israel by living as they put it, "Wherever we want in our land."

Now the nationalist right-wing government of Sharon wants to move them out of Gaza. In response these "pioneers" threaten to bring 100,000 protesters to oppose that move.


I appeal to the overwhelmingly Orthodox Gaza settlers in both religious and historical terms. Be pragmatic.

Religiously: You say God wants you in Gaza. I say he doesn't want you in Gaza. Go prove me wrong. Moses warned the tribes in Deuteronomy 9 not to be arrogant. He told them not to think that God owed them a thing. He said about the conquest of the land from its native inhabitants, "Speak not in your heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before you, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land."

Historically: Consider the context of our people's history. God saved us from the ovens of Auschwitz and he brought us to the Promised Land. Look all around at the miraculous State of Israel. Skyscrapers, theaters, factories, museums, universities, yeshivas, blooming deserts, paved superhighways. There are thousands of challenges and options that stand open before you.

Yet as you seem to ignore all this it recalls to me some of our stiff-necked ancestors who ignored the miracles of the exodus from bondage and splitting of the sea.

It's high time for even the most religiously motivated Zionists to become more politically pragmatic.

1 comment:

Bryce said...

"As a historian I'd have to say, sadly, these talks will fail and will be followed by another round of hostility.

I know this is unusual for me, but I have to express my agreement. Though I wish we were both wrong.

"Religiously: You say God wants you in Gaza. I say he doesn't want you in Gaza. Go prove me wrong. (You then bring a few verses.)"

It is too easy to bring verses to support the 'settlers' side, so I won't even bother.