Beyond the Cusp

May 18, 2014

Can Israel Move Forward Without Peace with Palestinians?

Whether or not the Israeli people and government can move on with life after the breakdown of the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority mediated by the United States is a larger issue than most would believe. The problem is not whether the Israeli nation, people and government will continue on, as there is no doubt they will, but whether it will be possible for all three to take the necessary steps and express and support needful positions that will serve their homeland and facilitate the storybook ending of, ‘they lived happily ever after.’ The one response which they must avoid and should be guarded against is functional political paralysis, a disease which prevents the afflicted from taking steps in their own interest due to their insecurity and predisposition to be assured of a general acceptance of their intentions before committing to any act. This is the form of insanity which most often strikes down even the fiercest warrior once they take on the political mantle of unrivaled leadership, also known as Prime Minister or part of the Security Cabinet. Nobody can doubt the bravery in the field of battle of the likes of former Prime Ministers Sharon and Barak and present Prime Minister Netanyahu. Both men served in exemplary leadership positions in the IDF and served in elite units. Despite their military success and laudable leadership they displayed by their service, all appeared to be struck with a form of cowardice in pushing forward with a purely pro-Israeli and pro-Jewish action plans and instead showed hesitation and eventually showed signs of surrender and fatigue causing them to shrink from taking bold, Israel-first type actions. Almost every Israeli Prime Minister since the onset of the Oslo Accords has shrunk from confrontational actions instead committing themselves to a series of surrenders through concessionary measures collapsing before foreign impositions and demands often from supposed friendly nations such as the United States. These choices have done far more damage than the actual surrender of lands, positions, advantages and even the enforcement of security for the Israeli people; they have sacrificed respect for Israel and for Jews in general. It could even be stated that the high levels of anti-Semitism in the world is partially caused by the timidity of Israeli policies, especially in relations with the Palestinians.

 

Should one look back throughout the entirety of the Jewish People’s history they would find that the Jewish People experienced times of great honor and accomplishment and periods of destitution and disgrace before their enemies. The actions of the Jewish People often would follow similar lines during the periods of great accomplishment and independence as well as following an opposite and contrary line during times of destitution, affliction and subjugation. During the epochs of triumph such as under the guidance of King David and King Solomon the Jewish People stood proudly and defended their way of life and bowed before no enemy. During the times of duress the Jewish People often knelt before adversity, whining and slinking in the shadows attempting to make themselves so little as not to be seen. The attempts to hide from their afflictions never produced the hoped for security of inconspicuous anonymity while the times depicted by pride and bold defense of their heritage, lands and treasure produced great strides and the protection of placing fear in the hearts of their enemies. This was very true in Biblical times and is just as applicable today in the modern era. There is another item which has gone along with these two mutually exclusive societal personae borne by the Jewish People. Over the years, their worship of the L0rd their G0d and the commitment to His Commandments was evidenced as an intrinsic and central pillar in their lives during times of high self-esteem but with time this faithfulness would diminish and with it take their bold defense of self. During times of duress the trend was in the opposite direction with the initiating period was always one where their faithfulness and relations with G0d waned and their self-worth wanes in kind thus relieving the Jewish People of their strength and ability to defend against their enemies. After their inevitable collapse they would slowly repent and realize that their strength and salvation came through their love for the L0rd their G0d and with that faithfulness and love came the roots and embodiment of their strength and dignity which inevitably led them out of their enslavement or oppressive period into an awakening and return to times of great promise.

 

The Jewish People’s history is filled with great miracles and the overcoming of unfathomable odds against them yet at other times the Jewish People appeared incapable of even the simplest tasks of self-rule or even defense of the people and the State. The short history of modern day Israel is an illustration in real life of these conditions. The modern State of Israel actually had its beginning even before the first Zionist Congress which was held in Basel, Switzerland, during late August 1897. Jews had resided in the Holy Lands continuously from the return to Eretz Yisroel resulting from the Exodus out of Egypt and subsequent to the forty years of wandering in the desert. The first signs of a return of the Jews of the Diaspora came in the mid to late 1800s. The first victory in the Jewish struggle to reestablish their native homelands came in 1917 with the ratification of the Balfour Declaration and was further cemented in the declaration from the San Remo Conference held in mid-April 1920. This also established the Mandate system giving the British rule and control over the areas which were reserved for the formation of the Jewish homelands. Leading up to the onset of World War II the Jewish People in general did not take a very active participation in the Zionist movement as mostly they were content in their mostly assimilated lives in Europe and the Middle East and North Africa. This lack of driving desires to reestablish the Jewish homelands may have had some influence on the British allowing them to found an additional Arab State of Transjordan (later to become simply Jordan) within the Mandate for Palestine which was set aside for a Jewish State. The British went even further and made an agreement with Arab leadership to constrain Jewish emigrations such that the Arab Muslim population would always be more significant than the numbers of Jews thus never permitting the conditions for the Jewish homelands to become viable. After the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust, the Jewish People in Europe finally found within them a Zionist spark which was largely driven by their fears and feelings of unacceptability in European society. This led directly to the formation of Israel in May of 1948 which in turn led to the expulsion of most of the Jewish population existing within the Arab and Muslim worlds. Despite not all of the expulsions not being mandatory, when the situational oppressions, depravations, pogroms and persecution attained unbearable levels, the Jews often chose to leave despite the requirement that they leave their savings, treasures, valuables, businesses and homes without receiving any monetary recompense and often limited to a couple of suitcases per Jew to take with them. Many Jews simply packed some clothing, their prayer books, Tefillin and Tallit and left everything else behind. Those who made their way to Israel often had sworn to themselves that never again would they face such deprivations. So, the truth is that Israel was settled by an equal numbers of European Jews and Middle East and North African Jews.

 

Immediately after Israel declared her independence, the combined armies from more than a half-dozen Arab states declared a genocidal war and invaded the almost twelve hour old State of Israel. The Jews who were survivors from the European madness and from Arab denigrations and evictions were of a mind that they would fight as if there was no tomorrow. This tenacity and bravado was part of the inspirational reassurance which drove them to victory despite overwhelming odds. This do or die attitude continued through the Six Day War in June of 1967 and beyond. It was sometime soon after the onset of the Oslo Accords in September 1993 that the Israelis became almost exclusively defensive leading to a loss of faith and belief in their rights to their ancient homelands. It has been this encouragement cowardice which has eroded Israeli standing in the world. Much of the world appears to have adopted a view of why should we defend or protect Israel if the Jews themselves no longer care to defend or protect Israel. This is why the comments and degradations from leading Jews such as Martin Indyk, Milton Freidman, Jeremy Ben-Ami and Daniel Levy when they condemn and criticize Israeli citizens such as those who reside in Judea and Samaria and denounce decisions made by the Knesset or the Prime Minister have such an impact on the general conversation. By making these spurious accusations they provide others who have an open desire to delegitimize Israel with ammunition which is of incredible value as what could verify your vilifications of Israel more than having a Jewish source for your criticisms.

 

Where these Jewish degraders of Israel can and should be opposed but this is where another situation has set itself against Israel. There are those amongst the political leadership in Israel who will utilize the accusations and insults of these Jewish defamers of Israel as a means to attack their political opposition this giving even more ammunition to those who are a part of the blame Israeli first, last and only crowd.  This all is fair in politics attitude that leads to wide fissures in the Israeli body politic and has, especially in recent history, produced an immunity for those who are in the opposition which grants them free reign to criticize those in power, especially if those in power are nationalist, Zionist or overtly Israel Firsters. I have often thought Israel First would be an appropriate name for a political Party but then I realize how much fun Haaretz and other leftist news sources within Israel would have with such a name, not to mention the conniption fits the Europeans would experience just hearing such a title. At some point the Israeli political echelons are going to have to realize that they have to put aside their differences when it comes to defending Israel and the Israeli people, all the Israeli people. Expressing differences on internal issues such as the economy, taxes and most laws is all well and good, but when it comes to opposing terrorists who wish to murder every Israeli, don’t you think we might be able to form a singular position that opposes such views and the people who hold them? Supporting entities and calling for including them in negotiations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad is likely just a plea to be placed near the end of the list for eradication, as nothing you say, even to fully supporting their genocidal aims, will save you in the end, you may just get to watch everyone else be slaughtered, but in the end you too will pay the price. We are one people and need to speak as one people when it comes to the existence of Israel as our home. That does not mean that nobody else can find a space to call home amongst us as the Torah is quite precise on the treatment of the stranger, they are to be welcomed and treated as one of our own, which may not be quite as pleasant as it sounds. But in order to show hospitality, we first need Israel in which to provide our welcoming posture. We all need to think and decide whether or not each criticism, each ridicule, each denunciation is really necessary and will serve a purpose to advance Israel and not advance our own title and reputation at the expense of Eretz Yisroel. Is that really too much to ask?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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