Peace is an interesting term when dealing with the Israeli-Arab conflict, mostly because it asks everyone involved in the process or living in the area in question to take history and toss it out the window.
I want peace, for my children, for myself, for my fellow citizens and I even want peace for the Palestinians. However, I do not want peace at any price, especially not at the price of committing national suicide. I know the majority of Israelis feel the same. I know a majority of us are also willing to make great compromises for true peace.
Attaining peace in this conflict is far simpler than people make it out to be. It takes the recognition of both nations’ (Jewish and Arab) right to exist here. Israel has gone to great pains to express this and recognize this. The Arabs have not.
Prime Ministers of Israel from Itzhak Rabin to Benjamin Netenyahu have all said that a final peace agreement would lead to the creation of a Palestinian (i.e., Arab/Muslim) state. Not one Palestinian leader has ever been, or is now ready to recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
This creates an absolute impasse that has existed since the State of Israel came into being and tragically has never altered.
Thus, how can Israelis be asked again to compromise, when we are always met with propaganda, rhetoric, lies and absolute intransigence on the subject of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state? Why in the world should Israelis support peace, when the side we are supposed to be making peace with is doing all they can to delegitimize the nation we have created and worked and fought so hard to protect? Why should we endanger ourselves when the other side is so unwilling to take that one simple step?
The pro-Palestinian side always says that Yassar Arafat could never have accepted the compromise given to him at Camp David and later on at the Taba negotiations for fear of assassination. That means Arafat could not accept the realization of Statehood for the Palestinian nation in simple return for recognizing Israel as the Jewish State. These pro-Palestinian advocates never point out that Itzhak Rabin paid for peace with his life as did Anwar Sadat of Egypt.
Revisionists will try to distort what has happened. They will say Arafat did not get enough. In one way they are right. Arafat was not capable of getting Ehud Barak to dismantle Israel by accepting the Palestinian right of return and they never will achieve this.
History is there to remind us that no one ever gets exactly what he really wants. The Yishuv (pre-Israel Jewish leadership in mandate Palestine) wanted far more land than was given to them when the United Nations partitioned the Mandate of Palestine. David Ben Gurion did what the Palestinians still have not learned to do. He compromised and did what was best for his nation.
If the Palestinians truly wanted a state they could have already had one on numerous occasions. It has gotten to the point where one must ask if the Palestinians want this state they supposedly crave so much. Maybe it is better for them to always play the role of the innocent victim?
If Barack Obama, the EU and the UN really want peace for our region, then there is a simple way of getting it: make the Arabs finally take responsibility for their actions.
Make the Arabs take responsibility for turning their back on Partition. Make them take responsibility for starting the war that has lead to so many wars. Make them take responsibility for throwing away or stealing all the money that was given to them by the US and the EU for building the foundations of a state. Make them also take responsibility for taking much of that money and buying weapons to kill Israelis. Make them take responsibility for saying NO to peace and statehood at Camp David and Taba. Make them take responsibility for putting another thorn in the side of peace by sponsoring the Anti-Israel camp currently attempting to delegitimize Israel with slander and falsehoods. MAKE THEM TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT THEY HAVE BROUGHT UPON THEMSELVES.
As I said, I want peace. I want the Palestinians to achieve self-determination and statehood, but not at the expense of Israel. We Israelis will never, ever give up our right to self-determination, statehood or the nation we have built and to the achievements we have created through our own hard work.