Encountering Peace: Israelis vote yes

A citizen truly concerned with the future of our state will call on our leaders to not only vote in favor of Palestinian statehood in the UN, but to sponsor the resolution.

By
April 4, 2011 22:54
4 minute read.
Gershon Baskin.

baskin 58. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Okay, so Israel has been exonerated from the allegations in the Goldstone Report. We can all breathe a sigh of relief. We now know for sure the IDF did not intentionally kill Palestinian noncombatants.

In all of the many interviews I gave on the Report, I said two things: (1) the report demanded that Israel conduct an independent investigation to determine the validity of the charges in it – as a citizen I also demanded that my government investigate those charges; and (2) I believed that the final report would have been quite different if Israel had cooperated with the mission. I stand by those two statements.

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Now the government is busy patting itself on the back, declaring that the IDF is the most moral army in the world, and the world owes Israel an apology. I have a problem going that far.

The Israeli International Institute for Counterterrorism says that at least 63 percent to 75% of the Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead were combat- aged males. That means 25%-37% of the 1,417 Palestinian casualties were noncombatants, males and females and minors – or in other words, 354-524 innocent Palestinians were killed – hardly a record to be proud of.

Now that Israel seems to have been cleared of charges of war crimes, I fear that the government might be preparing for Cast Lead II; this time the main purpose will be to divert attention from the Palestinian march toward statehood in the international arena in September. What could be better to divert attention than another war against the Hamas terrorists in Gaza? Israel’s claim will be against more Hamas rockets – it is certainly easy enough to provoke it to shooting a barrage of its Kassam and Grad missiles against innocent Israelis. The war would help remind the world that Israel fears that if a Palestinian state is born in the West Bank, it too will become a launch pad for rockets, but this time into the center of the country and at Ben-Gurion Airport.

The Right specializes in the spread of fear and political manipulation, which have worked overwhelmingly well to convince the public that there is no chance of peace. The same manipulation is used to make the readers of this paper believe I am a traitor, an anti- Zionist, an advocate of Hamas and a self-hating Jew.

TODAY’S ZIONISM is not about “another dunam and another goat”; it is not about creating a new outpost or building more homes in settlements in the heart of Arab populations. Those who believe that this is the mission of the State of Israel today are living in a past century and have become either blind or deliberately ignorant of the changes in the region, and the determination of the international community to create the state of Palestine on the basis of the June 4, 1967 borders.

The present-day Israeli patriot understands that the most important mission of the Zionist movement is to preserve the viability of the two-state solution. Israel needs a Palestinian state to be established in peace and in agreement. No, we should not want the Palestinians to go ahead with unilateral plans. They too understand that even with a state recognized as a full member of the UN, an agreement will be necessary to work out “small” problems such as the delineation of the border, security arrangements, the future of Jerusalem (which will become the recognized capital of both states), the issues and claims of refugees (Palestinian and Jewish), the rights and obligations of the Jewish minority in Palestine and the Palestinian minority in Israel and more.

The modern-day Israeli patriot and Zionist does not want Palestine to be born in conflict but in partnership.

The self-respecting citizen wants to believe that it is possible to begin a process of real reconciliation with our neighbors. An Israeli who is truly concerned with the future of our state will call on our leaders to not only vote yes to Palestinian statehood in the UN, he will call on our government to sponsor the resolution.

Great leaders can change the course of history.

Great leaders can shape our future and produce results that no one would have expected. When we lack great leaders, we have to depend on our collective wisdom. The Jewish people has proven its greatness in the past; we excel in so many fields, far beyond our numerical strength. We have demonstrated great intelligence, ingenuity and initiative in so many areas, and we have proven our determination to survive against great odds. The calling for greatness is once again upon us. We seem not to have the great leaders that we need and therefore, it is upon us to create a route around them.

Israeli patriots and truly concerned citizens must now stand up, speak up and sign on: I support Israeli sponsorship of the Palestinian statehood resolution in the UN – two states for two peoples – today’s true fulfillment of the Zionist vision.

The writer is co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (www.ipcri.org) and is in the process of founding the Center for Israeli Progress (http://israeli-progress.org).


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