A real solution to the conflict
We must give up the ideas of “Peace Now,” which wouldn’t last a minute, and embrace a “Peace Later” approach.
President Shimon Peres lights candle at ceremony Photo: Mark Neyman, GPO
A few days ago, in preparation for the arrival of US President Barack Obama, Army
Radio held a discussion about the chances of reaching a two-state solution, as
well as Obama’s passionate position on this issue.
can be divided into two groups.
The first group comprises those who
believe that the morally right thing to do is to divide the land, since the
Palestinian people deserves to have its own state. The second group includes
those who are reluctant to give up any part of the Land of Israel, but are
willing to pursue a solution that would bring about a physical separation from
the Palestinian people in an effort to maintain a Jewish majority in
The second group came up with ideas such as the disengagement
(Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005). In
other words, if in the past land for peace was an acceptable model, today people
who supported the disengagement understand that we will never have peace with
In lieu of land for peace, they now support the creation
of a Palestinian state even without peace. In other words, land in exchange for
a hug from CNN to be followed by missiles falling on Israeli land.
sane majority in the State of Israel believes that Israel’s claims are
They also support the creation of a Palestinian
state, but for a different reason: Zionism.
They are striving to maintain
a Jewish majority in Israel, and are not under the mistaken illusion that the
establishment of a Palestinian state would bring about peace. They fully
understand that Islamic fundamentalism is the cause of problems in the Middle
East, and not the “occupation.”
They have come to terms with the fact
that a Palestinian state must be created, but are fully aware that its creation
does not mean that the wolf and the lamb could ever live together happily ever
So what can be done to promote a true peace? To solve the
conflict, we first need to understand the underlying issues. This is not a
conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian- Israeli conflict
is merely one front of a much wider international struggle – the struggle
between the West and fundamentalist Islam. Islamic theology assumes that the
world is split into two groups: Dar al- Islam (the House of Islam – the area of
the world under Islamic rule) and Dar al-Harb (the House of war – countries
where Muslim law is not in force).
Whether we like it or not, Islam’s
borders are bloody.
We are just one small front.
From Chechnya to
Kosovo, from Pakistan to Sri Lanka, there are rivers of blood. And we haven’t
even touched upon the internal Shia-Sunni conflict, i.e. which branch of Islam
will become the supreme world leader in the end.
We cannot let this
depressing reality squelch our desire to achieve peace. We must not give up.
Peace has been the dream of the Jewish people since the time of the Prophet
Isaiah, and we will never stop yearning for it. We must not allow fundamentalist
Islam to prevail.
Former US president George W. Bush tried to root out
the problem, but erred on the type of solution he chose. Bush focused on the
connection between freedom and peace. In his second-term inaugural address in
2005, he said, “As long as entire areas in the world are suffering from tyranny
and are exposed to ideologies that encourage hatred and murder, violence will
increase and its destructiveness will be doubled and will even break through the
most protected borders and become a real threat. The only thing that will bring
about an end to hatred and resentment is freedom.
“The sequence of events
and common sense lead us to one conclusion: The survival of freedom in our
country depends more and more on the success of freedom in other countries. Our
best chance for peace lies in spreading freedom throughout the entire world. To
that end, it will be US foreign policy to locate and support democratic
movements in every country and in every culture, in an effort to bring an end to
Unfortunately, the translation of Bush’s brilliant
speech into policy was a complete failure.
Instead of promoting
democratic values, the US administration promoted democratic structure. In other
words, instead of promoting human rights, and women’s and minorities’ rights,
the Americans supported holding elections.
They failed to understand that
it would have been preferable to have a dictator who allowed the promotion of
liberal values (against his will and under US pressure), than to have a
democratic structure that was indirectly responsible for bringing Islamic
extremists to power.
If we are serious about promoting peace, we must do
our best to help moderate Islamic groups get their voices heard. We must promote
women’s and human rights organizations in the Arab Muslim world. We must help
spread liberal values. We must rectify this sad reality in which women are
forbidden to drive in Saudi Arabia.
And we must do so not just to improve
the lives of millions of women living in the Islamic world, but since it is the
only way to bring about true world peace. Only once it becomes part of the
political culture of Islamic countries to treat women as human beings will there
be the slightest chance that one day they might view the “Zionist enemy” as
people who have the right to exist.
Shared values are the key to true
peace. It is true that this is a distant goal that requires tremendous patience.
We must give up the fanciful ideas espoused by “Peace Now,” which wouldn’t last
a minute, and instead embrace a “Peace Later” approach that would last many
years. This is only way to achieve a real peace in the Middle East.
Shoval is chairman and founder of the Im Tirtzu Zionist extra-parliamentary
Translated by Hannah Hochner.