|Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas 311 (R).(Photo by: Jason Reed / Reuters)|
Political gourmands: The peace business
By GILAD SHARON
The quiet we crave will come when everybody here, on both sides, realizes that not all dreams can come true and we all have to make compromises.
Who benefits from the continued failure to achieve peace? The answer may
surprise you: the peace-mongers.
For them it doesn’t pay to arrive at a
settlement. For people in the peace industry, those who work for the Peres
Center for Peace and the like, peace is a business. To be more precise, the
peace process is a business. If we actually reach an agreement some day, they’ll
have nothing left to do.
They’ll be unemployed, just like the religious
messianists whose job it is to sit around and prepare for the coming of the
Messiah, and live off the donations meant to hasten that event. What will all
these deluded folks do when the Messiah comes? They’ll be out of a
The same thing will happen to those other messianists, the deluded
peace (process) folks.
What does the life of a peace worker look like?
They get together with peace workers from the other side and talk. But you’re
never going to hear about the Dehaishe refugee camp accords, about Balata talks
or Petah Tikva talks. And it’s not going to happen at some all-inclusive resort
in Turkey, either. These are people with refined palates. Working for peace
requires a special environment, like an orchid that only prospers in optimal
The meetings invariably take place in some idyllic city with
mountains and a lake – Geneva, for instance.
To get there, they
customarily fly first class where there’s plenty of legroom, an excellent meal,
a seat that converts into a bed, and an attractive flight attendant to
solicitously tuck them in. After all, they have to arrive at the meeting
refreshed, don’t they? And then they’re in some charming, chilly city, staying
at a luxury hotel and enjoying gourmet food at the finest restaurants, and
there, puffed up with self-importance, they find time between one tasting menu
and the next to discuss among themselves the importance of peace. Scandinavian
governments and a host of European organizations foot the bill, and everyone’s
But what happens if peace comes? The party will be over, and all
the people sponging off the peace industry are going to have to look for a real
job. That’s a shocking thought. It will never happen; they won’t let it happen.
Not on their watch. Not if they have anything to say about it.
truly want a calm normal life in Israel, it doesn’t matter if you call it peace
or not. Simple quiet for the years ahead is good enough for us, even if it
doesn’t have a distinguished title and doesn’t warrant a banner
The quiet we crave won’t come from clinking Champagne flutes on
a culinary tour of Europe – four-Michelin- star restaurants, two peace talks,
and one casino, all in three days. Quiet will come, if it ever does, from right
here. It will come when everybody here, on both sides, realizes that not all
dreams can come true and we all have to make compromises. Then maybe there will
be quiet. Quiet will come quietly, modestly, with no ceremonies, no lawns, no
fancy receptions. We’ll know it’s here when we don’t hear about terror
Don’t leave it in the hands of the peace workers. It’s too
important, and it’s not in their own best interests.
Translated from the
Hebrew by Sara Kitai, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The writer is the son of
former prime minister Ariel Sharon, and the author of Sharon: The Life of a