311_Abbas stares down Netanyahu.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
I don’t understand why so many people are pessimistic about the chances for
ending the conflict. Let’s face it, we’ve only been trying to achieve real peace
since 1993. That really isn’t a long time. The conflict has been raging for more
than 100 years.
Yet everyone tells me they have high hopes but low
Well, anyone who is successful will tell you that you must
first have high hopes and high expectations, and then fight to make those hopes
There are many reasons for doubting that peace will come,
including that abhorrent terrorist attack last week that killed four people near
Kiryat Arba – a settlement whose inhabitants have with a history of vicious
assaults against Palestinians. People have been killing each other there since
the settlement was created in the heart of Hebron.
The people who live
there are not Jews hoping to build relations with the Palestinians; many of them
are part of a group determined to impose its will through Israel’s military
It never was intended to be peaceful, so why are we surprised
when it explodes in violence? But of course, nothing justifies the heinous
murder of the four victims. We need to learn to separate our political
differences and show our human compassion and tolerance for all.
FANATICS on both sides have already vowed to do everything they can to block
peace. Armed gunmen from Hamas and other extremist Palestinian groups have vowed
a campaign of violence to prevent peace – isn’t that how it’s always been? And
Israelis from the far Right have also declared they will do everything to bring
down the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
But we can’t be
intimidated by hatred and threats. We need to stand fast for peace. We need to
become vocal about peace. We need to show Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas that we support peace, and that it’s the only
Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said that Israel would agree to
share east Jerusalem, taking control of the Jewish sectors and giving
Palestinians control of the Arab sectors. That offer was alleged to have been
made to Yasser Arafat but never formally offered at Camp David, where the failed
“proximity talks” all began.
This time, Netanyahu and Abbas are meeting
face-to-face, an important change from Camp David. This time, Jerusalem is on
If Netanyahu has the courage to ignore the public opinion
polls driven downward by years of conflict and hate, he can make real peace with
The PA president has no choice but to stand up to the fanatics in
Hamas,the PFLP and other hate groups who have taken the just cause of the
Palestinian people and turned it into a formula for their own political
The issues of settlements and refugees can be resolved.
Palestinians are ready to accept a rock-solid plan to compensate the refugees
and help them rebuild their lives. To offset the right to return to their
original homes and lands lost in 1948, they need strong words of support from
both Netanyahu and Abbas.
Netanyahu needs to show understanding for what
the Palestinians lost in 1948. It is the height of humanity to extend a hand to
people who have suffered.
Israelis need to turn within and confront their
own demons, and tell their own fanatics – who would just as easily resort to
violence to block peace – to stand down.
Can they do that? Saving all our
children depends on it.The writer is an award winning columnist and
Chicago radio talk show host. www.YallaPeace.com