Political gourmands: The peace business

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.

January 24, 2013 21:15
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas

Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA President Abbas 311 (R). (photo credit: Jason Reed / Reuters)


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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 job.

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 conditions.

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 happy.

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.

If we 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 headline.

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 anymore.

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, skitai@kardis.co.il.
The writer is the son of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, and the author of
Sharon: The Life of a Leader.

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