Jewish settler Refael Morris stands at an observation point overlooking the West Bank village of Duma, near Yishuv Hadaat, an unauthorized Jewish settler outpost.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A month ago I hosted the management of V15 or, as it is known by its new name, “Our Way,” in Efrat. As I sometimes do with such get-togethers, I also introduced them to “a representative of our neighbors,” i.e. residents of the neighboring villages, to speak about their “vision” and the reality from their perspective. Not from the standpoint of the media, not from their “non-elected leadership,” but rather directly from them. Regularly, these representatives say that they believe in co-existence.
During this particular visit, one of our neighbors expressed an opinion that shocked the management of “Our Way.”
“By you, your democracy puts a prime minister and president in jail, by us, the president puts the democracy in jail. We don’t want independence, we want to be part of your democracy!” V15 and “Our Way,” who advocate two states for two nations, were shocked upon hearing this statement and went back home with quite a lot to think about. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon declaring in his Bar Ilan speech that he advocates a two-state solution brought upon himself a considerable amount of criticism from the Right and since that time he has reluctantly repeated this statement, but with the attached reservation that “there is nobody to talk to.” It turns out that also opposition leader Isaac Herzog has started to internalize that there is no one to talk to. Yesterday, it was the chancellor of Germany that learned the lyrics to “there is no one to talk to.”
Last week Gadi Taub published an article under the headline “Why would they let us leave?” He tells about a conversation with a Palestinian journalist that surprised him. The journalist said to him, “Why do you think that we’ll let you leave the territories? Who will watch over us?” It seems that Taub was also shocked upon hearing this. Since in the past I was a student of Taub’s, I allow myself to believe in his sincerity.
Taub, in his article, explains in detail why the Palestinians today have no reason to accept a political solution that is based on the 1967 borders. One gets the feeling that the Messiah is on his way! Taub, also, as a result of a quick meeting that shook him up, learned the lyrics and again it has become clear that the prime minister was right when he said many years ago “there is no one to talk to.”
Taub at the end of his article suggests that “maybe we should think about ending the occupation even without his [the journalist’s] help”.
In other words, again a unilateral withdrawal? Are the lessons of Gaza forgotten so quickly? If the numbers of choir members are increasingly growing, if among the professional decision makers there is the understanding that the Palestinians have no interest in ending the conflict, maybe the time has come to stop insisting on fulfilling the fantasy of peace at present or the vision of unilateral separation, but look reality in the eye by simply accepting the fact that there is no one to talk to, that the conflict has both an exposed and a hidden face to it and that it is probably going to stay with us for a long time.
Until then, let those that have the required understanding manage it for us.
To my friends on the Right and on the Left, I would recommend at this stage to concentrate on strengthening the co-existence, that can only exist through direct and authentic discourse with our neighbors.
The author is mayor of Efrat.