So yesterday I was reading an article about how Obama has a seder night every year. Despite not being Jewish, he connects to it, because Pesach is the story of slaves being freed from hundreds of years of slavery. The Exodus from Egypt is more than just a single people being freed. It represents many different people’s stories. The plight of every slave that ever lived. And the hope that one day he will be free and free of his tormenters.
What annoyed me in the article, is that the article then went on to speak about the Palestinians one day going free and that the idea of the Palestinians being free is in fact a very Jewish idea and we should do all that we can in order to give them full autonomy.
Now, I have no problem with Palestinian autonomy. I do have a problem when Palestinian autonomy causes harm to innocent Israelis. To imply that Israelis do not want peace and that Israel is enslaving Palestinians is ridiculous in my opinion and you only have to visit Israel to know that isn’t true.
For 65 years we’ve been trying to make this two-state solution work. The Palestinians had ample opportunity to accept. Israel accepted the UN partition plan in 1947. It was the Arabs that went to war with Israel. When Israel conquered Jerusalem in 1967, it was not Israel that was the aggressor, it was our Arab neighbours.
People still talk about the “two-state solution” as if it’s a solution. IMO it isn’t and we’ve been wasting too much energy trying to solve this problem. We should try and live side by side as best as possible, but there are just to many issues that cannot be solved (such as major security concerns, hundreds of thousands of people being kicked out of their homes and many others).
But whatever you think about the road to peace, the Palestinians are not in slavery. Yes, there are security checks for bringing things into the West Bank and Gaza. There are check points all over the West Bank to stop weapons smuggling. And there is a wall surrounding the Palestinian areas stopping them from entering Israel. Would it be nicer for them if these obstacles weren’t there? Yes. But they’re for a reason. The number of suicide bombings within Israel has basically dropped to zero over the last few years. A dramatic decrease, but all thanks to the security fence. I’m sure it’s a bit of a hassle being checked every time you drive through a check point, but frankly, the same thing happens to me at the airport and we even have security check points on the roads in Israel. There’s a reason for that. To stop terrorism.
We’ll have peace when the Palestinians and the Arab world in general come to the conclusion that there is a Jewish state and it is here to stay.
So happy Pesach to you. Freedom is both a Jewish and universal value and I hope in the future we’ll see a peaceful Middle East, but it would be naive to say that day will come soon.