For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
This is one of those times to wonder if ridicule or serious analysis is in order.
The occasion is a combination of two moves by the Palestinian leadership. It is not even clear which of the two warrants ridicule or analysis, or if they are both just part of the noise coming out of a entity with doubtful credibility. Perhaps they deserve no more attention than the bull sessions heard in the halls of a legislature, or in the dorm rooms of individuals aspiring to make a splash in student government.
One of the moves is a threat by the ostensible president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, to resign or not to run for re-election if Israel is not immediately forthcoming with respect to Palestinian demands. The other is to seek international recognition for an independent Palestine with the borders of 1967 and Jerusalem as its capital.
To be precise, it is not clear whether the threat is to resign, or not to run for re-election. The picture is confused by the formal end of Abbas' term some months ago, which has led the Hamas leadership to declare that he is no longer the president. There is a further problem insofar as the Palestinian Election Commission has indicated that it may not be possible to implement the election scheduled for January, and Hamas has indicated that it will not let Gazans vote in an illegal election.
President Barack Obama, the heads of several European governments, and prominent Israelis in and out of government have urged Abbas to continue.
No doubt it would be easier for those saying he should stay if he accepted their call. Leaving aside the human factor (Doesn't an ineffective 74 year old have a right to retire?), his continuation would avoid learning how to deal with someone new.
Some of those urging him to stay on are making the claim that "there is no one who could fill his shoes." Apparently they come from places where the cemeteries are not already filled with indispensable people.
Palestinians are threatening that if Abbas goes, the only viable candidate is Marwan Barghouti. He has a following of unknown size in the West Bank, but was convicted of involvement in numerous murders and is serving several life sentences in an Israeli prison. One doubts that the Israeli government will respond with a "Sure, why not?" to Barghouti's selection.
The other threat is that without Abbas, the Palestine National Authority will collapse, Israel will be saddled with governing the West Bank, and that will advance the idea of one country from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, with majority (i.e., Palestinian) rule.
If the Palestine National Authority does collapse, it is more likely that Israelis will not notice the difference from what currently exists. Those who do notice will be overseas Palestinian investors who are remaking the faces of Ramallah and Jenin. Perhaps their threats to halt the financial inflows will move the Palestinians in a direction of realism.
Those overseas investors might also work to moderate the Palestinian maneuver to seek international recognition for an independent state with the borders of 1967 and Jerusalem as its capital.
No doubt there are many unworthies of the world who will support the Palestinians. Will they notice that Israel surrounds the Palestinian areas of the West Bank, controls who and what moves in and out, including water and electricity? Will they pay attention to existing agreements between Israel and Palestinians that make changes of the kinds indicated dependent on an agreement of both parties?.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"