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.
The Arab-Israeli, or Israel-Palestinian, conflict is the most misrepresented subject in the entire world. The most basic facts are often distorted and the most fantastical of narratives provided, even in college classrooms, about what has actually happened.
On the most single important issue in this framework—why isn’t there peace, who wants and doesn’t want peace, and how can peace be achieved—there is a common set of arguments against Israel. It goes like this:
How can the Palestinians make peace when they are suffering so much and when Israel builds settlements, or Israeli leaders make statements saying they want to keep some of the territory or won’t give up east Jerusalem, or do a variety of other things? The idea that the Palestinians don’t year for peace, are eagerly trying to make some kind of agreement, but are only stopped by Israeli intransigence seems completely self-evident to the point that any challenge of this idea is ridiculed, ignored, or treated as some kind of dishonest manipulation.
People think that when they've made these points it constitutes some kind of devastating, unanswerable rebuttal proving why there is no peace and why Israel is responsible. In fact, these statements are all either long outdated or simply beside the point.
In addition, many of the things said are factually wrong. Israel has neither constructed new settlements nor expanded their boundaries for fifteen years. But for the moment let’s leave aside the factual issues. It is easy to show that these claims are inaccurate but either ears are shut or the columns of the publications are closed to such responses.
Still, nothing could be simpler than to answer these claims.
Here’s the answer:
If the Palestinians are so miserable, they feel their situation intolerable, and want to get rid of settlements, they have and have had a very simple solution. Drum roll, please:
Make peace as fast as possible in a way that settles almost all their ostensible claims.
Yet they have refused to do so on numerous occasions going back for decades. In fact, this is the thirtieth anniversary of the Egypt-Israel agreement at Camp David which first opened the door to a Palestinian state. Then there was the Reagan plan and U.S.-PLO dialogue of the 1980s, followed by the peace process of the 1990s, the Camp David 2 and President Bill Clinton offers of 2000, and most recently the offer of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (who was absolutely desperate for a deal in order to save his political career) and most recently the Israeli cabinet’s peace plan in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explicitly agrees to accept a Palestinian state.
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!"