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.
It is now close to 17 years since Israel's ill-fated decision to recognize the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and the Oslo Accords. Despite the accords, or possibly because of them, during those years much blood has been shed and no significant progress was made toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
There was no absence of good intentions on the part of Israel. But as was shown repeatedly, good intentions are not enough to resolve the seemingly intractable issues that separate the parties. On the contrary, on many occasions, suggestions and proposals offered by Israel actually created obstacles to any progress in the negotiations. Far-reaching concessions offered by Israel, although rejected by the Palestinians, only served to establish what the Palestinians from then on insisted would have to be the starting point for future negotiations, actually creating a pitfall on the road map for any progress.
Ehud Barak's egregious concessions offered at the Camp David talks in 2000, and the additional farcical proposals made by the Israeli delegation at the continuation of these talks in Eilat, only served to establish a roadblock on the way to peace.
Why would an Israeli offer of concessions end up being a roadblock to further progress? For the simple reason that if these concessions are not supported by the majority of the Israeli public they cannot be implemented, while a Palestinian demand that these concessions become the starting point of any further negotiations blocks the resumption of negotiations.
The prime minister or government that offers these concession might well argue that they are the democratically elected government and have the perfect right to offer concessions that they consider appropriate. And they do have that right, but if they are aware of the fact that the Israeli public would not support these concessions they should know that they cannot be implemented, and therefore they are actually doing a disservice to the very peace process they claim to be pursuing by offering these concessions to the Palestinians.
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!"