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.
Today’s opinion piece in the Financial Times written by the publication’s international affairs editor David Gardner encapsulates perfectly the problems Israel will face in the coming weeks when direct negotiations with the Palestinians restart, and possibly, break down. ‘A poisoned process holds little hope’ reads more like a charge sheet against Israel than a reasoned analysis and is striking in its capacity to reverse historic truths and omit key facts.
At the centre of Gardner’s peace process universe is the occupation, which he claims ‘killed Oslo’ and remains ‘the heart of the question’. His evidence for the occupation scuppering the Oslo process is simply that settlements grew a lot between 1992 and 1996. In a show of presenting the other side he adds: ‘Many Israelis will point to the perfidy of the late Yassir Arafat, who wanted to talk peace but keep the option of armed resistance dangerously in play.’ But it was not just ‘[m]any Israelis’ who blamed Arafat - President Clinton, who brokered the talks, as well as key negotiating aides, blamed him too. In terms of according blame for what Gardner terms, ‘the Oslo intifada’, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself stated recently that the second intifada was ‘the worst mistake of our lives’. Who’s blaming whom here?
Gardner breezily telescopes ten years and arrives at the present day, drawing a direct line between the occupation sabotaging Camp David in 2000 and the current predicament in the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli settlement ‘has turned the occupied West Bank into a discontiguous scattering of cantons, walled in by a security barrier built on yet more annexed Arab land and criss-crossed by segregated Israeli roads linking the settlements.’ Gaza is ‘a vast, open-air prison.’
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!"