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.
Gerald Steinberg Israel Opinion/Ynet 01 September '10
After failing for 18 months to reverse the results of the 2009 Israeli election that brought a coalition headed by Benjamin Netanyahu to power, the Obama administration appeared to have stopped the clumsy efforts to manipulate Israeli democracy. But now the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is using a small opposition group to sell artificial peace messages to Israelis.
This US-sponsored campaign is based on political advertisements with the message “that there is a (Palestinian) partner, that the problem is specifically with us.” The texts are prepared by a group calling itself the “Geneva Initiative,” and include video clips of Palestinian officials telling Israelis that there is a “window of opportunity” for reaching a peace agreement. USAID is also funding a parallel campaign aimed at a Palestinian audience.
In December 2003, amidst the mass terror campaign that followed the Oslo “peace process,” the Geneva Initiative began to promote its peace plan, using funding provided by Swiss politicians with no understanding of the Middle East. While most of the Israelis involved were opposition figures (including Yossi Beilin), the Palestinians were all linked to the Fatah organization, which was still controlled by Arafat.
Dubbed “Oslo 2”, the substance of the proposed agreement was also problematic, including very weak security provisions and a highly ambiguous framework for dealing with Palestinian refugee claims. As a result of the terms and the catastrophic experience with Oslo, this initiative had no traction. Nevertheless, the efforts to sell the framework have continued, but foreign government funding has not contributed to public acceptance.
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!"