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.
Last week, US officials came out with statements assuring that the Obama administration is committed to achieving “comprehensive peace,” which means at some point reactivating the Syrian track (and presumably the Lebanese one as well). However, there are questions regarding the prospects for such talks, and the assumptions behind them are equally shaky, fraught with problems and potential traps.
The statements came during a visit to Damascus by Special Envoy George Mitchell, barely two weeks after the resumption of direct talks on the Palestinian track. After meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Mitchell laid down the administration’s line that the “effort to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in no way contradicts or conflicts with our goal of comprehensive peace, including peace between Israel and Syria.” However, he added, the foundation that supports this “comprehensive peace” was “good faith” negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis, which had to be established first. Absent that, “anything that we would try to build with others in the region would not stand.”
The idea, therefore, seems to be to protect the fragile Palestinian track from outside sabotage by elements known for their spoiler role, namely Syria. This was made explicit by an anonymous US official who told the Christian Science Monitor: “If Hamas succeeds [in scuttling the talks], the prospects for eventual Syria-Israel talks are zero.”
This was not the first time that such a demand was made of the Syrians. When the Arab League follow-up committee met to support a Palestinian return to direct talks, the Syrians were asked to go along, but they have consistently refused to do so.
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!"