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.
Yesterday, we considered the difference between what Palestinian Authority leadership may have told American and Israeli "peace" negotiators and what they assuredly are telling their constituents. The disconnect means the Palestinian people are not being prepared for any sort of operative peace with a legitimate, sovereign state of Israel. That doesn't matter, of course, since Abu Mazen and company are not planning to make one.
The Egyptian people are in the same boat - which didn't matter either, as long as Hosni Mubarak was running the show and didn't care what the people thought.
Before and since the 1979 peace treaty, Egyptians have been told that Israel is a racist, militaristic occupier of the poor Palestinians. The people are told threats from Israel are the reason for the "emergency laws," and the absence of political parties and free speech. Unions and professional associations do not permit members to meet and work with their Israeli counterparts. Egyptian doctors boycott events in Israel and Israelis were even disinvited to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer research conference in Cairo. (SGK was horrified and tried to make amends, but still ran the conference in Cairo sans Israelis.) Official newspapers print calumnies about Israel and Jews, including stories of sexually charged chewing gum and man-eating sharks placed in Egypt by Israeli intelligence to ruin Egyptian women and eat Egyptian swimmers. No doubt Egyptian mothers tell their children, "If you don't behave, Israeli intelligence will get you."
But perhaps most important, all of this happened while Mubarak and the military were benefiting from American political support, financial largesse and Qualified Economic Zones. [And from the willingness of much of the pro-Israel Jewish community to front for Egyptian arms purchases and deflect calls for internal reform on the grounds that the peace treaty was their priority.] The estimable Lee Smith told JINSA members on a conference call this week that Egyptians understand that "Mubarak-ism" was sponsored and paid for by the United States because of the peace treaty with Israel. Mubarak was important to the United States because of the peace treaty, because of Israel, because of the Jews. "Even Egyptians who know and like Israelis also know that the hated Mubarak survived this long because he was the indispensable man to the Israelis and, consequently, to the Americans."
When the Muslim Brotherhood says it wants to "reconsider" the peace treaty, we know exactly who they are and what they intend. Pledges of non-violence enforced by a brutal regime didn't turn the Brotherhood nonviolent, it just pushed the truth underground - for now. That the American government doesn't seem to understand it makes us cringe.
But when other parts of the opposition say they will "reconsider," it may not mean anyone wants to go to war, but they will take account of what the people think, even if what the people think is, in large measure, wrong. The situation will require some deft political input by the United States (on behalf of Israel as well). Our goal must be to ensure that the treaty remains in place and secure, while starting a relationship with Egyptians that takes account of goals and aspirations long stifled - not by Israel, but by the lies their leaders told them and to which the United States has been a party and enabler.
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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!"