What is the goal? To attain a Palestinian state and homeland where the Palestinians can pursue their own destiny? Or is it to inflict pain and suffering upon Israel, bring about a third Intifada, and thereby unleash a devastating Israeli response to the violence?
I am among those who believe that the Palestinians must have their own homeland. I also know that previous attempts to negotiate that reality have failed, in large measure because the Palestinians leadership walked away from the talks. Now the violence is brewing: Palestinians are attacking and killing innocent Israelis, and Israel is rightfully responding with what some deem as “too harsh measures.”
It has been said that “we are a people of faith, and not a people of fate.” That is to say that we maintain our hope that we can find our way out of this horrible situation, even as we hear no calls from a united, forceful and courageous Palestinian leadership to sit down and negotiate a settlement that will bring both peoples the opportunity for life and “the pursuit of happiness.”
Amid the chaos and violence of our world, either we can throw our hands up in the air and claim helplessness and “it’s not our battle” or we can make known loud and clear that violence and learned hatred have only led to despair and innocent bloodshed. If the “voice” is not going to come from the Palestinian leadership, then I hope it will come from Israel’s leaders and from the United States also. “You shall not stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds,” says the Torah. Yes, those words appear to ring with so much truth at the present time as we consider the escalating violent situation that is occurring in Israel (not to mention Syria and other places of our world).
We Jews long ago introduced the concept of “hope” to our world. We have always believed that things need not remain as they are. So I continue to hope for the day when both Israeli children and Palestinian children will no longer learn of war and hatred, and when these two peoples will pursue life side-by-side. Yes, as Jews we are mandated to hold on to our hopes and visions.