Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Peace Evolves Into a Four Letter Word

When did peace become such a vile word in Israel? Peace, defined as a state of harmony, the absence of hostility, undoubtedly seems like a desirable state of affairs. But the mere mention of the word has been expunged from public discourse. Growing up as a teenager in the shadow of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, I still recall going to massive protests that expounded the demand for peace. The protests were always within in the context of some ongoing bi-national dialogue, but the underlying message in the protests was that Israel demands a resolution that will ultimately bear peace with our neighbors. No one was so naïve as to believe that a secure and just peace could easily be achieved but at least there was an ambition to improve the status quo of mutual bloodshed and fear. Nowadays in Israel, it seems that the ambition to change things has shriveled in apathetic impotence. Following the implosion of dialogues marked by the insurrection of the second Palestinian intifida and the ascent of Ariel Sharon to power, the noble desire for peace was replaced by the pragmatic demand for security. Now, as Israel languishes in a vacuum of competent leadership, even security is forgotten and the public only asks for a bit of stability. Alas, our inept leaders offer us just that, by refusing to acknowledge diplomatic overtures by Syria and refusing to sincerely discuss the future of the peace process with moderate Arab leaders, the politicians are promising us the stable state of preparation for the next fight. Accomplishing peace is a complex and arduous process but it is apparent that Israel has simply given up on trying. History shows us that it took Europe centuries to realize that there might be an alternative to solving their bickering on the battlefields and so too here it will be an exhausting process. I believe that if we really want to expedite this process, we must first internalize that Israel is not a blip on the radar of history and realize that peace is the only way to reverse our collective decay. I hope not to sound like a self-righteous utopian fart, I understand that ponderings about peace seem pretentious but only by considering today how we want this country to be tomorrow, regardless of the sacrifices, then can we look forward to true stability, security and, yes, even peace. To sum it up in the words of John Lennon, which seem more relevant today then ever: “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.”

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