in the garden

 

Jul 2001 Journal

previous article:Prophets without honour in their own country
next article:Central Office for Holocaust Claims

Viewpoint

Lost cause

Along Tel Aviv’s sea front on a summer’s Shabbat eve the pavements, restaurants, bars and clubs are thronged with Israel’s young men and women, many in military uniform, outflanking the pressures of an undeclared war. Enmity and hatred inculcated by successive generations of Arab leaders, conjoined with the deliberate maintenance of poverty in the West Bank and Gaza by immensely wealthy brethren, led a suicide bombing to take the lives of 20 of these young Israelis - most 16-year-old Russian immigrant girls - and seriously injure 120 others.

No nation state can acquiesce in the continual, brutal murder of its civilian population. It is duty-bound to take preventive force against the perpetrators. Yet, in the aftermath, Israel exercised immense restraint to test the efficacy of a declared Palestinian Authority ceasefire, though repudiated by terror groups Hammas and Islamic Jihad armed with explosives smuggled into Israel during Feisal Husseini’s  funeral in Jerusalem.

Following Oslo, peace negotiations had acceded to all Palestinian demands other than the return of a Palestinian diaspora to occupy the territory of Israel. Israel still possesses no demarcated and defensible eastern border. Some 200,000 Israeli citizens – a significant proportion recent orthodox American immigrants returning to the biblical land of their forefathers - occupy 145 West Bank settlements built in closest proximity to their mortal enemies. Virtually indefensible without a huge commitment from the country’s civilian army, Israel’s largely secular population send their sons to fight and die for this religious lost cause.

Protection of the settlements and lack of a national boundary are endangering the security of the state. It is time for settlements not vital for Israel’s security to be abandoned in favour of a defensible border. It is then for the Palestinians to choose either fanatical violence and perpetual misery, or statehood and peaceful co-existence.
Ronald Channing

previous article:Prophets without honour in their own country
next article:Central Office for Holocaust Claims