Do Israelis care for Peace or don't they?
28 September, 2010
The TIME Magazine's September 13 cover story by Karl Vick, "Why Israel Doesn't Care About Peace" was surprising. Not because it was full of anti-Israeli sentiments cunningly presented as bipartisan analysis, not because its aim was a sensation and a public storm at the expense of Israel, both are standard practice at TIME. The surprising achievement of this article was the rare consensus it evoked among Israelis, an otherwise always passionately questioning and debating nation. This time practically all Israelis agreed that the TIME Magazine's front page article was a sensational, but genuinely untrue fabrication.
The cover of TIME was the Star of David made up of daisies, as if Israelis "count daisies and haven't a care in the world". And that is exactly what Vick's selection of interviews and ‘analysis', or rather banalysis, aimed to point up. Vick's truths and half-truths about the energetic striving of the average Israeli to live well and to enjoy life are accurate. But are any other people different? And even here, the unique Israeli joie de vivre; their intense family feelings and activities and their close ties of friendship - are left out of Vick's description. Why? Because it wouldn't fit his thesis. Because family loving people are always devoted to peace. Beyond his commonplace that Israelis want to enjoy life, Vick's every word about Israelis not caring about peace couldn't be farther from the truth.
Israelis continue to dream of peace and use the word ‘Shalom' a dozen times a day. However past experience has made them very cautious about the impending peace negotiations. The important thing which should have been included is the fact that, in three historic instances after major Israeli peace efforts: after the Oslo peace accord in 1991, after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's astoundingly generous peace offer to Chairman Arafat at Camp David in April 2000, and after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's full unilateral withdrawal from the whole Gaza Strip in August 2005, three times the same Palestinian reactions resulted: waves of unprecedented terror and cruelty against Israeli civilians. In these three terror-waves 1400 Israelis were killed and 9000 seriously wounded in 160 major and many more lesser terror attacks, while thousands of other attacks were prevented. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have experienced the trauma of a great number of rocket attacks at their homes, in the North and in the South.
In proportion to Israel's size the number of dead is 25 times greater than in the tragedy of 9/11! Would anyone not be cautious, despite any ardent wish for peace, towards the next round of peace negotiations with the new representatives of the same old Palestinian organization, Fatah?
For a good understanding of the real feelings of the Israelis, one should bring a healthy skepticism to anything TIME publishes on the Middle East. Rather read, for example, Michael Oren's "Why Israelis Care About Peace" in the Los Angeles Times of September 15.
*September 25, 2010 - this editorial was written by Endre (Andre) Mozes and Zelda Dvoretzky