Eitan Haber
Ynetnews (Opinion)
March 17, 2011 - 12:00am

The instinctive reaction of almost every Israeli citizen following the shocking murder of the Fogel family was along the lines of “so you want to sign an agreement with the Palestinians? You want to make peace with these people?” After all, even Israelis who usually avoid swearwords must have hurled curses at our neighbors the other day.

Yet my answer to the question that almost every Israeli asked this week is “yes”! We must achieve reconciliation and peace with these Palestinians, even when their actions (or more accurately, the actions perpetrated by some of them) are despicable. By the way, we can do this while taking anti-nausea pills. We can even puke while doing it. But we need to do what needs to be done.

The question that everyone must ask himself or herself after the terrible murder is as follows: What alternative do we have if we shun the pursuit of peace? Another 100 years of terror and blood.

The Itamar murder followed a year of truce, with few terror incidents and a relatively low number of casualties. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted that this was the quietest year in a decade. Relief set in, as we kicked off the habit of being glued to the radio throughout the day and stopped hearing ambulance and police sirens. Israelis went out to nature and celebrated en masse. How wonderful and how quiet it was.

This same Israeli nation innocently believed that terror attacks were behind us. We believed that the terrible IDF sowed fear among the terrorists and that the Shin Bet managed to accomplish a mission that could not be achieved almost anywhere else in the world: Eradicating terror.

Losing global support

So please allow me to use a rather harsh term: Bullshit. With all due respect to the IDF, Shin Bet and our police (who did a wonderful job indeed and will continue to do so,) the lull in terrorism was the result of a Palestinian decision. They simply learned from their experience. Instead of outraging the world with the horrific acts of suicide bombers, they turned to intensive diplomatic activity, thereby eliciting impressive international support.

In September of this year, some 140 states (at least) will be recognizing a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders, without demilitarization. And what about us? We’ll condemn it, raise a hue and cry, and turn every state that agrees to shun the other 140 into a righteous gentile. Micronesia’s representative will not show up for the vote? Wonderful. Palau’s envoy will abstain? Great. There, we still have friends here and there. Mostly there.

If we don’t accept the overwhelming results of the UN vote (and apparently we won’t accept them,) suicide terrorism will resume – but this time, dozens of states will maintain their silence. They’ll be telling us that we had another choice. Meanwhile, a third Intifada may break out and, heaven forbid, it could be worse than the previous ones. After all, and this is no secret, contending with suicide bombers is impossible, or at least very difficult. They have nothing to lose.

So you say we won the previous two Intifadas? If we indeed won, how come that Israeli prime ministers agreed to return more than 90% of Judea and Samaria? Think about that one.

It is very possible that the terrible murder in Itamar was the result of individual initiative. Or maybe not. In any case, this is yet another painful reminder that we do not have the option of choosing friendly neighbors. Yet with these people – even though they’re terrible in our view – we need to achieve peace.


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