Colleagues of mine have been commenting on the recent spate of attacks by Palestinians against Israelis: stabbings, being rammed by cars, shootings, bombings and more. Many of my fellow rabbis voice only their outrage and say that this is not the time for encouraging Israel to make overtures for peace and/or to halt settlement building. You don’t have to be a Jew to share those feelings; I feel them as well. AND I will not give up on my commitment to work for a cessation of violence between Israel and Palestine. I know that there have been and will be retaliations for this violence and other responses as well (road blocks are going up as I write) AND, while roadblocks and military strikes might be momentarily satisfying and, in the short term, even somewhat effective, they have been proven, time and time again, to never bring that elusive long term solution for which even the most hawkish among us prays or hopes.
So while this is certainly a time for Israel to stand strong and to act to protect Israeli lives, Israel can only be strong and continue to protect Israeli lives if some kind of agreement is reached with the Palestinians so that a legitimate Palestinian state actually begins to develop and becomes more important to Palestinians than hating Israel/Israelis and, all too often, Jews. Israel and the United States must be active and consistent participants in this process, as, of course, must the Palestinian leadership AND, this process must continue whatever is happening and will happen on the ground.
No longer can Israelis or Palestinians afford to say, “I support peace but not in the current situation.”
No longer can Israelis or Palestinians afford to say, “I’m certain there are nice Israelis/Palestinians but I can’t worry about how my actions and reactions are affecting them.”
No longer can Israelis or Palestinians afford to say, “This is how it will always be.”
There will always be Israel AND there will be Palestine. It’s the only way.