24 March 2011

We Need Peace--Now.

A suicide bombing in Jerusalem.  Rockets falling in Ashdod and Yavne.  Retaliatory strikes back in Gaza.  It's clear to many that when Israeli and Palestinian leaders cannot agree to terms for talking, when they cannot do what we are taught to do since childhood--sit down, talk it out and agree not to fight--that events spiral out of control, innocent people die, and things get worse.  The Fogel family's horrifying deaths already a distant memory in this new round of violence leading nowhere.

At this point in time it is beyond tragic; at this point in time it is inexcusable.  At this point in time we are witnessing a monumental failure of leadership from both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas.  Their inability and their refusal to take the necessary risks for peace have indirectly caused the loss of innocent life.

And further, the Likud-led government, passing racist laws in the Jewish democratic bastion known as the Knesset, for all the world to see, is nothing less than a radical embarrassment and an abrogation of the Zionist dream.  Ham-fistedly passed on the same day that Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Foreign Minister, calls for the U.S. bombing of Iran and Syria as well?  Who speaks for whom?  Who's in charge in Jerusalem?

And for all the bleeding heart defenders of the Turkish support for the Flotilla brigades and the innocence of the open borders between Gaza and Egypt, we now see a clear connection between those events and even more dangerous weapons making it into the hands of radicals in Gaza who are lobbing rockets and wreaking havoc and destruction in Israel.  Unable to police Gaza itself, Abbas can only control what he can control, leaving to the fate of historical spoilers the lives of millions of innocent Israelis and Palestinians.

The rebellion of the Arab street threatens to absorb this annoying little conflict.  The lives of millions more Arab citizens hang in the balance; and before we blink, the Israeli and Palestinian conflict may be subsumed by a greater battle, which, it seems to me, cannot end well for Israel.  The mandate to get to peace has never been greater.  The door to walk through in order to achieve that peace has never seemed more narrow.

Nor have these words seemed more true:  "All the world is a very narrow bridge; the most important thing is not to be afraid."

We need peace--now.

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