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It's not too late ... The premise and promise of Israel in the Holy Land.


Should Israel remain the only isolated democracy in the Middle East? Should Israel continue to represent the 'dart board' for the surrounding non-democratic states to take their dart shots at indefinitely? I pray not. Israel's premise and its promise in the Holy Land should be that of the motivator to progress and emancipator of the downtrodden, and not the closed bordered and isolated fortress she now projects.

It is the challenge that Israel has to accept as part of its mission of coexisting with its neighbors. I've heard the same answer repeated by Israelis as well as other Jews, more than once, for every time I ventured to voice that challenge, "Why us?"

To put it simply, at the end of the day, it is not Europe, America, the UN or Saudi Arabia that has to go to bed and wake up sharing that portion of geography with the Palestinians, it is none other than Israel, that has to do so. It is imperative for Israel to accept the mission and rise up to the proposed challenge, because to do less will be to jeopardize its very own peace of mind. It is strategically important for the future of their children and their children's children that this challenge is voiced openly.

Israel faced a similar challenge internally, when it had to absorb Jews from a variety of countries and cultures (from Yemen to Russia). True they shared, as immigrants, the common thread of their Jewishness, but without Israel extending its mission to emancipate and nurture its diverse constituency from wherever they happened to have hailed from, Israel would have been a very different society than the one we currently pride ourselves in, as Jews.

It is not enough to bring in a new culture of progress, of democracy and of innovations, at the time, to a barren land; it is incumbent upon Israel to build the bridges necessary for its neighbors and help them make their own transition. We have seen Israel extending its hands of expertise and know-how to the third world countries of Africa and Asia. Now it is time to think that it is mostly needed closer to home. Why again? Because no one else will do it for you and it is strategically and morally in your best interest to do so now and in the long run.

From 1948 to 1967, Egypt controlled Gaza while Jordan did the same with the West Bank. During those 20 years, they managed to keep the Palestinians disenfranchised and at the receiving charitable end of the United Nations' arm, yet they shared more than a common background, of language, culture and religion. So, why ask Israel, and why place that burden on Israel's shoulders? Is Israel its brothers' keepers?

From 1967 until the present very little was accomplished in this regard, aside from affording low level employment opportunities to the few Palestinians that ventured to accept jobs in Israel. Opportunities, to do more, were lost, especially after Egypt and subsequently Jordan signed their peace agreements with Israel. If Egypt and Jordan could not cope with the situation then, what logic possessed us to assume that Arafat, excuse me, that Chairman Arafat, could? The situation is becoming like the proverbial ping-pong ball, with no one willing to do what is needed to be done, and lend the helping hand that will bring the Palestinians into the 21st century.

Can Israel really believe that having a solid democratic and a bustling economic environment can coexist harmoniously with the slums of the West Bank and Gaza? Can New York's Park avenue residents feel safe while their Harlem neighbors are rioting? The analogy is exactly that of a one horse town. The distances are too small to think of them as two countries, even if they were or end up being two countries. Even if one did see them as two countries, the question still remains. Can the US and Mexico ignore the disparity between them, at least economically, without conjuring up the likes of a NAFTA agreement, and accepting, albeit grudgingly, millions of refuges crossing the borders to the US?

It is not apparent how this challenge can be overcome, but that is not the intent of this message. The message was and is about accepting the challenge first and figuring out how to solve the problem against all odds, next. It is not too late, and will never be too late; however, it all starts with Israel rising up and accepting this challenge, because destinies in the Middle East are so intertwined, and because it is morally the right thing to do since Israel had custodianship of the area, for over 35 years. Now is the time to accept the challenge. A committed Israel can help grow trees in the sands of the rest of the Holy land, together with her neighbors."

Israel Bonan

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000288.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Israel Bonan @ 12:22 PM CST [Link]


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Replies: 3 comments

Israel Bonan, like many other caring intelligent people who wish Israel to fulfill its destiny as a "Light to the Nations" by acting with moral imperatives as its own guide to living in peace, simply do not understand that Israel is a pawn in a game being played by power elites who control both the reality and the perception in the eyes of the world of what Israel does to defend itself.

Posted by Nachum Meyers @ 08/05/2004 10:54 PM CST

Israel Bonan's heart is in the right place. Unfortunately, "The Problem" can't be solved by Israel, alone. History proves, however, that "The problem" CAN be solved. When Anwar Sadat, the mastermind of Egyt's 1973 Yom Kippur sneak attack on Israel, realized Peace with Isreal was "more advantageous" than war, he offered Peace. Israelis REJOICED at his offer, RESPONDED with an invitation to speak at the Knessett, and "Hard-Line Likudnik" Begin negotiated the Peace Treaty with Egypt. Unfortunately, "WE" must wait for a Palestinian LEADER to decide that real PEACE with Israel is "more advantageous" than war, and to embrace Mr. Bonan's proposals (and disregard Sadat's fate). Until then, Israel must Pray for Peace, Keep the Door open, and be prepared for war.

Richard Senturia, Director
Citizens for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Middle East

Posted by Richard Senturia @ 08/06/2004 05:35 PM CST

Jews are the not only the son of Ibrahim,muslims also.They have right to live in palestine.Jews was homeland not for muslims.So they have no right to captured arab land.Jews call it "promise land".It is their religios faith.It cannot hold for another.

Posted by Md.Emran Hossain @ 10/05/2004 12:22 PM CST

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