From what I’ve seen, I’m the only person currently living in Israel to be posting on the board - at least regularly. A couple of months ago, I found work again after a six month period of unemployment, so my time for the board is more limited. I find now that there are dozens of Mideast / Israel threads on a number of forums on the board now, with large number of replies on each. I can’t keep up with them – I can’t even try.
While I don’t think I have the only voice worth listening to, I think a local perspective is important here. So I’ll offer this thread for answering questions and debating issues related to the issue. I’m not going to relate to other threads, so limit the cross references.
Here’s a little background: I grew up in the US, and moved to Israel almost 6 years ago. I live in Efrat, a Jewish settlement just south of Bethlehem, in the West Bank. I am an Orthodox Jew. I have a pretty good knowledge of history, current affairs and politics and religion.
First of all, I believe that Jews have a right to live anywhere they want. If I can live just south of Bethlehem, PA, I can certainly live just south of Bethlehem, Israel. I don’t believe that Israel needs to “do” anything to force the world to recognize it. We – the Jewish people – have been here a very long time. We never gave up the right to come back.
Before the current conflict, in the Camp David talks in the summer of 2000, I said often that I was willing to make very painful compromises for a final settlement. I would uproot settlements, even give up parts of Jerusalem. But that was only if I felt that the Arab Israeli conflict was over. There was no way I was willing to use it as a starting board for further demands or worse - as a starting board for a war against Israel.
The events of the last year and a half have proved that the Palestinians and Arabs are interested in nothing less than the destruction of the State of Israel. That may change in the future, but it is clear that is what they want now. Therefore, in order to defend my children, I will take no compromises for my security. None. I can’t imagine another country doing any less.
If the Palestinians want to end the conflict they have one way to do it – say they stop fighting.
This isn’t a case of moral equivalence. Israeli soldiers are not delibaretly targeting Palestinian civilians and when civilians are hurt we apologize. Terrorism is the deliberate targeting of civililians in order to instill fear. Mistakes certainly may have been made here, but we certainly aren’t terrorists.
And we certainly aren’t Nazis. We just aren’t. I’ve visited the death camps in Poland. That’s where they murdered entire family in gas chambers and then burned them in crematoria. That’s not whats happening here. It’s not even what the Palestinians are doing to the Israelis.
I’ll leave it here for now, but I’m willing to respond to pretty much anything put up here.