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what about foriveness...
Dear Mr. Hartman. I made an attempt to make a response a few weeks ago. I hope it got lost somewhere because thinking back on it, my anger was obvious. What I really wanted to say was, have the Jews thought about asking for forgiveness? The reason I say this is because years ago, following my heart surgery I had time to consider whatever my heart desired to know. Somehow it settled on Hagar and Ishmael. I have to tell you that I only have the King James version of that reality and I understand now that much has been lost in translation. Even so there is a simplicity to what I`ve been thinking. It seems to fit with this time of what is being called Arab Spring, and the over throw of authoritarian governments. This old tradition of the first born son getting special treatment, simply because he is first born, seems to have ask for trouble down the road. Have you ever considered the natural resentment that would follow if you were a descendant of Hagar or Ishmael? I know this was long ago but I say this because i believe in a spiritual realm where all thoughts and possibilities exist and influence our current thinking. I know it would not do much good to make a public announcement of forgiveness like the Pope does from time to time. But at some level it seems that a thought form exists which feels as if some of Abraham`s children didn`t get their rightful treatment. Of course Ishmael was the first born, and Hagar was blessed with a land to live in. Our Christian version of that is pretty limited about that and possibly you can give me more information. Even so, it has more to do with the integrity of Abraham. If your tried to tell the story of Abraham,Sara,and Hagar to your children, or from Sara or Hagar`s point of view, how do we explain some of Abraham`s behavior in the year`s that followed? Possibly psychologists would say that God telling Abraham to sacrifice his son was a form of denial and a major guilt trip for the choices he had made. Rather than just accept his human mistake, it became something else, that seems to have turned him into legendary figure of his time Even this would be hard to bring to our modern world from the tribal world or Abraham and the traditions at the time. But I hope you can see my point and consider the possible change of heart that would bring the children of Abraham closer together. I would ask how can you have equality if all sons are not equal? Please forgive my first note if you recall it. And I do have a email address now as lillisophia was not available when I completed my comment to the blog. I love your radiant picture and trust that you are force for good. Blessing Lilli
lilli, us, 05/10/2011 21:08:00
David,Goliathm geopolitics & evolutionary psychol
I appreciated and connect with the soul of your article on the Palestinian UN request, etc. The Jewish people have always been small, buffetted by powerful empires, starting between the competition between Egypt and whoever ruled Mesopotamia, then by the Greek, Roman, empires,Christianity as world power through the Middle Ages and beyond, etc. With one period of not being in that position, during the reigns of King david and Solomon, not because Israel was large and powerful, but because of a cooincidence of weakness in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Small and buffetted, we have also been decimated and oppressed by all the world powers of the time, which kept us small and powerless. At the same time, we survived as an ethnic identity -- some say for better, others for worse, some say for this reason, some for that -- but the reason I can feel in my soul and in your article, and in those who have an indescribable connection to Jewish history, the river of ancestors and all the meaning they made and struggled to make. (I, personally, also have an equally strong connection to nature, to the universe, to life and the human species -- all equally undescribable yet real.) The story of David and Goliath, (besides depicting that unique moment in history when the main world powers had weakened and weren`t supporting Israel`s immediate enemies, so israel could expand just a bit), is in one sense the fantasy of an always tiny and powerless group finding ways to be powerful and overcome fantastic odds -- and at the same time it is a depiction of what has enabled Jews to survive, and whenever possible flourish as a culture and spirituality, against those same odds. As a psychotherapist working with traumatized children I see parallel stories to David and Goliath represented in the sand tray, or in drawings. As an evlotionary psychologist I understand human political psychology, and why we are always confronted by the same situation, era after era. And as one who cares about history and politics, I can see that the State of Israel will always be in a situation of almost checkmate. Checkmate after checkmate after checkmate. With very few David/Solomon moments, like the six day war, or the brief Golden Eras Jews had in Spain, US, etc. Rabbi Nachman of Breslav reportedly wrote that beautiful poem/song, which we sing in these Days of Awe: "Kol HaOlam Kulo Gesher Tzar Meod.. All the world is a very narrow bridge, a VERY narrow bridge; and the key, the core, [the most important thing we need to cross it,] is not being afraid at all." Not being afraid of its narrowness, where we can so easily fall either into despair and passivity on one side of the bridge, or into self defeating stuckedness of saying: "since whatever Israel does the world is always against us, there`s no point in responding to each geo-political moment with iits own strategic and humanistic response. We`ve done it a million times and we`re always back in the same place, with everyone blaming us anyway." The force of the gravity from these drops from the "very narrow bridge" are immensely powerful, and we fall into them constantly. Not being afraid? How can we not be afraid? Surely, we are always afraid -- being as we are as Jews in international attitudes and politics, and as the State f Israel, in checkmate about our survival and belonging, time after time? The fear is what makes us fall from the bridge to passive despair or defiant despair. In both, we are puppets of the forces "negdenu lechaloteynu" seeking to destroy us, de-legitimize us, blame us. I see the Israeli electorate as mostly fallen into this puppet condition, and I see the polarized American Jews also fallen into a puppet condition of various forces (described elsewhere, to not loose focus here). The call to lead, voiced by Rabbi Hartman, is the staying on the bridge. It is a very deep position, that connects with the deepest meaning of what those of us who care about Israel and the Jews, want to preserve and develop, what we want to give birth to now. We can abort the birth-- it won`t be the first time, or we can agian produce a magical birth, we`ve done it often enough-- out of this long and incredibly meaningful human experience as a small nation, usualy oppressed and demonized, who nevertheless lives consciously and conscientiously. What does this mean in practical terms, relative to the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN? It means that we need to read the present geo-political situation with open and unafraid eyes, aware that it is another checkmate, after which there will come another checkmate, and then another one -- and respond to this one with what we truly want: a safe homeland for the Jewish people, which is sovereign and democratic, which is a full and respected member within the uneasy collection of nations, internally free from forces that will render it a puppet, that would render it reactionary rather than creative, that would render it the antithesis of that it wants to be, so that it can be more easily demonized.
Claudia Chaves, Israel, 02/10/2011 23:54:00
Abe`s comment
Abe, you say let`s get on with negotiations. Bibi, too, says, "Let`s stop negotiating about negotiating." But to both of you, I say, Israel shouldn`t call for negotiations when it is basically unwilling to negotiate. Right of return? Non-negotiable, or Israel loses its Jewish state. Security? Non-negotiable. Israel doesn`t trust NATO troops to protect it and thus wants a "permanent" military presence in the Jordan Valley and at other key strategic outposts. Let`s say the Palestinians give Israel both of these--just as I believe they are essential to Israel`s survival. But that`s not enough for Bibi. He also wants Jerusalem to be under sole sovereignty of Israel rather than being split. And as for the West Bank, with every week that goes by and each new Jewish dwelling that goes up, even that is becoming more and more difficult to negotiate. Pre-`67 borders will soon be a total fantasy. As far as negotiations go, from a Palestinian perspective, what exactly is left to negotiate? Bibi wants it ALL. At the very least, if he is serious about negotiating, he would halt ALL building in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. "MY" non-negotiable stance: it is disingenuous to do otherwise and call for negotiations. Jews are a fair-minded people, and they should recognize this hypocrisy--just, as the Palestinians recognize it and are reluctant to go back to a table that is suppose to be about negotiations but promises anything but!
Aaron, USA, 02/10/2011 23:35:00
To Aaron
Greetings! 1. Please provide a source for your comment that 90% of the land was owned by Arabs in 1946. Please see the following site: http://zionism-israel.com/ezine/Paletstinian_Land_Loss.htm My argument is that much of the land was ownerless in that year. 2. It is an old argument whether many of the Arabs ran way of their own accord or encouraged by fellow Arabs or whether they were chased away by Jews. The truth is as usual somewhere in the middle. Anyways, Israel has honored in many cases and continues to honor the deeds held by any Arab family. Those Arabs that stayed put and did not flee could help testify to that. In any event, private land ownership does not play a role in state-building. As mentioned, Arabs can keep a hold on their property under a Jewish government. 3. There is nothing fair about war. There is nothing fair that the Jews were exiled from this land so many times with the kingdom of David and Solomon encompassing much of modern Syria and Lebanon as well. The Ottoman Empire crumbled, treaties were signed and land was apportioned b the victors. There is nothing fair about that but such is life on our planet. The US and so many other countries received their territories in exactly this manner. So Israel (and you are speaking of Israel and not of the West Bank or Gaza) is not stolen property. 4. No civil and no religious rights of the Muslims have been abrogated since the establishment of the state. They are free to worship in Israel as they see fit and they are free to buy land and build mosques and etc. This cannot be said of the future Jew-free Palestine being planned and which you seem to support. (I support a future Palestine open to its neighbors and to the people living within its expected borders today - Jew, Christian and Muslim alike.) 5. Prof Dershowitz documents his sources. If you could please do the same. Best wishes to you and all on this New Year.
Abe Weschler, Israel, 02/10/2011 16:12:00
Palestinian UN bid
as a Jew who has studied this conflict most of my life, what I see reflected by most Israelis and American Jews is a smug superiority that masks a worldview of exaggerated self importance. Israel was built on the dispossession of the Palestinian people- whether they had a "state" or not. And it continues with the 25,000 home demolitions continuing as we speak. And then they complain about "de-legitimacy" and "unilateralism" of the Palestinians. "no partner to talk to after decades of assassinating Pal. leaders!!Chutzpa- and We pay for it!!
RICK, USA, 30/09/2011 03:34:00
The most egregious example of unilateralism is the Israeli invasion of Palestinian land and the planting of more than 500,000 settlers in what was supposed to be Palestine. The world sees this as cruel, arrogant, dishonest and duplicitous behaviour. Israel has devoted 50 years to bluffing, posturing and obfuscating the reasons for this landgrab. This Israeli spin is only accepted by those morally-challenged politicians who also accept bribes from supporters of Israel.
Ron, Ireland, 30/09/2011 00:44:00
Palestinian independence
2 comments: From reading different articles, not only this one - 1)Oh dear, I gives up. Abbas doesn’t want to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and Netanyahu doesn’t want to put a freeze on settlement construction before entering negotiations. Didn’t their Ma’s inform them – it’s a physical law – ‘You cannot eat your cake and have it too’? All kidding aside, I think it is time to deal. It is in Israel`s interest to stop the stonewalling, put on a settlement freeze and break the deadlock. There is an opportunity here to finally get serious. Also there is a need. Abbas is a relative moderate. The Arab world is in flux – it needs some kind of indication that moderation will get it somewhere. And Abbas is flexing his muscles, and will be able to garner significant international support. This is not the time for Netanyahu to dish out the same old. In the short run he can get away with it, but in the long run he has to form some kind of partnership with the Palestinian leadership. Is it too far-fetched to think that if Israel would accommodate legitimate Palestinian demands that they would rather defend that against their radical neighbours ? Right now any concession is being presented as the thin edge of the wedge, but with this notion the only defence is bigger force – and never-ending conflict. But at the moment there is an opportunity – and a difference - in dealing with Abbas rather than with Nasrallah or the leaders of Hamas. Israel should show leadership and put Abbas intentions to the test.
Penny Blake, Canada, 29/09/2011 02:55:00
We all are the children of Abraham. We can both live side by side and help each other to be the next world super power and most prosperous place on earth. But first is first to have peace you must give a peace back .Israel must pull back and end the Occuptation. ITS EATHER BY PEACE OR BY FORSE ISREAL MUST CHOOSE.
Toni, USA, 28/09/2011 01:16:00
A Time to Lead
It`s not because I love Palestinians that I "like" this statement by Hartman... it is because I love Jews! We must not despair nor fall into old patterns we are used to. We must re-energize ourselves and reach for positive action. I am in a position to really know what that should be...but I realize how easy it is to fall back into fear and habitual stances.
Jane Trigere, USA, 28/09/2011 00:35:00
Mr. Hartman.. Why do you use the term "Palestinian unilateralism" to describe their legitimate application for statehood? In 1948 would you have described Israeli`s application as "unilateralism"? Does a marching band have to accompany an application? b. traven a Jewish WW II veteran
b traven, us, 27/09/2011 21:50:00
Abe`s comment
Abe, With all due respect, in 1946, close to 90% of the land of mandate Palestine was owned by Arabs (it`s documented). Overnight, the land was partitioned by the UN, roughly 60%-40% in favor of the Jewish people. I want a homeland for the Jewish people just as you do, but at the expense of unfairly "taking" land from the people who were living there? That`s why the Arab peoples of Palestine fought so vehemently. If someone stole your house, then offered you part of that house back, would you agree without a fight? No. Even the declaration that seeded the Jewish homeland in 1917, by Lord Balfour, called for a national home for the Jewish people, with the caveat that "...it (be) clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities of Palestine... ." This is precisely what occurred with the formation of Eretz Yisrael. Finally, please don`t cite Alan Dershowitz when you talk about "legal history." Mr. Dershowitz is a brilliant legal mind, and he argues a strong "case" for Israel. But he is a lawyer, first and foremost. His level of "scholarship," I`m afraid, is limited to presenting one side--and a very narrow side--of this complex history, in which both Israel and the Palestinians should have--and can have-- co-existing states.
Aaron, USA, 27/09/2011 18:31:00
To George in the US
Dear George, the land in the Middle East was partitioned without the consent of the Jews either. Afterwards, the people - Jews and Arabs - were asked if they would be willing to live with the partition. The Jews said yes, and the Arabs no. It is the Jews that have a 3000 year history in this land. It is the Jews that have had a continuous presence here for those 3000 years. Not to deny that Arabs have been living here as well (along with other peoples during all that time), but one cannot deny and make believe that the Arabs were here first or have first rights to the region. The Jews are not even pushing the idea that we were here first and we have demonstrated a willingness to share since 1947. Let us also stop the false idea that Israel exists on Palestinian land. (BTW, being that you are living in the US, are you not yourself part of a country that is truly built to a great extent on stolen land?) Israel has extended its hand for peace numerous times in an effort to come to an agreement on how to share this very small land. Only the most stubborn can deny this truth. There is nothing sacred about the 1967 borders (again, what is so good about the borders that led to a war in 1967, or have we all forgotten) - let us have new negotiations and get on with our lives in peace.
Abe Weschler, Israel , 27/09/2011 14:24:00
so what`s new?
You haven`t said anything that Barak and Olmert have not already offered. They both offered to dismantle all but the major settlement blocs. They both offered land swaps to make up for the land taken by the settlement blocs. They both offered to share Jerusalem. They were both greeted with resounding "no`s". All of which begs the question. When will people like you get it. The Palestinians will not make any kind of peace that allows for a defensible, long term future for Israel. For heaven`s sake, they say so, time and time again. What do you think their bogus "Right of Return" is all about? Take a look at the video embedded in this piece and you`ll see: http://fresnozionism.org/2011/09/a-tale-of-two-abbases/ You offer absolutely nothing new, nothing that the Palestinians haven`t already refused. What are you looking for? For the US and Europe to strong-arm the Palestinians and get them to realize that Israel cannot offer more? If that were a possibility, it would have happened long ago. The only sad reality is that as long as the Palestinians` long term goal is Israel`s destruction, there is nothing we can do but plead our case and defend our land.
Stanley Tee, Canada, 27/09/2011 14:12:00
Why deny the Palestinians in 2011 what the Jews asked for at the UN in 1948? Palestine was partitioned without the consent of the Palestinians to create a Jewish homeland based on eradicating 2000 years of history. It is unimaginable that native Americans, nor any other people, could claim the same rights to rearrange the world map to what it was 2000 years ago. Israel exists on palestinian land, but that does not give it the right to expand and occupy what is left to the Palestinians. Peace between these two people will only come if Israel returns to its 1967 borders and accepts the Palestinians right to live in their homeland. All the debating and rationalization for Israel`s occupation and settlement expansion will not change the fact that the Palestinians have the right to live free in their land, or what was left of it after partition, like any other people. They have the right to fight for their freedom and should be supported in that effort by the US just as it did with the French, the Dutch and many other countries in WWII. The US must not support, or be part of Israel`s occupation, under whatever guise it is being practiced.
George, US, 26/09/2011 19:39:00
Occupation of Palestinian land
Every one speaks of occupation of Palestinian land. There is no such thing. There has never been an Arab Palestinian state in the Middle East. Since the 1500s until 1917, the entire Middle East was part of the Ottoman empire. When that fell, all the land was transferred by international decision and placed under the responsibility of England until the world could decide what to do with it. Much of the British mandate was marked off and designated as the country of Jordan in a move that many consider illegal considering earlier international treaties (this is not the place for a full discussion). The rest was divided between the Jews and local Arabs in the 1947 UN Partition Plan, a plan that has no legal standing and was merely a suggestion. The Jews accepted the division plan and the Arabs, wanting it all, did not. A war was started between Jews and Arabs and Arab states, which when hostilities ceased left Israel on the ground, much to the surprise of the Arabs and the world, and the other parts of the British mandate in Egyptian (Gaza) and Jordanian (West Bank) hands. This continued until 1967 when Israel drove both Egypt and Jordan out of those lands. Again, Israel offered these areas to local Arabs to start their own country and they rejected the offer, still wanting the entire territory. That is how it has remained for the last 44 years. In 2000 and again in 2008, much of these territories, which legally are still under the British mandate (!) were offered to the local Arabs in exchange for peace, and they rejected the offers. Let us stop the fiction of occupied Palestinian lands, learn the legal history,and start discussing the issues as they really are. For anyone interested, please listen to legal scholar and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz on the subject here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVCfMeVqo7g. And he is far from being a right winger.
Abe Weschler, Israel, 26/09/2011 14:30:00
The arrogance that you display by suggesting that the UN is an ok place to establish Israel (over the bones of the indigenous population) but not for the Palestinians is perhaps a starting point to understand why people dislike Israel. To imply that any time the UN supports the rights of the Palestinians there is the usual crying about anti semitism, delegitimization, etc. The problem is the occupation of Palestinian land by Israel, full stop. End the occupation and you begin the road to peace. Until Israel respects "the other" as much as you demand respect peace is dead. If you do not take this opportunity for peace, you will lose your "Jewish state" and the blame will be squarely on your own shoulders.
aoserd, canada, 25/09/2011 20:53:00
To Gray and Richard
Gray, you speak of the settlers as if they are all of one heart and of one mind, which they are not. They are variegated with different points of view on religious and political issues. They are not all right wing fanatics and I would argue that most would strike you as quite pleasant were you to have a conversation with them. (As I am sure that many of the Palestinians are equally nice and pleasant.) Many of them are not even religious and are only interested in living in safety. Many came to the settlements not for ideology but because of economical housing. And for others still, if the Palestinian government would be a safe and proper environment, say for example, along the lines of the US or Canada, they would be open to settling there, given that from a religious perspective they would still be living in the Land of Israel (although I am sure that there are many who would naturally prefer to live under a Jewish flag anyways). But certainly under current terrorist conditions, no one in their right mind would consider living in PA territory under their jurisdiction. By the way, you mention uprooting trees committed by the settlers and you do not mention the uprooting of trees done by Palestinians or the countless other provocations. You also do not mention that Israel and most Israelis condemn the "price tag" perpetrators, while there is no similar condemnation forthcoming on the PA side. And the Judenrein argument does indeed hold water as it has rarely been a consideration for the Arabs and never for the Palestinians to have the Jews live in their midst other than as dhimmi. And in recent history, the Palestinians have not held out a hand for peace. Richard - "Empty words" - after Sinai, Lebanon, and the Gaza pull-out you can still speak of "empty words"? After the dismantling of settlements and blockades, you can still speak of "empty words"? After Israel has gone back on its promise never to negotiate with terrorists, you can still speak of "empty words"? After releasing hundreds and hundreds of convicted terrorists and murderers, while Gilad Shalit has not received one Red Cross visit, not one humanitarian care package, you can still speak of "empty words"? What actions can you point out on the Palestinian side of this conflict that has been so far-reaching? Or must the Israelis do it all because "it is all their fault"? Lastly, Judaism will not rise and fall over the actions of any one group. It has survived for three thousand years and is going strong today despite the hundreds and millions of its adherents that have been killed over the last two thousand years. And it will survive far into the future.
Abe Weschler, Israel , 25/09/2011 14:32:00
Stolen lands
Israel gvmnt watch Pals like enemys: thats the 1st conceptual error. Based in his knowledge that the land was STOLED.clear. Pals are knocked by force. Its real. They want to live in peace, the chance need to be gived by Israel who have the force, not for the weak Pals. With some economic concessions and a Peace agreement Pals 110% acept live beside a NOBLE Israel State. Taking them like monkeys just they hate you.Respect, is the key.
barakat, Argentina, 25/09/2011 09:49:00
You accuse the Palestinians of unilateralism but practically every action of the occupation has been unilateral and most of it has been harmful and hateful to the Palestinians. Now when they`ve gone to the UN to seek recognition of their rights you accuse them of unilateralism? It seems you have a very one-sided self-serving concept of unilateralism.
Patrick, US, 24/09/2011 22:03:00
sir....you took a lot of words to get to your point....which is to give in to our enemys...or to really try to find a way our enemys will even take our giving in..in fact..the enemy s will only take our suicde..and nothing else
jack bender, usa, 24/09/2011 20:28:00
reality is ?
what you write sounds great but if you check it against reality and what is going on you will find that you are suggesting Israel take more risks when the ones taken have proven to be dangerous and suicidal.What you say sounds good in theory but the reality says something very different. you want to take a tiny piece of land and divide it to people who already populate numerous lands while forgetting about security matters. you may take the risk but a responsible leader will not repeat Rabin`s mistake, his peace cost a lot of lives and a growing wave of terror. it is a nice idea but not at all anything that can describe the real situation on planet earth.
light , switzerland , 24/09/2011 01:28:00
The Truth Be Told
In your words "It is time for us to once and for all admit and unequivocally declare that the fulfillment of our rights to all the land of Israel cannot be fully expressed if we are to allow the Palestinian peoples’ rights to be respected as well." In other words The Palestinian`s rights to the land, which they claim are ancestral even though the Palestinian`s were not a distinct national community until 1967, are more important than Israels. So lets say Israel takes your advice, forgets the past, the borders are negotiated, the Palestinian`s agree to stop the terrorism, and agree to recognize Israel as a state, what then, peace? How many times has Israel already done this? Do you not understand that after the Six Day War Israel was faced with the challenge of translating it’s military gains into a permanent peace based on UN Security Council Resolution 242, which called for “acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.” However the Arab countries took the position of no peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, and no recognition of Israel at the Khartoum Summit in Aug. 1967, and they have stuck to their statement ever since. We have been forgetting our past for 44 years. I think it is high time we remember our past and yes move foreword, possibly to a two state solution, but not at the cost of Israel, because that is what it will cost for Palestine statehood, all of Israel.
Kelly Onickel, United States, 23/09/2011 16:49:00
Nice try.
"Yes, please, give in to a truly Judenrein Palestinian state." This attempt at irony would be a strong argument IF the settlers would be willing to live in a Palestinian state. But they don`t. They didn`t settle in apartments in Palestinian West Bank Cities, like some Israelis of the peace movement did. Instead, the settlers built their own cities, on stolen Palestinian lands, connected with their own roads and with the IDF guarding them. They don`t accept the Palestian "Authority", and they have shown they don`t want to live in peace with their neighbors. Countless uprooted olive trees and other acts of vandalism called "price tag" are evidence of this. So, sorry, but the "judenrein" argument obviously doesn`t hold water.
Gray, Germany, 23/09/2011 14:58:00
Palestinian Unilateralism
If one views the Palestinian act of taking their case to the U.N., abrogating the Oslo Accords, as a hostile act then the answer as to how to respond seems clear. You merely have to accept the fact that the PALS have no intent of living side by side in peace with a Jewish State. 63 years of hostility won`t be altered by anyone`s good intentions no matter how noble and righteous.
Martin Gray, United States, 23/09/2011 00:34:00
Your article is very balanced & good. Isreali people deserves a peaceful life & respect of arab neighbours. It is time to make deal with palestanians to Accept their statehood.
Ceyhun, Turkey, 22/09/2011 08:19:00
Dave, UK
Poor Dave, Please look at the reality. In Israel, noone preaches hatred of Arabs. They are free to walk the street, they are integrated into high levels of Israeli society. The school textbooks do not brainwash Israeli kids to hate Arabs. True humanism and equality. Why don`t you look and see what doing over the other side of the "wall". See what they are teaching their children, see what is written in their textbooks. See how they relate to humanism and equality.
Zvika, Israel, 22/09/2011 00:25:00
Double standards
I can’t help but read between the lines of this article. Double standards everywhere. Let me explain this so anyone can understand: The term “unilateral”. The move by Palestinians is not a unilateral move to gain their statehood. They are asking the entire world to help them achieve that. Israel on the other hand was declared unilaterally without the approval of any of the Arabs that where driven away from their land to make a way for the Israeli State. The term “hatred”. The Jews are not hated by the world. The Jews in the united make up 1.6% of the population, yet they control the congress and are loved by the 250 million Americans. “Hatred” should be a term that describes how the Israeli’s feel towards the Palestinians. They take their land, steel from them, and kept them under occupation for over forty years. The term “recognize”. We will not recognize their rights if they don’t recognize ours. The Palestinian action is not asking for any Israeli land. Even the Palestinians that lost their homes and properties in 1948 are not asking for any Israeli to give back what they took. The Palestinians are asking the same rights that granted Israel its statehood, intern, their request by itself is recognition of the state of Israel. If they did not recognize Israel and its rights, they would have been asking for the entire Palestine to be their state. Finally, the term “negotiate”. Negotiation is only possible between two equal partners. Israelis and Palestinians are not equal. Israelis are free, Palestinians are occupied. Israel holds all the land, Palestine has nothing. There are no issues to negotiate regarding a statehood for Palestinians. You either want them to have a state or not. Did Israel negotiate with the Arabs before it took their land for its state?
George Kishek, USA, 22/09/2011 00:04:00
both ways?
While I appreciate where you conclude your thoughts, I do not see how you can state "we are not responsible for our predicament" on one hand and then note that many settlements are problematic (at least as far as you name it a pragmatic concern). Actions such as settlement construction (which are as unilateral as any actions have ever been) do not sit in a moral vacuum. They are part and parcel to the many faults of our peoples--Arab and Israeli. In the end, no declarations make much difference without serious soul-searching on behalf of all who must live with one another. Do we truly want the best life for ourselves and each other? If so, can we hear each other`s narratives and offer the profound possibility that we have violated each other? This includes, of course, the actions of Israel that continue to make life difficult to unbearable for Palestinians. The ways we have been "unfair" (hardly an appropriate world when describing violence and murder) have been, as you said, "counted" and "ennumerated". Will you allow the same for you own?
Daoud, United States, 21/09/2011 22:41:00
Mr. Hartman in Haaretz
I very much agree with "Grey, Germany". I even would suggest something more modest as a first step: Lets start with an imediate true and internationally monitored stop of construction of further settlements. Lets stop it for good and offer the Palestinians a state in the borders of 67 within 12 months. And lets also soon begin with dismateling of some of the settlements now as a gesture of good will. Empty words do not interest the rest of the World (non -Jewish and the reasonable Jewish one) anymore. By the way: The defenders of continued occupation (44 years!) are the true undertakers of Judaism I believe.
Richard Szklorz, Germany / Czech Republic, 21/09/2011 14:04:00
Reducing settlements
Greetings Gray from Germany! Israel has reduced settlements, dismantling and pulling out all settlers from the Sinai Peninsula, as well as dismantling all settlements and pulling out settlers from the Gaza Strip. Ethnic cleansing was complete in both those instances. Furthermore, Israel has dismantled a number of settlements in Judea and Samaria (or in the West Bank if you prefer), including tearing down just last week a number of homes in the Migron settlement. Arguably, after seeing the negative results from the Gaza pull-out, Israel may be a little less willing to uproot families that have been living in some of these places for many generations now, just for the sake of more terror attacks. On another technical point, there are no "Palestinian lands," only lands designated by the UN Partition Plan for a Palestinian State; land that the Palestinians rejected (!), land that was seized and held by Jordan for 19 years (1948-1967), and which was then relinquished and left in the hands of Israel. (I am not referring to privately-owned lands, lands held by individuals, the deeds to those lands being honored by the Israeli government, but only to "state lands.") There is no reason why the Palestinians should not be willing to compromise on a land-for-land deal, given that Israel has, at least in the past, guaranteed they receive 100% of the area allotted them by the UN (Barak offered 98.5% with the rest to be negotiated). There is nothing sacred about the `49 border lines that they should be insisted upon. Lastly, I am still not sure why the State of Palestine needs to be free of all Jews and Jewish presence, and the whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The Jewish settlements are productive and profitable contributors to a stable economy and it would be in the best interests of the new State to have such sources of income and to invite them to stay as a show of good faith. But there now, I am dreaming...
Abe Weschler, Israel , 21/09/2011 11:58:00
Why don’t we get real?
Why don’t we get real? and stop promoting agendas, I like the idea of thinking as humans, not Jews not Muslims, in a new middle east everybody needs to be realistic The real issues are Jerusalem, refugees and settlers coming from all over the word living in the middle of Arab land dissect their countries into little small islands where Arabs has to go around the Cape of Good Hope to move from point A to point B. And please do not talk about defending borders and insult our intelligence.
aj, Occupied Palestine , 21/09/2011 09:32:00
As much as I like your articles, I find it sad that you always write as a Jew and an Israeli. Why not as a human? Hidden behind your suggestions for resolving the conflict is a small but inbuilt expectation that Jewish rights are more important than those of the Palestinian. Fine, you are an Israeli and a Jew, so you have a bias, but it holds you back from speaking in universal principles of humanism and equality. This for me, is the fundamental problem with Israel. While progressive forces all over the developed world are now thinking in universal terms of humans, Israel cannot, the glue that binds it is made of ethnicity and religion
Dave , UK, 21/09/2011 06:50:00
Today`s blog post
Bravo Donniel. Your clarity and balance, badly missing from the communal conversation in the US, are so important and so welcome. Thank you. David Ackerman Penn Valley, PA
David Ackerman, US, 20/09/2011 21:52:00
Willingness, shmillingness.
"We have shown a willingness to dismantle settlements" Nothing but empty words, no real political will to stop the settlers behind that. Since and despite Oslo, the number of people living in settlements has increased every single year, there has never been a reduction. Actions speak louder than words! If Israel is really willing to reduce settlements, it should start to do so. In the Galilee, the share of Jewish residents is actually DECLINING, they aren`t a majority anymore. So, resettlement would not only NOT be a problem, but actually help to balance the demographics. As long as nothing of that kind happens and Israel continues to grab more Palestinian lands, you can`t convince the rest of the world that you`re serious. Everybody is aware that the settlements have become the MAIN obstacle for peace long ago. Only serious changes can convince people that Israel really wants to live in peace with the neighbors.
Gray, Germany, 20/09/2011 11:52:00
History and the need to Act
I think saying "Uncertainty, however, is no excuse for passivity, but the impetus for action." People often feel the need to act, especially in the face of uncertainty. Often that is a mistake. That is true of medical treatment and also politics. Ariel Sharon often acted boldly; sometimes that worked well for Israel, sometimes not. Also, I think a sense of history is missing. What do you want Israel to do the Olmert did not do? All the conditions in the second to last paragraph that you think are necessary for the Palestinians to take have been clearly and explicitly repudiated by Abbas within the last two months. Perhaps the thing to do is to get those conditions inserted into the UN resolution but I would wager that the PA would never allow it and get their unilateral resolution passed just the way they want it.
david, US, 19/09/2011 20:47:00
Same old story
You can lead a horse to water... That used to be true when the Palestinians were willing to sit down and negotiate. Now you can`t even lead the horse to the water any more. "The Palestinians have to agree to end the conflict, to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, to fight terror and hatred both in their streets and in their textbooks and to once and for all relinquish their aspirations to return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders." We have shown a willingness to dismantle settlements, to lift road blocks, we continue to provide water, electricity, telephone, and etc., we continue to open our hospital doors to the ill and wounded, etc. but nothing will change the fact that our simple demands will not be met. On another point - Dismantle the settlements? Yes, please, give in to a truly Judenrein Palestinian state. That bodes well for peace. Perhaps we should transfer all the Arabs out of Israel? Oh, no, that is Meir Kahane talking again. Let us transfer all the Jews out of Palestine? Now that is a voice for peace; that is a moral and a Jewish way of doing things. Am I alone in seeing the hypocrisy here? How about envisioning a Palestinian state with open borders and cross-traffic of citizens in both directions? (Not even Peres dreams of this anymore.) May the day arrive when...
Abe Weschler, Israel , 19/09/2011 20:35:00

Donniel Hartman is President of Shalom Hartman Institute and Director of the Engaging Israel Project.

His latest book is Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself.

Donniel contributes a regular column to Times of Israel and writes for many other publications on a regular basis.

  • Read all of Donniel Hartman's columns and essays.

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