I'm pretty sure most, and probably all, of my friends in New Zealand would say that peace is something to aspire to. And if they turned their minds to it at all, they would probably say that they want peace between Israel and the Palestinians. I certainly want that. I am sure most New Zealanders would want that. And to me, every other Jewish person I know, and every other non-Jewish person I have talked to about this, that peace comes in the form of Israel and a Palestinian state, co-existing peacefully side-by-side. The so-called two state solution.
In the last couple of weeks, there have been scores of barbaric attacks on Jews in Israel. These come in the form of knives, vegetable peelers, screwdrivers, firebombs, cars, and stones. My Facebook newsfeed is flooded with the images, reports and footage, and it devastates and disgusts me. As I write, I have just seen footage of a Rabbi being mowed down by a car, and then hacked to death with a meat cleaver. The attacks target civilians going about their daily lives, not just in the West Bank, but all over Israel, for no other reason than that they are Jewish.
As if that is not distressing enough, these attacks (if they are not completely ignored by the media and leaders), are justified on the basis of Palestinians being frustrated by the lack of progress towards peace. All they want is the "occupation" of the West Bank to end, and then apparently they will be appeased. The evidence would suggest otherwise.
If they really want peace, they might ask their leader, Mahmoud Abbas (now in his 11th year of a 4 year term), why he rejected an unprecedented offer in 2008 for a viable independent state by the then Israeli PM, and didn't even come back with a counter-offer. And why at the end of last month he announced in his speech at the UN that the Palestinians are no longer bound by the Oslo Accords.
If they really want peace, would their leaders, teachers, imams and other influencers indoctrinate them in an ideology of hate, tell lies to incite them and declare that murdering Jews is the honourable and courageous thing to do?
If they really want peace, why celebrate and reward as heroes the attackers and their families?
And if they really want peace, why does the Hamas charter still state that its aim is to destroy Israel and Jews? Why does Hamas still (even in the last week) send rockets over from Gaza? Gaza has not one Jew or settlement.
These things cannot be justified. These things are not the hallmarks of a "resistance movement". They do not suggest to me that such people want peace, and to live side-by-side with Israel. They want Jews gone, and by gone (since Israeli Jews have nowhere else to go anyway) I mean dead. There won't be peace until these people accept that Israel is here to stay and the Jews aren't going to disappear.
You don't hear much about it, but in Israel most Arabs and Jews co-exist peaceably, respectfully and amicably. They live and work side by side. A few days ago, an Israeli Arab doctor at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem saved the life of a 13 year old Jewish boy who was stabbed while riding his bike. That same hospital treats and saves the lives of the attackers, as well as the victims.
You also don't hear much about it, but there are good, peaceful Arabs and Muslims who are truly committed to peace with Israel, and who condemn their leaders and the violence of their people and expect better of them. I had the privilege to meet one of them, Bassem Eid, when he came to New Zealand recently. Tragically, their voices are drowned out and their job is made much harder by those who justify and defend these attacks, and those who draw a moral equivalence between the perpetrators of these attacks and the people who bravely seek to stop them.
I'm a Jewish New Zealander. I'm for peace. This is not the way to achieve it. Stop the incitement. Stop the terror.
Juliet Moses is a lawyer and active member of the Auckland Jewish community.
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