Op-ed: While Israeli teens study science and math, their Palestinian counterparts learn about how evil Jews are
Published: 06.18.13, 11:01 / Israel Opinion
Peace, to be or not to be, that is the question. So far the question doesn't have an answer. However, it does have principals who are in a position to answer it. They, in my opinion, are the Arabs. It is they who have refused to accept the existence of a sovereignJewish state of Israel. Without this there will never be true peace.
There may be a cessation of hostilities, but this does not represent peace. It only serves as a respite, while tension and mistrust simmer until the next round of violence breaks out. Real peace means both sides accept each other and will find ways to foster good relations.
Israel has repeatedly stated its desire for peace, is prepared to make difficult sacrifices to facilitate it. The Arabs on the other hand continue their campaign of Israel's delegitimization and destruction.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has been attempting to get direct negotiations restarted. However, Mahmoud Abbas keeps demanding Israel stop all construction, agree to return to '67 borders, and hand over eastern Jerusalem, which includes Judaism’s holiest site, before he returns to talks. With these repeated precondition demands a breakthrough appears remote with the current Palestinian leadership.
Many believe the best chance for peace is when today's youth become tomorrow’s leaders. The key to achieving this lies in how Palestinian children are raised and educated. There must be a cessation of poisoning their minds with textbooks that teach:
- Israel is an illegitimate occupier of their land
- Jews are the cause of all their problems
- Liberation includes all of Palestine, not just areas beyond '67 borders
- The promotion of martyrdom and jihad
To get a sense of what the next generation might look like a group of young Israelis and Palestinians recently got together at an event called "Dialogue for Peace Project." One of the participants, a young Israeli journalist Lital Shemesh, expressed her reaction to the gathering in an article called "Peace? From a Palestinian Standpoint, There is a Past, There is no Future."
After the group held meetings over several weeks designed to break down barriers and stereotypes, they gathered one final time in Turkey. On the third day of the meeting hard realities emerged. The Israeli group had participants from the left and the right, expressing a range of views. All were willing to discuss areas of possible compromise in order to find common ground for peace with their Palestinian counterparts.
To their shock they discovered no reciprocation on the part of the young Palestinians. "None of them spoke of a separate Palestinianstate, or a two state solution. They all referred to one state, their state," Shemesh explained. Israel's independence was described as the "Nakba" ("tragedy" of Israel's inception). They refused to call suicide bombers "terrorists." Talking escalated into yelling. What had begun with high hopes on the part of young Israelis ended with disillusion and despair.
The young Palestinians reflected views shaped by their educational system, which are reinforced by parents, as well as religious and political leaders.
While the Jewish youth wanted to discuss a future based on compromise and coexistence, all the Palestinians wanted to talk about is the past, since in their view the existence of Israel ruined all hopes for their future. The disheartening conclusion to an event designed to provide hope for a peaceful future leaves one wondering if it will ever happen. What’s clear is the status quo isn't working.
In an attempt to send a strong message to the Palestinians, US Congressman Ron DeSantis (R – Florida) introduced a resolutioncalled the Palestinian Accountability Act in March. The bill is designed to reduce financial aid unless they meet certain conditions. They include: Dismantling terrorist infrastructure, ending incitement and hatred in the media, mosques and schools, cease participation in boycotting Israel, and recognize Israel's right to exist. The bill has eight co-sponsors. Since the Palestinians receive hundreds of millions of dollars annually from the US, the hope is that hitting them in their pocket book might have an impact.
Previous efforts threatening financial support have been met with resistance. They prefer to maintain their agenda of uncompromising hatred and destruction, rather than accept coexistence with the Jewish state, even if it means drastic reductions in much needed financial support. That is a chilling message, which cannot be overstated.
As for peace becoming more possible with the next generation, while Israeli youth learn about science, mathematics, high tech, etc. their Palestinian counterparts learn about how evil Jews are, and why murdering them is viewed as a holy act.
Given this jolt of reality, if you're one of those who believes the best chance for peace is when the current generation of Palestinian leadership is replaced by the next generation, it appears your prospects for winning the lottery are far greater.