It was gratifying to read PhilipHorn’s discussion of today’s Mideast issues, pointing out that Israel is “not the central problem in the Arab world” (“The cold comfort of Israel’s ‘status quo,’” July 18).
As Horn rightly observes, the Arab world faces multiple and potentially violent divisions of its own. Yet Israel remains an available target for any Arab (or Iranian) demagogue wishing to deflect attention from his own regime’s failures, at least in part thanks to the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
Benjamin Netanyahu continues to stonewall regarding settlements and, as Horn recognizes, has raised a new barrier to negotiations, the demand that the Palestinians not just recognize the State of Israel, but recognize it as “the State of the Jewish people.” No prime minister in the past has asked this, and such a demand implies the loss of rights for Arab-Israeli citizens. You don’t have to be on the “far left” to see the occupation as harmful to Israel’s future, both in moral and practical terms.
Six tough-minded and articulate heads of the post-1980 Shin Bet are on record in the amazing movie The Gatekeepers as deploring Israel’s lack of strategic peacemaking vision. Four of these men — Ami Ayalon, Avraham Shalom, Yaakov Peri, and Carni Gillon — jointly gave an interview in 2003 warning of “catastrophe” if a two-state solution could not be found. Has anything changed in the last ten years? Arguing that security is not enough, that a two-state solution is the only answer, Ayalon has the last word in the film: “We win every battle but lose the war.” Or, as Proverbs 29:18 puts it, “Without vision, the people perish.”
I wish every reader of New Jersey Jewish News could view this movie, which was an Academy Award finalist and can now be rented.