Several conflicts ago, I exchanged e-mails with an Israeli progressive. I initially disagreed with him because he took a stronger position for the “Palestinian side” than I was comfortable with. I asked him what Israel can do in light of the constant barrage of missiles and other terrorist devices used against Israelis. His response surprised me and it was one I had never before considered. It went something like this: Because Israel is now and has been for many decades, the stronger, more powerful entity in the Mideast, it can and must now “take the high road.”
His point is well taken and I agree with it. It is for the Israelis, those who choose not to continuously take a “hawkish” position, but rather a more peaceful and humanistic one, to be daring and positive and take new initiatives, while never forgetting the bottom line is the continued existence of the Jewish State. These two concepts do not have to be mutually exclusive.
I have a suggestion for such an initiative, after things settle down in Gaza. Israel could rise above Hamas and become “the better angel” in terms of helping Palestinians who are suffering in Gaza. It could put a lot of money and effort towards the Palestinians, some portion of what now goes into the military, into education and children, jobs and women’s rights. What would come of such an initiative, we do not know, but I believe it would be for the better for both sides. Then the Palestinians and the world can see what Israel is meant to be and what Israel is at its best.