A Voice from Hebron


By Gary M. Cooperberg

Shimon Peres is leading a quest for peace. Bill Clinton so admires this quest that he has offered the help of the United States in this noble effort. Yasser Arafat and Husni Mubarak are also stalwart partners in this utopian goal to bring peace and tranquility to the Middle East and to all of Mankind.

The problem is that peace has enemies. There are individuals and groups in this world which have one common goal . . . to murder peace. These people hate peace. They prefer a world of chaos where women and children are blown up and shot; where poverty prevails; and where life itself hangs on a slender thread.

There are Arabs who hate peace, and there are Jews who hate peace. The Arabs who hate peace strap bombs to their bodies and blow themselves up together with as many Jewish civilians as they can take with them. They have no personal qualms with their victims, it is only peace which upsets them and which they seek to destroy. And Jews who insist upon living in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, merely because their ancestors once lived there, are also enemies of peace. They could just as easily make their homes in Haifa or Tel Aviv, but the very idea that, by doing so, peace will descend, finds them putting up with rocks, bullets and bombs rather then leave. They hate peace so much that they subject themselves and their families to life threatening hardships in order to destroy it.

Can anyone, with a modicum of intelligence, honestly accept such a premise? Yet this is the exact premise set before us by the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel!

Indeed, it may be true that there are interests in this world which see war as a positive goal. Those interests, however, are almost exclusively based upon economic interests alone. Munitions manufacturers and those whose business is the production of materials of war, stand to benefit by war and may, understandably, be called "enemies of peace." But how, even by the most energetic stretch of the imagination, can anyone believe that an ideology, based upon either religious or national goals, would desire to destroy peace? Such a suggestion is merely a simplistic camouflage to the real, irreconcilable, differences which cause conflict in this world.

The fact, which Clinton and Peres hide from, is that the Arab suicide bomber wants peace even more than they do! He has demonstrated how far he was willing to go for his ideology. He paid the highest price for it. What have the world leaders sacrificed for their beliefs? The Arab did not murder himself and countless others because he hated peace. He committed, what he believed to be, an act of self sacrifice to bring his concept of peace to the world.

The Moslem believes that only he knows how to bring real peace to the world. In his view the very existence of a Jewish state of any size in his exclusively Islamic world is what is preventing world peace. Thus, any effort to remove this obstacle is a holy effort and any means taken is justifiable. Enemies of peace? Hardly. Enemies of the Jewish State? Obviously.

The Jew believes that only he knows how to bring real peace to the world. In his view, by fulfilling the commandment of G-d to return to his homeland and rebuild a society based upon Biblical principles there, is the only way to arrive at real peace. Enemies of peace? Hardly. Enemies of Islam? Obviously.

Can any honest individual presume to mitigate between these two conflicting views of how to arrive at peace? Is there a compromise which both sides can live with? Can either side truly be called an enemy of peace? Of course not.

This is the essence of the conflict which plagues the world today. It is not a conflict between nice people who like peace and evil people who hate peace. It is a conflict between Islam and Judaism. It is a conflict of definitions of Truth. It is a repeat performance of the Biblical narrative of the Exodus where the King of Egypt believed that only he possessed Truth and that the concept of One supreme G-d was false. Pharaoh had the power on his side. How dare a slave society presume to foist its strange ideology upon the greatest power on earth! "And Pharaoh said, Who is the L-rd that I should obey His voice . . .?" Exodus 5:2

This then is the real conflict which remains to be resolved. It will never be resolved by Nobel peace prizes or by international conferences to eradicate terror or to establish peace. It is simply not open to compromise. While the Jewish nation does not seek to force its point of view upon others, rather to simply live as an example of G-dliness which the nations of the world will observe and desire to emulate; by the very fact that it chooses to exist on land which Moslems view as exclusively theirs creates a perception of forcing its views upon them.

Shall the Moslems, for the sake of peace, discard their ideological beliefs and accept this "intrusion?" Shall the Jews, for the sake of peace, abandon their ideological beliefs and all move to Brooklyn? Such solutions are patently ridiculous. One cannot compromise on Truth. Of the two ideologies one is True and the other simply isn't. But how is Truth determined? There is only one way. Both ideologies must continue upon the path which it feels is true. Which ever prevails is the one which holds the Truth. This may seem to be a formula for war, and maybe it is. But there is no other way to resolve this conflict.

It matters not which political leader takes the reigns in Israel today. The basis for the conflict remains the same. Even if we find ourselves with a Jewish leader who totally rejects all of his religious beliefs, this leader will, eventually find himself confronted with the option to either voluntarily dismantle the Jewish state, or fight to maintain its existence.

Thus the question is not one of peace or war. It is rather a question of will we stand up for our principles now, when we are still strong, or will we wait until we have drastically weakened ourselves. Logically the decision should be an easy one to make. But we are living among leaders who really think that there are "enemies of peace" and that Arafat will compromise on Islam, the way Peres compromises on Judaism, to create peace.

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