In my last blog on this site, I made a profound statement. While I said that Israelis and Palestinians need to see the conflict from each other’s eyes, that is not the statement I am referring to. I said, believing that I would evoke some stark heartfelt emotions:
“Israel needs to have its first day of peace.”
I was expecting a reality check from Israelis. Seeing none amazes me.
No one said anything to me or replied in a comment about this profound statement which I say again in a more humanistic way:
No Israeli citizen has ever seen a day peace.
No one has questioned me about this statement because in reality and fact, it is a true statement.
Since May 15, 1948, Israel has been in a perpetual state of war. It has not had one day of peace. In fact, in Israel, no day is free from the fear of war as even on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur in 1973 Israel had to go to war, once again. For over 67 years, no Israeli citizen can say that he or she has lived through one day of peace.
This should be shocking to the conscious, at least I thought it should be to Israelis. I do not know if most Israelis realize the stark reality of this statement.
The question that should be on every Israeli mind is, when will an Israeli child be born on a day of peace in the Holy Land?
By the same token, over 90% of Palestinians living in Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza), having been infants or born after the 1967 Six Day War, know nothing but the Israeli occupation of their land. And if we can look at those who are older than 67 years old, having been born prior to 1948, I would venture to say that 99% or greater of the people that make up the Palestinian/Israeli conflict have no recollection of what peace resembles in the Holy Land. Those who have migrated to Israel, having come from peaceful countries may believe that they are living in peace, but in all reality, the atmosphere is one of war–a war that can escalate at any moment and for any provocative reason.
This leaves only a very minute percentage of individuals in all of the Holy Land that have ever seen a day of peace or have not been ruled by occupation and those minute people are Palestinians who are 55 years old or older.
This also is a profound statement for Palestinians. I do know that Palestinians whether they live in Palestine or beyond realize the reality of this statement.
The constant question on Palestinian minds is when will the Israeli occupation end.
Having the first day of peace in Israel while Israel occupies Palestine is not a mutually exclusive reality. Israel cannot have peace while it occupies Palestine. Peace comes with the end of occupation. It does not come while the occupation endures decade after decade.
Thus the only opportunity for an Israeli child to be born in a peaceful environment is for Israel to end the occupation of Palestine. This is the reality that Israelis must face.
If Israel wants peace, it must end its occupation of Palestine.
As a Palestinian, I cannot express this reality in more clearer terms to Israelis. In case I have not gotten my message across, allow me to try a different means of expressing the reality.
The status quo of no peace and continued occupation cannot endure endlessly. Like water that reaches its boiling point, the occupation of Palestine has reached that point.
The reality is that the population growth of Palestinians is such that Israelis will be the minorities in the Holy Land by 2016. Currently, the population of Israelis and Palestinians in Israel and in Palestine is said to be about equal. With the birth rates of Palestinians greater than Israelis, it takes no great mathematical genius to calculate that the population of Palestinians will, in the very near future, be greater than the Jewish population.
Thus, how can Israelis, a coming minority, rule over the Palestinians, an emerging majority. While Israelis do not like to be compared to the White rule era of the country of South Africa, the stark reality is that the same concept of a minority suppressing the fundamental human rights of the majority is again being played out before our eyes.
Israelis can put on blinders and not accept the coming reality. Israelis may want the status quo to endure perpetually. However, the reality is that Israelis cannot have a day of peace without coming to terms with their occupation of Palestine.
If Israelis want to live in peace, they must end the occupation of Palestine.