Friday, April 15, 2005

In Every Generation

Jerusalem Post columnist Barbara Sofer on Intifada-denial:

Intifada-denial is a dangerous error. Even for Israelis who enthusiastically supported Oslo and Camp David, four years of violence has forced a reckoning with reality. The pointless murder and savage mutilation of civilians, coupled with the images of celebratory joy by Palestinians as buses were torn to pieces and the Twin Towers crumbled had to be an awakening. Anyone who is concerned about peace in the Middle East would be nuts not to factor in this hatred.
Would that we could turn the clock back to 2000. Let’s imagine what would have happened if the Palestinian people had invested their considerably energy, not in violence but in restructuring the PA by accepting Ehud Barak’s plan at Camp David.
A nascent Palestinian state could have been celebrating its fifth anniversary. Young leadership could have reformed the corrupt mechanisms of government instead of devising plans for recruiting and dispatching teenagers as human bombs. The techies who design tunnels and bomb factories could have been turning out air-conditioners and gas cooking grills, building houses, improving their highway system and designing computer programs.
The billions of euros poured in by the Europeans would have supported these projects, as well as constructing bright new schools, hospitals equipped to treat cancer and prevalent genetic diseases.
But, of course, this is more than a question of wasted opportunities. So many are dead, so many have lifelong disabilities. As a society we have become terror survivors. The term “terror survivor” was actually coined in this “intifada” by a Jerusalem woman named Shoshana Gottleib. She was shot in the spine on the way home from work. Because she’d been bending over to put orange peels in a plastic bag on the floor, she wasn’t killed. The terrorist who shot her for pay later complained that he didn’t get his money because she’d survived.
We’re in the midst of preparing for Pessah, the national holiday in which it’s our obligation to pass on to our children the message of the joyous, divine moment of liberation from slavery. I know it kind of throws a damper on the party, but we’re also obliged to remember that in every generation someone tries to destroy us.
Imagine reading those lines of the Haggada at the Pessah Seder at Shoshana Gottleib’s home. The intifada was, indeed, another of these malevolent but futile attempts to destroy us. Would that it weren’t so.

Read it all.

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