Q & R: on Israel/Palestine
Here's the Q:
I read with great interest Rabbi Lerner's plea for a full U.N.
membership for Palestine you posted. I'd love to know what your advice
would (will) be regarding securing Israel's borders with that new
reality in place.
I've been to Israel twice in the past two years and also in Egypt. The
issues are complex enough for sure. But peace might be "simple"
(simple is NEVER easy) if Israel could and the U.N. would act directly
once peace was (is) broken by bombs and murder (from either side).
Do you have a specific action plan in mind?
Here's the R:
Thanks for the question - a few quick thoughts.
1. It's great that you've been to Israel - and your trip may have included significant time on the West Bank, or even in Gaza. Unfortunately, many guests who visit Israel get a somewhat sanitized and one-sided version of events ... where all the threats are by Palestinians and all the lack of security is among Israelis. As you say, it's not that simple. Both sides experience unacceptable levels of danger, which reduces the quality of life for both groups. Sadly, the Israelis have the lion's share of the power, backed by the US ... so although both sides experience a lack of security, the balance of power is tipped strongly against the Palestinians.
2. So I think it's entirely fair to ask how Israel would secure its borders, but one must also ask, with equal concern, how the Palestinians would experience security - so their lands wouldn't be stolen, their water supplies monopolized, their freedom of movement restricted, their dignity degraded, and so on.
3. I don't have a specific action plan. It's all very high risk. Ultimately, the people who must live with the results should be making the decisions ... and sadly, until now, the US has played the role of keeping the vast majority of advantage on the side of the Israelis. But here's one way to reframe the question: is the best path towards security for Israel to deny human rights to several million people? I can't help but think that Israel's security and well-being will improve when the security and well-being of Palestinians are also improved.
4. As I always say, we need solutions that are pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace, and pro-justice. And the road to those conditions will no doubt be as rocky as our own history has been (and continues to be!).