Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Story and Peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority

First, the story. Two men are fighting, saying nasty things and hitting each other. A third man comes along and becomes alarmed because the two men are now hitting with their fists and also kicking. So the third man runs to the local rabbi, who is famous for his wisdom and tells him about the two men fighting and the great risk of serious injury. He asks the rabbi to come and to try to stop the fight. The rabbi goes, sees what is happening and asks the two men to stop fighting and to tell him why they are so angry. So, one of the men tells his side of the story and the rabbi thinks and then says: "You are right." The he turns to the other one and asks him to speak. The second man tells a story that is pretty much the opposite of the first man's story. The rabbi thinks and then he says: "You, also are right." The third man, the one who had called the rabbi is surprised. He says: "Rabbi, if you said that the first one was right, how could you say that the second one, who disagrees with with first one, how could you say that he, also was right?" The rabbi looks at him, thinks and says: "You, also are right."

What's the point of the story? There is no use at all in a third party trying to judge who is right, Israel or the Palestinian Authority because they are both right. The only service that a third party can perform is to ask each party, Israel and the PA, to consider this question: "How strongly do you want peace?" If, and only if, both Israel and the PA state firmly that they want peace above all else, is there any possibility of achieving peace. If either party, or both, have objectives that rank higher than peace, there will be no peace and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that Bush, Rice or anyone else can do to bring about peace. This is no reflection on Bush, Rice or any other third party.

To support my argument remember this. Not so long ago, every few years there were deadly wars with Israel on one side and Egypt and Jordan on the other. Then, Israel, Egypt and Jordan decided they wanted peace above all else. Peace treaties were signed and there were no more wars between those countries. There has even been cooperation. The point is they wanted peace more than anything else and they achieved peace. That's what it takes to make peace.

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