I am fond of saying â€œPolitics in Israel is like sex in America; every one is either doing it, or talking about it”.
I don’t often engage in political debates on this site, because I LIVE them. Particularly in a city as charged as Jerusalem they bear down on me at every turn. You in America do not have posters plastered about town calling soldiers traitors, you do not have check out girls emotionally giving you their unsolicited opinions about the settlements. Even the cab drivers here engage you in debate about disengagement. You there can choose to turn on the news or open a Web page if you desire, and you can chose to close it again and be done with it.
It is easier, I believe to propose solutions from 10,000 miles away, because at the end of the day, while Israel certainly affects your emotions, it does not affect your daily life and safety. Another intifada could break out tomorrow and you could ride, walk and bike around your city with equally as much safety as you do today. You can put your children on a bus and have your greatest concern for their safety be that no one makes fun of them at school.
If a Palestinian state gets created that becomes a bad idea, those of you who do not live here do not really even need to deal with just how bad an idea it might be, because you are not in the crosshairs from guns in enemy windows, and it is not your spouse that gets on a bus everyday. It is not your children playing in a park that has a rocket fall on it. Is it not even your economy that suffers or your job that gets cut.
So it’s easy to say redivide Jerusalem and place international security forces to guard it, because you will only have to deal with the complications and consequences of such proposed solutions once every two years, maybe, when you come to visit for a week. But what? I have to show my â€œpapersâ€ every time I want to go to the Kotel to pray? Sorry, but we have fought too long and too hard to let that happen.
Third party international guards have never done too well by Jews in the past. In fact, they’ve never done too well by anyone. U Thant anyone?
This is a country where our kids â€œgo off to warâ€ and the front lines are still close enough to come home for the weekend or have mom come and hand deliver a pizza. It is quite easy to say we should clearly give away the â€œWest Bankâ€ when it is not literally three miles from your door. That makes you three miles from a potentially hostile enemy border. We’re not talking about Mexico here.
I guess what I’m really saying is I don’t think people fully realize just how awfully easy it is to propose solutions that sound good on paper from the relative safety of America, because at the end of the day, it is not Americans that have to live with the direct consequences. I’m sure everyone will be sad if Israel ceases to exist. That’s what’s at stake here after all. But that will be small comfort me, my friends and neighbors as we lay dying.
These debates are not theoretical here. They are real and pervasive. I am, quite frankly, just a little tired of the style of debate that acts as though if you and I can come to a solution, there WILL be peace in the Middle East. I guess I’m just in a place that says lets enjoy our lives and our country, and leave politics to the politicians. But hey, that’s just where I’m holding.