Maariv. Dec. 21, 2001.


The Zionist Movement Sought A Solution For The Jewish People. The Palestinians Are Looking For Justice For Themselves

By Uri Simhoni

Translation by Jonathan Silverman

The needed and relevant comparison for the path of the Palestinians to a state of their own, is the comparison to ours. A solution means realism, pragmatism, compromise. Justice is an eternal philosophical value, something which doesn't exist.

For some time the Palestinian state isn't the issue. Everyone knows that it will be established. In fact, in many respects it is already established. The issue is that the main dispute revolves around issues like borders, where will the line be exactly, how will we defend it. Will this hill be in our territory or their's, will there be a fence, or perhaps a trench, and perhaps a wall is preferable, they talk about agreements, understandings and international recognition as if these things were the most important. Borders, from a historical perspective, are completely accidental, they pass through here, or there, and it doesn't change anything.

What should be of great concern is the content and the quality that is crystallizing in the Palestinian state that is being established next to us. The needed and relevant comparison for the path of the Palestinians to a state of their own, is the comparison to ours, on the assumption that in recent years they have gone through the process that we went through sixty, seventy years ago. If we set aside the issue of the settlements in the territories, which is a clear colonialist move with all the well known characteristics of colonialism, the comparison between a Palestinian state and a state that is freeing itself from the yoke of colonialism, such as the countries of the third world which freed themselves from the yoke of European colonialism would be misleading. The two countries, Israel and Palestine are the product of the Zionist movement which with its tremendous drive liberated territories for countries for two peoples, there is no resemblance or parallel between the motivations of the Zionist movement and the motivations of a colonialist movement, Zionism realized itself in the land of Israel, only because of the historic connection, and not as a colonial ruler over the natural resources of another people. The state of Israel was not established in an act of colonialist war against this occupier, nor was Palestine, the two countries would not exist, here it is a matter of establishing something new, there is an absence, no one fools himself that if we had not occupied the territories in the Six Day War, it would have occurred to the Jordanians and the Egyptians to give the Palestinians a sovereign state in the territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The Zionist movement and not Palestinian terror is what occupied the territory in which the Palestinian state will be established, the Palestinian terrorists are not a silver platter on which the Palestinian state will be served.

The difference in approach between the national movements began at the starting point. The Zionist movement sought a solution for the Jewish people, while the Palestinians are seeking justice for themselves. A solution means realism, pragmatism, compromise. Justice is an eternal philosophical value. Something which doesn't exist. People are looking for it for thousands of years. The danger in seeking justice is that when it isn't achieved the demand turns into revenge. Everyone longs to avenge those, who in his view, imposes his subjective justice. Justice and revenge are tied to each other, and the one who seeks justice for himself ends up spinning in endless circles of revenge, just look around and you will see. What the Palestinian movement lacks more than anything, particularly in the last decade, is a central stream, like the historic Mapai, and a leader like Ben Gurion, the forces that established the country and led it in its first years, the classic Mapai, the Ben Gurionism, which knew how to distinguish between what was important and even more important, and to place on the agenda of the day the real things, creation of content and quality for the country, construction, work, establishing institutions, established the Histadrut and the national health system, Hebrew U and the Technion, the Israel Philharmonic and the national theater, knowing that productivity and quality would bring with them world recognition and national rights. Everything was built on small means, compared with what was made available to the Palestinians, leanness is not an excuse. The Mapainiks understood that a sovereign entity that isn't based on internal quality, clean hands and intellectual life is an entity without value. "A lamp unto the nations", while being and pretentious slogan expresses a true longing for pure quality. Therefore, the Zionist argument was not focused on borders, not that anyone made light of it, but it was not the most important thing, every compromise proposal that was raised, the Peel Plan, the second partition plan, the Zionist movement, which always sought a solution, always agreed to, the Palestinian movement, which sought subjective justice for itself, always said no, and turned revenge into the main narrative, revenge for justice barren of fertile pragmatism. While the Palestinian movement at its own initiative turned the national struggle into a pan Arab struggle, involved neighboring countries, which in fact had occupied its territory, and evaded responsibility for planning its future, Zionism was not swept away by barren philosophies, and it wasn't that it lacked opportunities. The bodies that believed in Russian Socialism stayed on the left wing margins and the extreme right wing stayed on the right wing margins. Neither represented a significant factor through the years of the struggle to establish the state. Ben Gurion, with his highly developed instinct for understanding reality and sober vision, ignored empty ideas and went to built the country from the bottom, from the foundations to the roof and not the other way around, the extreme right wing which wanted to achieve a state through terror and violence the pyrotechnics and the bells, did not build real ability in those days. If Zionism had gone the way of the extremist movements it would have gone nowhere, definitely not to the establishment of a state. This is all relevant because of the troubling resemblance between the Palestinian movement and the historic right wing, the same illusion of reaching the final destination by shortcuts, the same lack of a feeling of responsibility, the concept of revolt, the aim to injure, violence as the main issue, while completely ignoring the methodical building of the infrastructure, and the lack of a central stream is lacking, pragmatic, like Mapai, realism is optimism, it is building, violence is pessimism, it is destruction.

In the Palestinian state that is being established next to us even today there are dozens of gangs, and various criminal groups, armed with weapons they received on account of our foolishness, every gang head is a king, a law unto himself, no statutes and no authority, a regime of corruption and crime, and this will only get worse. Arafat has polluted the territory for decades, hasn't built anything, nor will he build, in place of an educational system and institutions of learning there are summer camps for suicide bombers and mosques. Is there another voice? Intellectuals? What should we think when an intellectual, perhaps the most important, Prof. Edward Said, goes to throw rocks, but after reading his book "Uprooted"??? it is also clear that he also needs a psychiatrist more than a country.

There cannot be economic independence, there are no rich natural resources, no industry, no technology, no education or higher learning, how many years can they continue to sustain themselves on robbing and stealing from the neighbors. Beside us a state with sovereignty will be established, but without content or quality, without direction, without a future, which will continue to seek justice, which is in fact revenge, and it will stick its hand deep into our territory. This is what should cause concern, only this, and not a smaller or greater percentage. It is clear that it is possible to change this direction only with massive aid from abroad and only when the patient agrees to accept treatment.

And regarding lost justice, get off that path, once there were spiritual giants here who knew how to compress everlasting wisdom into a short sentence and conclude it with an ironic question mark, to instruct that the questioner does not wait for your answer. "will the sword consume forever?" asks Avner, Shaul's war minister, as if he didn't know, "why does the path of the evil have success?" asked Jeremiah, looking for eternal justice, as if the subjective justice of the questioner had to be achieved to his satisfaction, and the others punished. Jeremiah did not leave the problem of seeking justice open to interpretation, he said further "even your brother and your father's house, even they betrayed you", or in the feeble Hebrew of our day, stop messing with my head. stop looking for justice, understand the reality that will start to do what is necessary.