Thursday, May 10, 2007


Israel's "Exercise in Escapism"

Uri Avnery, an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom, looks at the deeper issues that were not addressed in last week's massive demonstration in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square in an essay titled "Exercise in Escapism." In particular, Avnery argues that the call for the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert misses the crux of what will truly make for peace:

Yes, Olmert must indeed go home. We need a new leadership, one that understands that Israel will know tranquility only if we make peace with the Palestinians, even when the price is the dismantling of settlements. Is this being discussed seriously? Would this demand draw hundreds of thousands to the square? Of course not.

Avnery laments that the Israeli public fails to understand that the "real question is not why Olmert started the war in haste, but why he started the war at all."

Every right-thinking person understands that Hizbullah can be neutralized only by making peace with Syria, a peace for which we must give back the Golan Heights. ... About that no serious debate is being held--not in the Knesset, nor in the media, nor in public discussions. That was not the reason the masses assembled in the square. That is too complicated. That is too controversial. That needs cool thinking, drawing conclusions from what has happened. It is easier to shout "Olmert Go Home!"

For Avnery, and for the Middle East, hope resides not in the fates of individual politicians, but in the broader movement toward comprehensive peace.

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