Saturday, January 31, 2004

A wall so high
I’ve finished reading Efraim Karsh’s "The Oslo War: A Tale of Self-Delusion" (Hebrew link). I really want to find it in English. I think it’s important for everyone to read it, all of it. I’ve written to BESA and await their answer.

As I read Karsh, it crossed my mind that one of the reasons that so many left-wing Israelis refuse to “get” the Terror War and see it for what it is, or realize the true aims of Arafat and the Palestinian leadership (the destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state on its ruins) is that it is too terrible. They must have their hope for peace or they have nothing. This realization of the Palestinian leadership’s true aims rocked my own belief system so severely that I was in shock for about a year and a half, starting around October 2000. By the time I snapped out of it, my mother was dying of cancer. And we were celebrating our last Pesach Seder Night with her. It was 27th March 2002, the night of the Park Hotel Massacre.

My mother lived for another eight months. On her deathbed, her mind and clarity already irreversibly damaged by the morphine, we watched the pictures on TV of ambulances and rescue teams dealing with yet another murderous attack, one of many, many that had taken place since the Park Hotel. I noticed my mother shake her head in sorrow. She hardly understood what was going on around her anymore, and she herself had only a few more days of life in her, but she seemed to understand the pictures on the screen only too well.

You may not see the connection of my mother’s illness and death to all of this, but I do. For me, the last months of my mother’s life and this Terror War will be forever interconnected. For during those months (most of them spent blogging with a vengeance) I learnt more about life than in the thirty-seven years before them. About life, about death, about what is important.

We still want peace with our neighbors, more than anything. We're still prepared to pay a price for peace, even a heavy one. But if there is no peace to be had, we’ll do without it. Strong and tough. Stronger and tougher. Strongest and toughest.

What was it that Martin Van Kreveld said? “A wall so high that not even the birds can fly over it”? So be it.

(Steven Den Beste is even quite optimistic about it.)