I share your concern over the decades-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Needless to say, people around the globe feel that finding a solution to this conflict is long overdue. If there is world consensus about the urgent need to put an end to this struggle, one must ask why, generation after generation, the state of affairs in this region only seems to worsen.
So many countries throughout history, and particularly so many US administrations, have invested futile efforts in trying to mediate what is considered the most complex and controversial conflict in the world. Former US proposals were based on the core idea of “land for peace” as a kind of trade deal, but no such scheme will work, because territorial border issues are not at the root of the problem.
As apprehended from your recent media interview in Abu Dhabi, the US peace plan for the region will include not only a significant economic proposal, but also a “very detailed” political plan “about establishing borders and resolving final-status issues.” If that is the main focus for working out a lasting peace deal, it is destined to fail from the very beginning. Allow me to explain why…
Splitting the land will not help, as it has failed in the past with the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and in multiple offers from Israel to withdraw from the territories conquered in the Six Day War in exchange for peace. All such offers have been consistently rejected. The stark reality is the impossibility of negotiating a viable peace agreement with a regime controlled by those who refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
The truth of the matter is that the lasting solution to this conflict cannot be predicated upon acceptance from any parties outside the people of Israel. Peace among Jews must come first, and peace with our neighbors will follow naturally and smoothly afterward. This is because the fundamental cause of the conflict is our division, our lack of unity as one Jewish people. No state, religious, economic, or social plan will help until we connect into one diverse, yet amalgamated body.
Lasting peace is possible and achievable, but its realization is conditional upon the connection of all Jews in Israel and around the world into one people, unified above our differences. The most fertile area for the application of US and world pressure is on the Israeli government, to demand that they enact an aggressive program to repair the breakage in Israel’s social fabric.
It has become crucial for us, the Jews, to recognize our hatred and alienation from each other as preventing any positive future.
As it is written, “we are commanded in each generation to strengthen the unity among us so our enemies do not rule over us” (Rabbi Eliyahu Ki Tov, The Book of Consciousness).
The importance of Jewish unity, not only for our own people but for all humanity, was also stressed by Rav Avraham Yizhak HaCohen Kook (the Raiah):
“In Israel is the secret to the unity of the world.
According to our sages, the people of Israel must reestablish the unity which they lost some 2,000 years ago. We must therefore first become aware of a method of correction prescribed in the sources, a method from which we have become detached. When we unite, we will become an example for humanity and fulfill our role of being “a light unto nations.”
When the correction of Israel radiates outwardly to the rest of the world, the second phase of the plan will be able to be effortlessly realized: the correction of humanity.
Thus, “when the Children of Israel are complemented with the complete reason, the fountains of intelligence and knowledge shall flow beyond the borders of Israel. They will water all the nations of the world, as it is written” (Isaiah 11).
Therefore, I urge you to base the US plan for resolving final status issues for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in applying pressure on the State of Israel to actualize the originally-intended purpose of the people of Israel, and to heal the fractures first and foremost within Israel itself. The ultimate plan for a lasting peace in the Middle East and beyond must require Jews to acknowledge their underpinnings, how we became the people of Israel, and to reenact the principles and purpose upon which the Jewish nation was founded. Only after we internalize the eternal spiritual ideals and foundations of Israel and unite among ourselves, will we be able to pave the way to peace with our neighbors and the world. This is the key to any viable plan for the Middle East, one capable of securing a bright future and a peaceful coexistence.
Wishing you all success,
Dr. Michael Laitman
Featured in The Times of Israel