“Israel’s Supreme Court on Sunday rejected petitions that would have held up a landmark U.S.-brokered deal setting a maritime border with Lebanon, which Washington predicted could be finalised on Thursday,” hailed Reuters on Monday, October 24. But if the agreement does not guarantee peace, and it does not, if it weakens your position and gives up territory to an enemy that has sworn to kill you without even a formal promise to cease hostilities, then what is there to hail in this agreement? Why is it described as a “landmark” agreement?
The only relationship we should have with Lebanon is commercial: We drill out the gas that is in our territorial water and sell it to them, if they want to buy it. This is what every reasonable country would do.
I realize that it sounds as though this policy leaves no room for peace, but there is no one who wants peace on the other side anyway, so there is no room for peace to begin with. On the contrary, we should focus on strengthening ourselves in order to deter the enemy from harboring any thoughts of aggression, which would lead to casualties on both sides (mainly theirs) and still not lead to peace. When your enemy is trigger happy, a show of strength and courage is the best deterrence, the best way to prevent escalation to violence.
There used to be a slogan in Israel: land for peace. It promoted the idea that if we gave the Arabs land, they would give us peace.
We tried it several times. We tried signing agreements based on this formula, and we tried giving up land even without an agreement, believing that if the other side got the land it wanted, it would stop fighting. Neither way worked. The only formula that makes sense is peace for peace. If the other side wants peace, it gets peace; if it wants war, it gets war.
We need to understand the meaning of peace. The peace I talked about so far is not real peace. It is the absence of hostilities, and at best, it is normalization of the relationship based on economic interests. But when you are dealing with an enemy whose motivation stems from profound hatred, it is impossible to make peace under any circumstances. As long as there is hatred, we are condemned to live by the sword.
However, we can cure the hatred. Curing the hatred of the Palestinians toward Israel and Israelis is within our power. In fact, no one else can cure their hatred for us but we alone. And we can do this by curing the hatred that we feel for one another.
The Hebrew word for “peace” is shalom, from the word shlemut (wholeness). Currently, our nation is deeply fragmented and divided. When we have no shlemut among ourselves, we have none of it with others.
It could be said that the Palestinians are striving to eliminate the State of Israel because it is only natural for countries to spot division and weakness in their enemies and strive to take advantage of it. While this is true, this is not the case with Israel. When it comes to Israel, things get very emotional and relationships are determined by feelings of love or hate rather than by rational thinking.
The Israeli nation contains within it “delegates,” or “representatives” of people from all (or at least most of) the nations that inhabited the ancient world. Those nations have evolved into the nations we know today, all of humanity. As a result, all the nations subconsciously feel connected to the people of Israel, that they have a “stake,” an “investment” in this nation. This is why they feel entitled to judge and reprimand Israel and Jews, which they would not allow themselves to do to any other nation or country.
Thousands of years ago, those “envoys” carried out a feat that has never been repeated since: Despite their different backgrounds, they united and came to love one another even more than they cared for their own people, even more than they cared for themselves.
In doing so, the ancient Israelites created a model nation, a miniscule sample of world peace. However, the ancient Israeli nation was a proof of concept, and it worked. Because of their success, they were titled “a virtuous people,” and were instructed to be “a light to the nations.”
As long as they maintained their unity, they fulfilled their mission and the nations could see the example they needed. When they became belligerent and divided among themselves, the example they gave was the opposite of the one they had been tasked with giving. As a result, the world admonished them.
The people of Israel will never be freed from its mission. It will always be the focal point of all the nations, who will judge it according to its level of cohesion or separation. Although neither Jews nor gentiles are conscious of their ancient connection, that connection exists at our root and cannot be uprooted. This is why only when we make peace among ourselves, achieve shlemut and love one another, the world will love us, too. And when we hate each other, the world will also hate us.
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar attend a news conference after Israel’s cabinet endorsed a U.S.-brokered deal to delineate a maritime border with Lebanon, at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, October 12, 2022. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun