Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Av 5763 - August 13, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Their Reality and Our Reality

A common basis for comedy scenes is different perceptions of reality between the audience and the actor, or between two actors within the scene. When the actor finds out what is really going on, it can be really funny. In real life, such situations do not always end harmlessly.

The political situation in our section of the Middle East seems to be full of different perceptions of reality.

The Quartet that devised the road map to peace -- the United States, Britain, Russia and the United Nations -- laid out a calm reasoned plan to bring about a cessation of hostilities by founding a Palestinian state. It took almost a year from when it was first complete to begin its implementation. The force of world opinion is so strong that both Israel and the Palestinians felt they had to accept it once they ran out of excuses for delays. Yet once they accepted it, almost immediately the centeral issues were entirely new.

The road map describes a staged process with commitments from two parties: Israel and the Palestinians. Israel is supposed to start with a freeze on its settlement activity and the Palestinians are supposed to stop their terror, very specifically meaning that they have to dismantle the organizations and weapons that are used to inflict violence on peaceful citizens and maintain just once central police authority.

Almost as soon as it was announced that the road map was being implemented, at the beginning of June, the Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, announced publicly that he would not forcibly disarm and dismantle the terrorist organizations, the main obligation of the Palestinians. Privately he said that he agreed that they should be disarmed and that he intended to disarm them, but that he planned to do so by incorporating them in the Palestinian political apparatus.

What happened is that the terror organizations declared a limited (three month) cease fire (hudna) with Israel. This was a completely unilateral action on their part. Israel was not involved at all. But then they declared that they expected Israel to release Palestinians that it is holding in its jails, even those convicted of heinous crimes.

Suddenly the issue became the "need" to preserve the cease fire by releasing the 6,000 Palestinians terrorists in Israeli jails. In fact, the ones who need the cease fire are the Palestinians because the absence of Palestinian violence makes it appear that the Palestinians are fulfilling the obligations under the road map, even though security officials say that the terror organizations are using the time to strengthen themselves and to rearm.

The Palestinians are fond of explaining -- and the world press is fond of conveying their explanations -- that all the prisoners in jail should be freed since they are not terrorists or criminals but "freedom fighters." However, even if that were true, such people are generally only repatriated at the end of hostilities, and not one Palestinian is willing to say publicly that the end of hostilities is even in sight. It is absurd that a three-month cease fire can be used as an excuse to demand the release of murderers who declare that they will resume their criminal activity in a few months.

Meanwhile we thank Hashem for every day that there is quiet, and focus on our perception of reality. As we wrote in this space when the implementation of the road map began two months ago, we must not forget that the main thing that we must not lose sight of is the spiritual state of ourselves and our community. If Hashem is with us, we need not fear. (Bamidbar 14,9

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