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
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
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.
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