Monday, October 28, 2002

Backing Out of a Dead End

Backing Out of a Dead End
October 28, 2002


There are two reasons to use a map.  Most frequently, to know how to get somewhere, which roads to use, where to go. But there’s also a second reason: to know where NOT to go. Sometimes a map will outline back roads, which you are better off avoiding. Other times there may even be specific instructions warning travelers to stay far away.

So it is with the freshly concocted euphemism called the “Road Map,” drawn up by the cartographic Quartet, a ministerial level commission comprised of the United States, Russia, European Union and the United Nations.

As you might guess, they have plotted a most interesting course, leading Israel on a road to hell. This three-phased journey, continuing a trip begun almost a decade ago, begins with Israel proving our enemy, who has murdered over 1,000 Israelis since the expedition began, with more money, more arms and security (i.e. combat) training. Most of the ride is a one-way street. Israel will be judged by its actions. The Arabs will be judged, not by what they do, rather, by what they say.

The second phase of our joy ride begins immediately following the reelection of Yassir Arafat as president of the PA, the result of  “free, open and fair elections.” Translated into Arabic, that means, anyone who doesn’t vote for Arafat is unceremoniously dumped head first from a speeding car. It continues with an international peace powwow, serenaded by the Quartet, and concludes with ‘further action on settlements, simultaneously with the creation of a ‘provisional palestinian state.’  According to the Quartet’s timetable, this part of our travels should be completed by about this time next year, the end of 2003.

The last laps of our extended ride, lasting for about two years, will include negotiations within the framework of a second international conference, leading to negotiations and agreements on borders, Jerusalem, refugees and settlements.  By the end of 2005 we are supposed to reach the finish line. In this case, we are expected to get to the finish first. As a matter of fact, they want us to finish first. To really be finished. That’s the path of the new “road map.”

It is obvious that Israel must go in a different direction, just the opposite of that proposed by the fearsome foursome.

Let me make a few proposals for an Israeli-initiated Road Map:

1)  Given the positive examples of Usama bin Laden, John Allen Muhammad, and the fifty or so Muslim Chechnyan’s who took over the Russian theatre last week, as well as the shining stars of Fatah, Hamas and Hizballah, the Quartet should agree to allow for offsite training, whereby various European, Scandinavian, and North American countries would absorb tens, or even hundreds of thousands of ‘palestinians,’ for a beginning period of ten years. During this time, the ‘guests’ would become accustomed to real democracy, while being issued legal licenses to bear arms. Each guest would be issued a hand gun and an automatic rifle, to allow them to get used to carrying arms. Of course, the arms would not be for the guests to use, rather that they should become accustomed  to owning a gun without using it.

2) Following a year or so of bearing arms, a large number of the guests should then be incorporated into the host country’s police, armed forces and security services, including high-level intelligence. This would allow them true hands-on training.

3) Finally, the all the guests should be granted temporary citizenship in their host country, allowing them, not only to vote, but also to submit candidacy for public office.  The rewards reaped by the guests would be both invaluable and incalculable.

Of course, all schools, universities, and health-care facilities would be made available to the guests.

Only following the successful conclusion of a decade of offsite training would negotiations begin for a Middle East settlement.

This is just one side of my suggested road map. But the Israeli map must not be so one-sided. What must be expected from Israel?

For the next decade, while the others are being hosted by the fearsome foursome, Israelis must literally follow a path set out on the original map, almost four thousand years ago. Our countrymen must walk the path of our Forefathers, following the example of Abraham, who, when confronted with the command, “Lech Lecha” – Go, he walked, and when reaching Israel took a cross country hike, from north to south, from east to west, not only seeing the country, but actually sensing and experiencing the Land.

This Shabbat we will read of the first real estate transaction in Eretz Yisrael, the purchase of Ma’arat HaMachpela in Hebron. Abraham walked from Shechem, Alon Moreh and Beit El to Hebron, where he settled. Abraham too was a settler, who also had a road map, leading to all parts of his Land. This weekend thousands upon thousand will meet in the first Jewish city in Israel, a literal  gathering of the masses, coming not only from all corners of Israel, but from other parts of the world as well. Dozens of guests are arriving in Israel from the United States and guests of mine are making a special trip from Canada, solely for the purpose of being in Hebron for Parshat Chaye Sarah, when we read of the first Jewish possession in Israel.

This is the real road map, not a retreat, not a withdrawal, rather pressing forward, progressing, never moving backward.

The citizens of Israel must make a choice – following a course leading to a real dead end, or pursuing a perpetual trail, the route of the Jewish people from time immemorial. Do we really have a choice?

With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder

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