From Roni Keidar, Other Voice, Netiv HaAsara
I read the correspondences, comments and harsh words from here and from there. I listened to the speeches of the “heroes”– Benjamin Netanyahu, on one hand and Ismail Haneya on the other – each patting himself on the shoulder, each one claiming that he was the one able to defeat the other to the ground. I really don’t care who “The Winner” is. What I care about is the vast and terrible loss, on both sides, the fear and terror that took over our lives. In war there are no winners there are only losers! For years I have been saying, crying out in search for a sympathetic ear, that violence is not the answer, it only causes more violence and more violence again. No worthy results can be achieved for either of the parties. No, I really don’t care who sees himself as the victor as long as hence forth all the human resources be directed to the future of two peoples living side by side in safety.
Is it not clear to everyone today, to those that until today were not ready to hear, and not because they don’t want peace just as much as I do, but were not ready to believe that this situation will not end until we talk in a different voice? And don’t tell me “but we talked.” No, neither us and nor our neighbors, we haven’t sat down to talk in order to reach a settlement, in order not to stop talking until we reach an agreement on co-existence in mutual respect, taking into account the security needs, the freedom and the opportunity to live an entire life on both sides of the wall.
We are very strong, advanced, sophisticated and capable in warfare. I believe we are just as strong, advanced, sophisticated and capable in negotiations, as long as we believe that this is the right way, the only way, in fact, to achieve peace and quiet – a life in which the emphasis is on education, culture, research and development, for the sake of us all – men, women and children on both sides of the conflict that does not have to be an eternal conflict. This is really not a dream.
I am aware of the ancient history of conflict and inability to accept one another upon this small piece of land. I am aware of each side taking ownership over this country but I am also aware of the fact that this is not a dispute that has to go on forever. We do not have to win, exile, conquer and banish, we can decide to live and let live. How exactly, in what boundaries, that is what we should discuss and thus arrive at a mutual understanding. I know such a process will take time but until then let us spend resources on building and developing – let us live and not fight.
Let us come out with a cry and encourage our friends on the other side of the wall to cry out too, in a loud voice, that this is the road we should take, hand in hand, helping one another. We must not allow the state of affairs to go back to the way it was! No more ongoing firing of rocket and mortars, no more death tunnels, no more shelling from the air and shooting from cannons. No more innocent bloodshed and no more destruction of houses, schools, hospitals and mosques. No more fear and terror, the crazy run to safe rooms and shelters where they exist, and the flee to find a safe place where there are none.
Let us simply all proclaim out loud, Israelis and Palestinians alike, that we want to live and that we expect the leaders to do everything in their power through negotiations to give us a dignified life in mutual respect. If you succeed in this – Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmud Abbas, and even Ismail Haneya – then you will really be able to call yourselves WINNERS and you will be go down on the pages of history as real leaders who had the good of their people at heart. From here there is no limit to success.