Why Israelis Care about Peace

(Los Angeles Times) Michael B. Oren - Imagine that you're a parent who sends her children off to school in the morning worrying whether their bus will become a target of suicide bombers. Imagine that, instead of going off to college, your children become soldiers at age 18, serve for three years and remain in the active reserves into their 40s. Imagine that you've seen rockets raining down on your neighborhood and have lost close family and friends to terrorist attacks. Picture all of that and you'll begin to understand what it is to be an Israeli. And you'll know why all Israelis desperately want peace. Yes, many Israelis are skeptical about peace. We withdrew our troops from Lebanon and Gaza in order to generate peace, and instead received thousands of missiles crashing into our homes. We negotiated with the Palestinians for 17 years and twice offered them an independent state, only to have those offers rejected. Over the last decade, we saw more than 1,000 Israelis - proportionally the equivalent of about 43,000 Americans - killed by suicide bombers, and tens of thousands maimed. We watched while Palestinian mothers praised their martyred children and wished to sacrifice others for jihad. When Arab leaders such as Egyptian President Anwar Sadat or King Hussein of Jordan offered genuine peace to Israel, our people passionately responded and even made painful concessions. That most Israelis are still willing to share their ancestral homeland with a people that has repeatedly tried to destroy them is nothing short of miraculous. The writer is Israel's ambassador to the U.S.

2010-09-15 09:01:03

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