May 23, 2013
When we don’t play fair
I want to start this post by saying it took me a long time to write what I'm about to write. It is something I'm thinking, but I never really had the guts to say, especially to people outside of Israel. The reason I did not want to write it down, was my belief that outside of Israel, people hear mostly negative things about us, and I wanted to use the stage I've been given to shine a bright light on my country, by giving the full picture. I wanted to show that there are many things you don't see or hear about on the news, and that many of the things the foreign media do present are partial truths.That is why it is very important to me to state that what I'm about to write, although containing a certain amount of criticism, does not reflect the big picture, or my full opinion about all political aspects regarding Israel. It is a criticism aimed for the here and now, and does not mean anything that isn't written.
Now, after a long prologue, I can cut to the chase: Israel is not perfect. It has great people, beautiful scenery, and has made tremendous contributions to the world's advancement in many fields of research, but it is also run by people who sometimes make mistakes. Israel also in the center of a serious conflict, which, in the eyes of the world is presented as if it was caused and maintained solely by Israel. You all already know how and why it is presented that way. You all have read the countless posts I've written so far about the David and Goliath effect, which causes affection and sympathy for the underdog. You've all read about the easy way false horror stories and lies about Israel are spread by haters in the internet age. Foreign media truly took a firm stand against Israel, but it is not entirely the media's fault that we look so bad in the eyes of the world.
I naively believe that the people from both sides want peace. Violence arises from haters from both sides (yes, both), but overall, I truly believe we want this conflict to end. I also believe that the decision makers from both sides do not want to settle on anything, and therefore, don't want peace. When I read about a one-sided Palestinian decision to address the UN and demand an independent state status instead of sitting and talking, it brought my nerves to a boiling point. But the same goes when I read about an Israeli decision to legalize four new settlements, just like that, overnight.
I know that there are people living there, and I respect their right to live in their homes, but if a territory isn't quite ours, why claim it? We live in a small place, and, true, territories were taken away from us as people were kicked out of their homes. But the same happened to people from the other side a few decades ago. And although we fought many wars to win and maintain our borders, which we needed to protect even though they were given to us by an official UN vote, we must accept our boundaries "de facto," and not "steal" some more. We cannot just stick a flag and claim a piece of land.
I don't appreciate such actions, although they are made by my government, which I and my fellow Israelis elected. We live in a democracy, and we chose the people to represent us. We elected them because we trusted them and their pure agenda to work for us. However, they don't always do that. I know they can't consult every single one of us before making decisions (which is one of the consequences of representative democracy) and there are many actions taken and decisions being made for us regarding homeland affairs, but when it comes to decisions directly affecting the outside, I cannot describe to you my frustration when something like that is being decided.
If we want peace, we must play fair. I know we were given half of this land in 1947, and after the other side refused to share, we got the entire territory and spent many years fighting for it. I also know they were here before, and we were here before that and so on and so forth. But I also know that in the 21st century, both sides must adjust and develop. A fair game is one where nobody places a hotel on their "property", or steals money from the "bank" when the other one is looking the other way. A fair game is also when both players feel good with themselves, because they know they could cheat, but they chose to enjoy the game and maintain good relationship with the other player. A fair game though, must go both ways. Working behind the other side's back not only gives the foreign media something to talk about, it also pushes peace further away.