Anonymous, Morocco

February 1, 2013

About me – I am young man dreaming to see our world free of wars, oppression and hatred.
Don’t you think that the Palestinians have a right to have a real country for themselves?
would you like the next generations, including your children, to live in the current situation?
 If I come to your place and enforce you to leave it in order to get for myself, how would your reaction be?

Hi,

I thank you for writing to me and taking the time to correspond with a former Israeli soldier.

I also dream to see our world free of wars, oppression and hatred. I dream of a world where I can say that I am Israeli and not fear racist and hateful reactions. I dream of not seeing my country defamed and misrepresented in the international media.

To answer your first question, I do very much believe that the Palestinians have a right to have their own country. I hope that this will be achieved soon. There is still much compromise that must be made on both sides. I know, as an Israeli, how important security is; therefore, until security can be ensured by the Palestinians, Israel is unlikely take down its defenses. In other words, so long as the terrorist group Hamas preaches hatred and racism against Jews and Israel, seeks Palestinian “interests” through violent arms struggle and does not recognize the right for Israel to exist, then Israel cannot negotiate with them. Hamas prevents Palestinians from achieving what they really want; their own country. Israeli’s remember horrific times when children would take the bus to school and daily these civilian vehicles of transportation would be blown up with maximum civilian casualties intended. Israeli civilians in the South, bordering the Gaza strip have suffered 12 years of terror from civilian-targeted rockets and grads fired at their homes and schools. Israel must protect its civilians first. Having said this, while Israel has not yet struck a diplomatic deal with Gaza and the West Bank, Israel supplies and finances thousands of tons of humanitarian aid into the Gaza strip, electricity and water. A large percentage of Israeli tax many is provided for Palestinian welfare, although the conflict persists. Israel does believe in peace and the value of human life, it is Hamas that does not.

I hope my children and their children do not live in existential fear to be Israeli and do not know the war and terror in this conflict. Once both sides accept each other’s right to exist, have self-determination and communicate with one another, there can be peace. I hope this day comes soon and I believe it will. No mother should have to bear losing a child, no child should have to lose a father to war and no civilians should be afraid to lose their lives on a daily basis.

To answer you last question I assume you are speaking of 1948 when many Palestinians fled their homes, left the country and were caught in the path of battle. The war in which this occurred was a war ignited by several Arab armies that opposed the 1947 UN partition plan of resolution 181. The Jewish people were overjoyed to have been assigned (an extremely small) piece of land that would be a safe home for them. While the Jews celebrated, the Arabs launched a war on them, although they had been given more than half of the country in the partition. They refused to have any Jewish presence in the region and did not recognize the UN supported right for the Jews to have land to call their own. The Arab armies surrounded the Jews and initiated a war that they believed would push all the Jews out of the land that had just been given to them by the UN. However, unexpected by the Arab armies, the Jewish forces were able to defend themselves and push back the Arab armies. During this battle to exist, Palestinian homes were evacuated (as were Jewish homes) and in very few cases forced out, in the context of war and strategic necessity. There was no intention in 1947, when the Jews accepted the partition plan, to take over the Arab division as well. It was only after the war had been launched the Jews retaliated to defend their existence that the very regrettable loss of Palestinian homes occurred. It is important to note that many Palestinians fled voluntarily, some left and when they returned a new country had been declared in the years of their absence and some Palestinians were given Israeli nationality and democratic rights, remaining as Arab-Israeli citizens today.

I hope that I answered your questions and encourage you to continue writing and asking questions. I take pleasure in answering your questions, as I believe that dialogue is one of the fundamental elements in achieving peace.

Best,

Ruth.

Thank you!

We would like to thank our generous donors for their support of the project over the past years.