There will be no peace between Israel and Palestine, at least not until one side annihilates the other. War is the answer because war is what people want. If the majority of Israelis and Palestinians wanted peace they would have it by now. They don’t have it because they don’t want it. What they want is to win, and to win they need war.
A few days ago I clicked on thedailybeast.com and watched a series of educational videos for Palestinian elementary schools produced by the Palestinian Authority. The purpose of these videos is clear: to train young Palestinian Muslims to hate and kill Jews.
In one Holocaust focused video Palestinian children are taught that the Nazis were really Jews, and their victims were really Palestinians. Such lies turn Palestinians into martyrs and murderers. The educational system run by the Palestinian Authority is designed to turn their children into killers and, along with many Muslim clerics around the globe, turn Islam into a cult of death.
Shahada, dying for Allah, seems to be the goal of Palestinian education. As one young Palestinian boy recites, “I have let my land drink my blood, and I have loved the way of Shahada.” The linking of land with Allah, and both with death is the Muslim equivalent of the Israeli Settler idolatry that replaces worship of God with worship of the land. But there is a difference, and the difference is crucial: the Israeli government is not producing the hate-filled speech of the Jewish terrorist, while Palestinian hate is produced and promoted by the Palestinian Authority.
Anyone who imagines soon-to-be President Obama is going to make peace between Israel and Palestine is fooling herself. The United States has spent untold millions on both sides of the conflict and nothing of substance has come of it. The illegal and immoral Israeli settlements remain and expand, and Palestinians bomb Israel from Gaza on a daily basis, raining death and destruction deeper and deeper into the country’s heartland. But there is a difference, and the difference is crucial: the Israeli government supports the settlements, while the Palestinian Authority does not officially sanction the bombing.
Funding the madness that is the Middle East doesn’t work. We have tried bringing the adults together, and that has failed. Maybe we should bring the children together instead. There are many such programs in Israel, all of them small and poorly funded. Maybe we should spend our money on these programs.
Maybe our best bet is to establish an American Academy for Truth and Reconciliation in Jerusalem— a free, educationally state-of-the-art middle and high school where, in addition to Arabic, Hebrew, English, science, math, and the humanities (including comparative religion and Jewish and Islamic Studies), Israeli and Palestinians can learn their history together, and where they can begin to forge the bonds of friendship and understanding that might let them create a new future that doesn’t replicate the fear, hate, and war that defines their parents. Pollyannaish, I know. Liberals like me always put our hope in education. That is why I admitted from the top: there will be no peace in the Middle East.