Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Middle East Dispute Raises Question of the Price of Peace

In 1967, the Jewish people realized their dream of returning to Jerusalem. For the first time in thousands of years, Jews were able to worship freely at their holiest sites.

The return to their holy land has been one of the greatest miracles in the history of the Jewish people. After 2,000 years of exile, the Jewish people are finally able to govern themselves, free of oppression and persecution.

In 1993, the Israelis and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords. The purpose was to create a trust between the two peoples, one that would “prepare them for peace.” For the coming years both peoples were supposed to get used to the idea that extremely painful concessions were going to be necessary in exchange for the prosperity that comes with peace. Israeli society embraced this idea, demonstrated by Barak’s landslide victory in May 1999 for prime minister of Israel, running on the platform of concessions in return for peace.

Recently, Israel offered to give up half of Jerusalem, this miracle 2,000 years in the waiting, for peace. Israeli Prime inister Ehud Barak offered Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, among other things, to divide Jerusalem down the middle, giving the Palestinians their holy sites, and leaving the Jewish holy sites under Israeli control. Arafat responded to this offer by demanding all of Jerusalem and launching what is now five months of violence, known as the Al-Aksa intifada.

By responding to Barak’s offer with demands for more land and a wave of violence, Arafat awakened Israel to the depressing reality that the Palestinians are not ready for peace. For eight years, Israeli and American arrogance led the two countries to believe that they could “convince” the Palestinians that peace is worth territorial concessions. The intifada proved them dead wrong.

However, how could one possibly criticize the Palestinians for refusing to negotiate their homeland, what they too feel is holy God-given land? In fact, one can accuse the Jews of selling out their own holy land, their 2,000 year miracle, for hopes of a cheap, temporary peace. I have no answer to this argument. But somehow, after some deep, painful soul-searching, the Israeli people decided that God would rather have a peacefully split Jerusalem than a violent Jerusalem under Israeli control.

In the end, land is worthless if the people residing in it live in constant fear. Israelis have come to that conclusion. I pray the Palestinians one day do the same.

Nir Hauser is a sophomore in the College.

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