Yesterday the Knesset convened in the Peres Peace Center in order to hear speeches from visiting dignitaries regarding peace and bi-nationality. This event comes following the Palestinians' refusal to establish a Palestinian State - despite the repeated pleadings of Israel's Prime Minister. The Hamas spokesman argued that if the Jews so ardently want the Palestinians to establish a State, there must be some Zionist plot here, and they refuse to participate in it.
In the meantime, the Attorney-General to the government is checking the legality in international law of Israel declaring a State of Palestine - despite the Palestinians lack of cooperation. The government spokesman explained that the Prime Minister is hopeful that after Israel declares the establishment of a Palestinian State, the Palestinian grass movements will force their leaders to recognize their State. However, the Quartet has issued a statement this week that it isn't permissible to force a State on a nation that doesn't wish for one.
Israel's Defense Minister has started removing the soldiers from the Israeli territories in which the Palestinian State is expected to be erected. "In any event, today most of the warfare is conducted by computers and not by ground forces. And if a security problem arises - not to worry, the IDF will know how to respond," the Minister of Defense calmed the delegation of Bereaved Parents for a Secure Israel which met with him after a two week hunger strike.
And talking about demonstrations, it seems a bit strange that we haven't seen any large demonstrations in Israel recently. "Try to understand," explained the director of Peace Now, "we don't have the money anymore. All our people are abroad, and one needs a lot of money to fly them all back. Besides which, if we want them to attend one of our demonstrations we have to take care to provide them with decent singers and adequate entertainment. The problem is that the generation of today isn't like the generation of yesterday. Once, we could pay in shekels and hire some well-known Israeli singers. But today? Who follows Israeli performers today? And do you know how much it costs to bring a band from abroad? They don't want to come anyways. So what we're thinking of doing, because it's a lot simpler, is organizing a demonstration abroad. Next week, in Las Vegas, at two in the morning, we'll have a huge demonstration against a Palestinian State - how can you force a State on a people that doesn't want one?! What sort of inhumane government does such a thing?! They think that with strength they can pull anything they want. For shame!"
The silence is deafening also among those who identify themselves with the opposite side of the political spectrum. "People are tired of demonstrations," the director of The New Yesha May-it be-Speedily-Rebuilt Council explained wearily. "We've been demonstrating for more than sixty years and what have we achieved from it? Nothing. The Sinai settlements were dismantled, the Gush Katif settlements were destroyed, the Northern Shomron settlements were destroyed, and then all the settlements outside the security wall were also destroyed. Not to mention Oslo 1, Oslo 2, and Oslo 3, the Road Map 1 and the Road map 2, and please don't forget Peace in our Days 1 and Peace in our Days 2 - we demonstrated against all of them and it didn't help."
So what are you doing? "We're working on two levels. On the one level, we're busy 'settling in hearts' - we've moved to the large cities and are very integrated with the local population. Today you can see us in nice percentages in the army, in the media, in the government and even in the academic world. On the other level, we strengthen our public via separate communities for those who wish to live in a holier setting."
Aren't you worried that this time a Palestinian State really will be established? "Nu, come on. For more than sixty years everyone has been talking about it. It's no sweat off my back - you can continue talking about it for another sixty years! But seriously, in any event defacto- they already have a State. Declaration, no declaration - what does it matter? Enough, I'm a busy person and you're wasting my time. I have more important things to attend. If you insist on talking about a Palestinian State, I can give you the phone numbers of several sub-organizations in The New Yesha May-it be-Speedily-Rebuilt Council who have turned this issue into their raison d'etre and will be glad to talk to you about their plans for the struggle."
Shifra Shomron (21) is a former Gush Katif resident-expellee and the author of Grains Of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim, (Mazo Publishers, 2007).
Travel beyond time and beyond location - into my Gush Katif
Visit Shifra's website: www.geocities.com/nevedekalim