What They Hear, and What We Hear

I read the text of Obama’s speech.  Like most speeches of this kind, different people focus on different parts.

As an Israeli Jew, the following struck me (from the text published in the Jerusalem Post):

“Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed……..It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered…….To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.”

I cannot speak for the Arabs, but I would assume that the following struck many of them:

“At the same time Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestines. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for the settlements to stop.”

What Obama said is not new at all. It really describes most of the world’s perception of the conflict pretty well – although it makes me angry that my living in my home is equated with terrorists killing innocent men, women, and children. Am I really as dangerous as a suicide bomber? I am a suburban mom raising three kids, and have never threatened anyone – I just live in a place that some think is “disputed”. Why are my actions compared to a terrorist who shoots rockets at civilians?

Practically speaking – the real test comes after the speech. Will Obama put pressure on us to “stop settlement action”, and ignore the obligations of Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to stop terrorist activity?

If he does, (which every other president has done) then there will be no peace here. The Palestinians will just sit with crossed arms and wait to receive everything they want on a silver platter, and their people will continue to suffer. Our leadership may continue to make gestures by tearing down outposts (which will be built three days later), but our lives will not change significantly. And, of course, we will continue to watch our backs and guard against terrorist attacks. G-d willing, most will be thwarted by our soldiers. Unfortunately, some will succeed and we will cry for our dead.

And the cycle will continue.

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. yogi
    Jun 05, 2009 @ 04:51:11

    Well said.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    you can keep this post and recycle it every elections.

  2. Ezzie
    Jun 05, 2009 @ 05:19:40

    Perfectly put.

  3. rickismom
    Jun 05, 2009 @ 05:56:18

    Well said. So well, that I may link to you rather than write may own, as you really said just what I was going to…..

  4. Trackback: Here in HP, a Highland Park, New Jersey blog » Weekly Review with Pink Roses
  5. wennington
    Jun 06, 2009 @ 11:05:05

    i think his speech was great. He knows that for reaching peace, BOTH sides will have to make some painfull steps. Those illegal settlements are one of the issues israel will have to deal with, like it or not. I also liked how obama stayed away from using those bush-era paranoic terms like ‘terrorists’, islamofascism, 9-11 etc in every statement.

  6. Jack
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 02:36:28

    Those illegal settlements are one of the issues israel will have to deal with, like it or not.

    What is a settlement. Everybody talks like it is obvious, but we rarely hear a definition of one. That is a critical element that is missing from this discussion.

  7. Chas N-B
    Jun 07, 2009 @ 13:43:54

    That he called it “resistance” and not what it is – terrorism – said it all for me. Interesting post, BTW.

  8. aliyah06
    Jun 08, 2009 @ 14:42:34

    “Illegal settlement” as tossed around by the Left is just another buzz word. Despite its apparent unpopularity amongst the university and diplomatic elites, there are sound reasons to believe that the settlements are not illegal: (1) they are on disputed land as there is no sovereign power from whom they were seized — having been seized in a defensive war from a country already illegally occupying that land; (2) assuming, arguendo, that they are “Palestinian” then under the Geneva Conventio there is no obligation to dismantle, remove or do anything else to them until there is a peace treaty between the warring parties. Until then, on either ground, the “settlements” stay and as long as the Palestinians play the Waiting Game, it’s going to be harder and harder to negotiate them away.

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