In the last few months, a number of my articles have been published
in various pro-Israel websites. I have received many favorable comments
about my articles but my biggest critic has been my wife, Devorah,
whom you already met in a previous article.
You write nice articles, Devorah said to me,
but you are always kvetching. You kvetch about the Arabs, you kvetch
about the Europeans, and you kvetch about the UN. When are you going
to stop kvetching and come up with a solution?
How am I supposed to come up with a solution? I responded.
Dennis Ross couldnt find a solution. Either could Bill
Clinton or Shimon Peres. Nobody understands Ariel Sharons
solution. So how could I come up with a solution?
Listen, she said, you have three Masters
degrees and youre always studying. You can come up with a
But to create a good solution, I would need a lot of data,
I said defensively. I would need data on geography, demographics,
topography, economics, military logistics, and natural resources.
Youre a college teacher, you know how to get data.
she countered, You press a few buttons on your computer and
you get all the data you want. Come up with a solution or stop kvetching.
Its not quite so easy, but Ill tell what Ill
do. The next time we go to Israel to visit our kids, Ill snoop
around a little to get some information. That satisfied her
for a while.
So the next time we went to Israel I embarked on my quest to search
for a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. My friend Steve lives
near the Prime Ministers residence so I figured thats
a good place to start. We saw a few young soldiers sitting around
and chatting so we approached them. They were speaking in Russian,
so we figured that wouldnt work. Suddenly, my friend Steve
exclaimed, Theres one wearing a kipah srugah, lets
Thats great, I said, Im also wearing
a kipah srugah, so well get along just fine.
I approached the young soldier with my broken Hebrew, Slikha,
khayal. Ani rotze
The soldier interrupted me with his perfect South African English,
How can I help you?
I would like to ask the Prime Minister a question.
Is that so, what would you like to ask him?
Well, you see, Im a writer and Im doing a piece
on the Gaza Strip. I would like to know if he could give me a helicopter
tour of the Gaza Strip like he did with Colin Powell and Tony Blair.
Id love to help you out, but my radio is beeping and
I have to get back to my post.
Strike One! I figured Ill try the public library. They have
to help me over there. I approached the reference desk and a stunningly
attractive Sephardi girl looks up at me and asks, What can
I do for you, sir? For a moment I forgot what I was there
for. When I regained my composure, I said, Im writing
a piece on the Gaza Strip. Could I see the Mossad and Shabak files
on Hamas positions in the area?
So you would like to see Mossad files? she asked politely.
Why dont you give me your name and address and Ill forward
your request directly to Mossad.
That would be fine, I said, Could I also have
your name and address, my friends son is looking for a shidduch.
She pressed a button on her desk and a security guard came over
to escort me out of the building. Strike Two!
Next, I decided to try the Israeli Supreme Court. I figured that
their cases are public domain, so they cant kick me out. I
approached the desk. There was an elderly woman sitting there. I
asked her, Could I see the cases dealing with property rights
in the Gaza Strip?
She looks at me and asks, Are you vun uf dose left people
who vorry about Palestinian rights? Doesnt anyvun vorry anymore
about Jewish rights?
She extended her arm to show me where to go. The tattooed number
on her arm was clearly visible. I headed in that direction, when
suddenly my cell phone rang. Family emergency! While I was gone,
my daughter, Sara, was exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning and
was rushed by ambulance to the hyperbaric chamber at Rambam Medical
Center in Haifa.
I caught the next bus to Haifa. When I arrived at the hospital,
a nurse, wearing a Hijab, came over to greet me. Your daughter
is fine. She is fully conscious. We have to be thankful to Allah
that her husbands Talmud class was suddenly cancelled. He
came home early and was able to revive her.
If you had the patience to read so far, youre probably wondering,
When is this guy going to stop babbling and get to the point?
OK, heres the point: Its time for the State Of Israel
to make an emphatic statement to the nations of the world: For
56 years, we have taken in millions of Jews who needed a home because
they were annoyed, harassed, tormented, persecuted, and incarcerated
in your countries. We absorbed them, housed them, trained them,
integrated them, and returned their self-dignity to them. All without
the help of any UN agencies. In that same time period, you maintained
four generations of Arabs in squalid refugee camps. Hundreds of
millions of dollars were spent on them each year so that they could
perpetuate their dream of taking over the 21,000 square kilometers
of land that is called the State of Israel. You supported their
hatred, their incitement, and their violence, while we became the
focus of your enmity and condemnation.
Now we had enough. We want you to leave us alone. Go attend
to the other 35 ethnic conflicts that are going on around the world.
Go attend to the widespread abuse of women and children around the
world and stop bothering us.
Were willing to make you an offer. If the entire world
is willing to absorb 3 million Arab refugees, well
take the remaining million, with conditions. Let us have the Gaza
Strip and West Bank as part of the internationally recognized boundaries
of the State of Israel. The entire city of Jerusalem will become
the internationally recognized capital of the State of Israel. All
together, we would still have less than 30,000 square kilometers,
about a third of the size of Jordan and a sixth of the size of Syria.
Yet, we would still be willing to take in those million Arabs and
make them full citizens with full democratic rights. You do the
same for the other 3 million. The transfer would be strictly voluntary,
with compensation, and without coercion. That would be the end of
the refugee problem and the end of the conflict.
If that offer isnt good enough for you, then sit down with
us and make a counter offer. Just stop harassing us and let us go
on with our lives. Let us continue to make our valuable contributions
to technology, health care, agricultural science, and water conservation.
Were willing to help you, but you have to leave us alone.
Stop bothering us, because were not going to take it anymore.
Anyway, I had to tell Devorah that I struck out. But the games
not over and Im not giving up.
(c) 2005, I. Zwick, NYC