In recent months, Israel has attempted to engage in peace talks with the Palestinians. Israel has called for a two-state solution and made offers to reduce barriers in the West Bank — Israel wants peace. Israel is a leader in democracy, freedom and human rights. As college students, we should be able to realize the significance of Israel in today’s world.
For decades, Israel has requested peace. Israel began as a fairly large piece of land in the Middle East, but time and time again, it has opted to trade land for peace. In 1979, to achieve peace with Egypt, Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula and evicted over 7,000 Jewish residents from the area. In 1997, Benjamin Netanyahu signed over most of Hebron to the Palestinian authorities. Again in 2005, the Israeli government evicted all Israelis from the Gaza Strip in hopes of establishing peace in southern Israel. Now, in 2010, the Palestinian authorities are asking for full control of the West Bank in exchange for peace talks. Israel already gave Sinai, Jordan, Hebron and Gaza, and is still waiting for peace.
Yitzhak Rabin, the fifth prime minister of Israel, spoke to the Palestinian people in 1993 and said, “Enough of blood and tears. Enough. We have no desire for revenge. We harbor no hatred toward you. We, like you, are people — people who want to build a home, to plant a tree, to love, to live side by side with you — in dignity, in empathy, as human beings, as free men. Let us pray that a day will come when we all will say, enough, farewell to arms.”
Israel has tried for peace and is still trying. Bill Clinton recently wrote in an op-ed published by the New York Times: “The remaining issues can be resolved, and the incentives to do so are there. Israel has its best partner ever in the Palestinian government on the West Bank led by President Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, with its proven ability to provide security and economic development.”
The time for peace is now. We all hope to live in a world with no phobias, no prejudice and no acts of hatred. Israel has taken steps towards achieving that reality — now it is our turn. It is our turn to understand that we must support a country that believes in peace.