Don’t betray us this year
Op-ed: In coming year, may government not harm settlers to curry favor with our enemies
Dear Sara Netanyahu,
This Rosh Hashana,
not all of us got to sit with our families as we celebrated the coming of the New Year. An hour’s drive from the prime minister’s residence, in the Mount Hebron community of Beit Hagai, the children of the Aimes family
had a tough time celebrating. Only recently they ended the mourning period and visited their parents’ grave at Mount Olives, and suddenly here is the Jewish New Year – without their mother’s cooking and their father’s blessings. The honey-dipped apple must have been salty of tears by the time it reached their mouths; they may have very well chocked up on the New Year’s blessings.
This is why I decided to turn to you, Sara. Recently you wrote a letter to the interior minister, saying that “as a mother to two sons and as a child psychologist, I view the profession I chose as a daily mission to help children.” Perhaps just like you helped the children of foreign workers, Sara, you can also help the Aimes children?
A year of cruel decrees has drawn to an end in Beit Hagai and in other Judea and Samaria communities; insulting decrees that turned Eretz Yisrael into the only place in the world where a Jew is not allowed to build a home just because he’s Jewish. May it be your will, God, that our ministers will not impose further such decrees on us.
May it be your will that the prime minister hold his head up high rather than walk with his tail between his legs – so that he won’t capitulate and cave in to the pressure. Let him deliver on his word, not evacuate even one community, and revive the construction effort. The Aimes children are too young to remember where the previous “peace” talks managed by the prime minister led to, but you remember, Sara.
“May it be your will to terminate our enemies and haters,” the Aimes children asked on Rosh Hashana, also referring to the “partners” starring in the new Geneva Initiative campaign meant to confuse us all. As a child psychologist, Sara, you know how to warn people against sweet-talking swindlers. So please warn the prime minister too. “Bibi, be a partner,” they urge him in giant, US-funded ads. Yet we know them, remind him of that. They’re responsible for the Oslo failure and its thousands of casualties, so don’t go with them, Bibi.
Look at the Aimes children – they’re not confused. They understand that behind the neckties, fancy suits, and academic degrees such as “PhD in peace studies,” the campaign stars are in fact the trusted home front of the Aimes killers: The minister for “prisoner” affairs (that is, terrorist affairs) Sufian Abu-Zaida will handle the affairs of the murderers with great dedication should they be apprehended. “President” Abbas
and “Prime Minister” Fayyad will grant them great honor and name squares after them should they be killed.
Indeed, all of Israel’s
children can expect a tough year of terror. This is the immediate, cruel and possibly only result of the talks. “The attacks were meant to torpedo the talks,“ the prime minister said and announced that he and Abbas shall be meeting once every two weeks – so that at least once every two weeks, the terrorists will attempt to carry out another attack. These are the rules of the Middle East: When we have talks, we have attacks; when there are no talks, we have security.
The last time the “peace” talks collapsed, we saw about 2,000 terror attacks within a year on both sides of the Green Line, about 450 dead, and more than 1,500 wounded. Now, this nightmare is returning. So how can we hope for a good, sweet year, Sara?
What kind of good year can the Aimes children pray for? After all, while they were mourning, the prime minister prayed that by the end of the year he’ll be signing an agreement that would prompt these children’s expulsion. Should his prayers (which he said nothing about on the eve of the last elections, by the way) materialize, the Aimes children would lose the little they have left: The home where they lived in with their parents and supportive community.
Their murdered parents may also lose their final resting place, heaven forbid, should their graves be removed from the Mount of Olives – after all, the prime minister did not pledge to safeguard this site and Jerusalem as a whole. So where will the children move to at the end of such year? It doesn’t really matter. After all, in his election campaign Netanyahu told us that should we withdraw from Judea and Samaria, the missiles will reach every site in the tiny Israel.
Yet the Aimes children may actually help the prime minister, Sara. They do not have the budget for a campaign or makeup artists, but they do have sad eyes that ask without words: How terribly can you hurt your brethren just to make peace with your enemies?
Take their photograph and place it on his desk, so that they’re always before the prime minister's eyes. These are his first peace victims, in this term in office. If he does everything that needs to be done to ensure they’re the last ones too, and if he promises himself not to hurt them more than he already did, perhaps he would be able to stand strong and not trip. And then, we may see a good, sweet year for the people of Israel after all. Amen.
Orit Struck is the director of the legal department in Hebron’s Jewish community and manages the Judea and Samaria human rights organization