It all started when I coughed. My wife thought I said, “Gaza is a joke.”
No matter how much I tried to explain that I just coughed, she insisted I made a political statement. And that’s all it took for her to get started.
“Israel’s evacuation from the Gaza Strip,” she said, “is intended to bring peace and the Palestinians are saying they will use it to continue their war.”
“Peace?” I asked. “You have to be kidding? Israel is withdrawing from the Gaza Strip because they’ve taken a beating there and the Islamic movement they helped launch back in the 1970s has turned into the Likud’s Frankenstein.” Who, I quickly pointed out, was probably also Jewish.
“There you go,” Alison said. “Blaming the Jews for everything. Frankenstein was a brilliant doctor who tried to do something good. I don’t know if he was Jewish or not, but the fact is regardless, not everything that people try to do turns out right. Much like the peace process you love so much,” she said.
Shocking double standards
I explained I was simply shocked at the double standard of settler arguments.
“I saw a settler lady complain that she has to leave her home, as if we haven’t seen the exact same suffering on the part of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian mothers and children forced to leave their homes,” I said. “Why the double standard?”
I continued my argument. Most Israeli settlers went into the Gaza Strip knowing that it was territory occupied in a war. More importantly, though, they knew that Israel had been offering to return the land for genuine peace for years.
Did they believe that Israel was just lying? That the whole land for peace thing was a gimmick just so they could keep everything?
“The United Nations divided Palestine into two states, one for the Jewish people and one for the Arabs. The Arabs rejected the plan and fought Israel to get it back. They lost,” Alison said.
“True. They did lose. But why is it that the Israelis were so willing to accept the decisions of the United Nations back in 1948 but refuse to listen to anything the United Nations says today? Because they only support what they want and don’t want to compromise either?” I asked.
Going for the kill
My wife threw the gauntlet and went right for the jugular.
“Well, the fact is between 1948 and 1967, the Arabs had the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, If they cared so much for the Palestinians, why didn’t they build a state then on that land? You should be blaming the Jordanians. I know one of your cousins is a big shot there, but the Jordanians have done more to oppose Palestinian rights as the Israelis supposedly have,” she said.
“And that’s how we have changed. Most Palestinians have accepted the fact that we can’t get back all of Palestine. We didn’t try to make an Arab State. We wanted a democracy where Jews and Christians could live together as equals,” I said.
“You mean the way Muslims mistreat Christian Arabs and Jews in the Arab World? Some of your own people hate you because you are married to me because I am Jewish, even though you have spent most of your life championing the Palestinian cause. You’re not Muslim so in their eyes you are no different than the Jews,” she said.
At least Israel publishes opposition
She went on. When you wrote that Palestinians had to compromise on the issue of the Right of Return, nearly every major Arab newspaper stopped publishing your columns. They love you when you bash Israel and are so willing to drop you when you say things they don’t like. That’s democracy. At least in Israel, they publish your columns,” Alison said.
This debate went back and forth. We touched on every issue. Barak’s “most generous offer.” Yasser Arafat’s contribution to peace by accepting Israel’s existence and the concept of two-states. Begin's peace with the Egyptians. The rise of Islamic fanaticism. Suicide bombings. Israel’s theft of Palestinian lands to build more settlements all the while as they said they were seeking to negotiate peace.
Loves Israel, Arabs haven't done enough
Alison loves Israel. She believes Israel has compromised much, considering they repeatedly beat the Arabs at every war since 1948.
Like many Jews, she believes Palestinians have not done enough to stop the terrorism of groups like Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
She is not a big supporter of the settlers and said they don’t represent the majority of Israelis.
“Most Israelis are willing to trade back the occupied lands for a real peace, if the Palestinians are genuinely ready to accept compromise,” she said.
“Genuine peace? How genuine is it that during the peace process Israel claimed it supported peace but spent the entire time during the negotiations annexing West Bank land, expanding their settlements and engaging things like ‘extra-judicial killings,’ ‘collective punishment,’ and arresting Palestinian dissidents?” I asked, ending with a strong “a ha!”
Alison looked at me with concern in her eyes.
“Did I just hear you cough?”
Ray Hanania writes exclusively for YnetNews.com on issues that are serious, satirical and humorous. He can be reached at www.hanania.com