Abbas (L) and Netanyahu (archives)
These words are addressed to the president of the United States on the eve of his visit and are written by a "settler" who, according to the president's policy, should be banished from his home. They are written in the classic Jewish form of dialogue known as ichfa mistabra – where one takes the opposite point of view to prove a point.
Dear Mr. President,
They say the Americans are committed to resolving our crisis with the Palestinians. But could it be, ifcha mistabra, that the Americans are the problem and not the solution, because the Arabs' expectation for American pressure on us only makes their positions more radical? A two-year-old girl is fighting for her life, and her mother and two sisters are injured. They were attacked with stones during riots that erupted in the West Bank ahead of your visit. You too are aware that your demand for a construction freeze in the settlements as a precondition for the resumption of negotiations was what prevented the talks from resuming in the first place. The ruler of Ramallah has to be as fervent as the American pope is.
Op-ed: Lack of public interest particularly intriguing as US president repeatedly urged to come to Israel
"The Arab spring is a window of opportunity," your aides are signaling to us, "Now you can talk directly to their street." But perhaps it is true that only dictators can sign meaningless agreements with us while the authentic will of the masses rules out any negotiation or agreement?
And what right does America have to demand more and more territory from us and bring the Arab knife closer to our throats? America, with all its good intentions, withdrew from Iraq and left it in shambles, falling like ripe fruit into Iran's hands. America failed to find a solution in Afghanistan in the face of the Taliban; it also failed to foresee the developments in Libya and made a huge mistake in Egypt.
You justifiably fear getting your fingers burned in Syria as well, and had we listened to the advice of your predecessors, today al-Qaeda would be dangling its feet in Lake Kinneret. In this "Arab spring," Libya, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and perhaps Jordan as well have been exposed as fabrications. Is this the time to create another fabrication, a Palestinian one?
The official goal, it is said, is an agreement with the Palestinians. But perhaps, ifcha mistabra, it is the signed piece paper that is getting in the way? Why is it that half of the Palestinians living in Gaza, the majority of Palestinians in the West Bank, as well the Palestinian citizens of Israel and millions more worldwide refuse to sign? Because signing would mean recognizing that Israel within the 1967 borders belongs to the Jewish people and it would also mean relinquishing the right of return of millions of Palestinian refugees. Israelis and Americans find it difficult to understand that this issue is far more important to them than the establishment of a tiny Western-made country similar to Iraq and Syria, which are collapsing before their eyes.
While most Palestinians are against a formal agreement, de-facto coexistence already exists, so the West's insistence that the Arabs sign the document - a treacherous act as far as they are concerned - is inexplicable. Such a document would not have any value anyway because no one would implement it. So why is the West refusing to accept the content without the package – living side by side, without the headline or the label? It has further been claimed that accepting the proposal of the Left and the Americans and formally forgoing Israel of 1948 in exchange for Israel of 1967 would cost the Arabs who sign the agreement their lives.
Mr. President, should you visit a hospital in Jerusalem, you will see both Jews and Arabs being treated in harmony by Jewish and Arab physicians and nurses. You will find coexistence in shopping malls located near settlements. If an agreement is forced upon the sides, these malls will close down, the patients will not come to the hospitals, the laborers will not have any work and the hatred will grow. This, in addition to thousands of Jewish and Arab casualties, is what happened after the Oslo Accords.