ISRAEL FORGETS

By William Markiewicz

The Arab kamikaze strike again and Israel retaliates again. Years ago the Palestinians tried to terrorize the Israeli population to achieve what they couldn't on the battlefield. I remember some newspaper at that time wrote: "All they'll achieve is to teach Israelis how to live dangerously." Indeed, learning how to live dangerously is easier than it seems at first sight. It doesn't take long to become familiar with death, otherwise there wouldn't have been all those wars in history. Soldiers learn how to live with death, which is their job, but civilians also learn fast -- look at various rebellions, resistances, revolutions. Even those exceptional societies, like Jews and Gypsies, coexisted with danger in their own passive way.

The Israelis learned how to live dangerously, the Arabs understood and stopped the terror. Then began the slow road to peace until the murder of Rabin wiped out hope. Now Israel, in its turn, tries vainly to scare the Arabs. Have they forgotten the lesson they learned on their own back about the habit of living dangerously? Sharon uses and abuses power like a brainless, raging bull. He is obviously blinded by his pride, his right-wing ideology and remains prisoner of the promise he gave the electors, that only he and brute power can stop terrorism.

There is still a chance to step back. Israelis until now have had plenty of time and their only chance is to understand that it cannot be forever so, and that they must stop at the threshold where their enemies' right to freedom stands. As I said previously, peace is easy to achieve, and in record time, with the following formula: Give freedom to those Arabs in the Old City of Jerusalem, get rid of the new Jewish settlements on Palestinian territories, give the Golan back to the Syrians as Sinai was returned to The Egyptians. Of course, like everybody else, Israel must remain strong to discourage any future aggression.

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