Denial is a terrible thing

by Yaniv Reich on October 26, 2009

Is it really that difficult for Israelis to accept responsibility for their actions, for even some of their actions?

Today, President Shimon Peres went to a Jewish high school in the Western Galilee and said this:

Commenting on the peace negotiations [sic] between Israel and the Palestinians, Peres said that “the problem is not on the Israeli side… Unfortunately, we are dealing with an organization that lacks rules and principles, and which cannot be trusted with anything it says.”

Whether or not you think Hamas (presumably the target of the remark as I would guess Peres wasn’t talking about the Palestinian Authority) lacks rules and principles, is it really that hard to identify Israel’s role in undermining peace by, to cite just one example, continuously building and expanding settlements on Palestinian land? Does the denial run so deep? Or is it just knee-jerk defensiveness?

My personal debates with family and friends frequently revolve around the simple idea that the ongoing conflict and occupation is the fault of both Israelis and Palestinians. Of course, this position is widely perceived (by them) to reflect subversive pro-Palestinian sentiment.

Israelis, and Jews more generally, must end this tragic state of affairs in which commonsensical arguments about Israel’s responsibilities, as both an occupier and a modern state with many trappings of democracy, are rejected because of the downright absurd idea that the Palestinians are to blame for everything, always. Its really not that hard.

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