What is Mutuality?

Yoram Getzler

What is Mutuality?

By Yoram Getzler*

It is the beginning of July, this article is due the middle of July, to be published and read in September. As a reminder...we are at present in the process of trying to decide if the cease fire has really started...if the PA can be held responsible for all violence ... if zero tolerance is achievable or even desirable or reasonable.

Then what happened? Did it work, was Sharon faced with the challenge of really conducting diplomatic negations with the PA? Did it not work...how long did it take for the IDF to end its cease fire and undertake the retaliation that all expected after the June Dolphenarium multiple murders more than one month ago? What is happening???

I would love to know now. It is so filled with profound historical spiritual significance for all of the two-leggers and some of the four-leggers, in other words for all of creation.

But some things we know even now, and have known for some time. We know that the balance of forces, which so many portray as overwhelmingly in favor of Israel — with "one of the Strongest Armies in the World" — is no more than an illusion.

I am a member of the National Forum made up of Israeli Arabs and Jews — set up by former Minister Rabbi Melcior — to propose solutions and strategies for dealing with the difficult and complicated issues of the Jew/Arab problem within Israel. At our last meeting, the term "Arab minority" was a prominent phrase for the first part of our dialogue.

Finally Abed al Salam from the village of Neve Shalom declared passionately " I am sick and tired of hearing minority, minority. Look around you.....you are the minority!!!"

Which brings up the question; is there not something wrong, distorted, with the picture of our overwhelming strength?. How could it possibly be that 250 million (1/4 Billion) Arabs would be seen as David, threatened) by five million Jews who are seen as Goliath?

To add to the absurdity, those 1/4 Billion Arabs — in states stretching from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf- are supported unconditionally by nearly a Billion fellow Muslims — occupying the area continuing on to the Philippine Islands in the far East. During the last meeting of their international organization, the Islamic Conference, the issue of over one hundred thousand murdered Muslim Arabs in Algeria was not even a topic of conversation...but the alleged distribution of poisoned chewing gum by Israeli helicopters was a hot item.

Unfortunately , the hundreds of dead and thousands of injured over the past year, Jews and Arabs, infants, men, woman and the elderly, are a fraction of the casualties we can expect if Arafat — yemach shemo — continues to be encouraged, and supported to proceed with his strategy and actions which is to provoke a war, the bigger the better in order to destroy the Jewish state.

In an American Jewish Renewal document, DRAFT PRINCIPLES: FOUR WORLDS, EIGHTEEN AFFIRMATIONS, ONE COVENANT, the Israeli / Arab / Palestinian issue is recognized in a call for, "...mutual recognition of each other's rights to freedom, self-determination, security, and peace..." which seems to assume mutuality. Mutual is the problem. While hardly anyone can deny that people defined as Palestinian Arabs did live here, that some of them lived here for generations, it seems to not be a problem for those Arabs to deny that the Jewish people ever lived here; thereby it follows that we have no legitimate historic rights here.

Theirs are the sole and only legitimate claims to the land that lies between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Mutual is missing!

Most important; Mutual is also missing in the concept of legitimacy; they see us as totally illegitimate in our attachment to the land. "Mutual" is absent in their belief that Abraham was the first Muslim and therefore Jews have no claim to his heritage or his tomb.

"Blaming the Victim" is a problem, because here there are two victims. So whoever we/you hold responsible, it's Blaming the Victim!

We know one other "proof" of the justice and legitimacy of the Palestinian uprising: The result of "Oslo" is right in front of our faces every day. Israel committed itself to relinquish property and population to the control of the Palestinians. That we have fulfilled that crucial commitment is plain for all to see, as is the finality of our act.

If we then reverse the camera angle and ask the question...what have we received in return from the Palestinians that is equally permanent and irreversible?

*Getzler is a leader of Ahavi, the Association for Jewish Renewal in Israel.