Thanks to Sol Salbe, an Australian Jewish Mideast peace activist, for translating this remarkable Maariv article (Hebrew version) into English. It was written by Eyal Shiran, whose parents were critically wounded in a Haifa bombing and whose sister died as well. I am posting this article not because I expect all or even most such victims of terror (whether Israeli and Palestinian) to be able to muster such dispassion in confronting the terrorists who murdered a family member. Nonetheless, it is critically important to recognize that there are many such people on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides. And they can point the way to a peaceful future in which recrimination and retribtution are not the norm.
On March 31 2002, between the two Passover holidays, Hamas dispatched a suicide bomber to my home town of Haifa. My parents, Haley and Shimon, and my sister Adi went out for lunch at the Matza restaurant on that day. At about 14.45 the terrorist entered the restaurant and blew himself up. My mother was very badly hurt and my father was critically wounded. My sister and 14 other people perished in that attack. Only someone who has been through that experience can understand what we have been through since then.
But those who died are gone. What is important now is to prevent others from suffering the same fate. What is important today is the decision as to what the citizens and government of Israel ought to do next.
My sister’s death and my parents’ injuries happened as a direct consequence of our reign over the West Bank. That’s the way it has happened throughout history: The rule of one nation over another begets violent resistance, terrorism. In addition, the fact that there is only a fence and no international border between us and the Palestinians prevents us from setting up an effective defence against terrorism.
As long as Israeli citizens live on both sides of the fence, two-way traffic between the two sides of the fence is inevitable. As long as this continues, suicide bombers will be able to find their way in to our cities; to Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa.
It was for this very reason that together with others I have set up the Yizkor movement. Our members comprise other victims of our rule over the Territories: civilians who will carry the scars of the conflict for their rest of their lives; soldiers whose scars are mental rather than physical; parents who send their children to serve in the Territories every day; and those who have lost their loved ones.
Enough blood spilt
The Palestinian people have voted in their elections, choosing Hamas by a large majority. It’s a fact. The important question is how we are going to move forward.
If we want to prevent future bombings, we have to sit down to negotiations with the Palestinian leadership. The negotiations should lead to peace and our separation from the Territories and from people who do not wish us to lord it over them. We need the kind of negotiations that will give rise to a situation where we can effectively defend ourselves.
If the negotiations fail, we ought to get out of the Territories. There is nothing to keep us in Jenin and Hebron. We have nothing to do there except spill our own blood. Enough blood has been spilt; enough people have been killed and wounded.
Please believe me when I say this, especially now when the people who killed my sister and injured my parents are about to form the new Palestinian government. Now is the time for anybody who cares about Zionism to wake up. Just as we did with Sinai, Lebanon and Gaza, separation provides the only answer.