“The desire for hope is eternal, ubiquitous, unending. It defines being human. That is why the atmosphere in this country is so improbably hopeful as if – after four years of being terrorized in our homes and cafes, on our buses, in our malls – the conflict and pain can magically be erased. The Palestinians say they will announce a hudna. They say that they will “behave” if we behave. We blithely play along with the peace performance, hoping this time the play will have a happy ending because one of the characters has changed.
Abu Mazen has changed the tune of the negotiations by saying that terror is useless, meaning it doesn’t work as political strategy. The new Palestinian leader has not yet said that terror is wrong, morally repugnant, unspeakably wrong. He has not said that despair is not what creates terror but hate – hatred taught in Palestinian schools, transmitted on the airwaves, preached in the mosques, and countenanced and promoted by the Palestinian leadership. He insists that terror stop because it is inexpedient. I will have hope when I hear the Palestinians say that it is wrong to murder Jews in cold blood. I will have hope when the words of this performance truly change, not just the tune.
The writer is cofounder of the Koby Mandell Foundation (kobymandell.org).