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Latin Patriarchate — Jerusalem: Perspectives on the Conflict between Palestinians and Israelis

  • Some people insist on the necessity of issuing declarations that condemn violence. Condemning violence is necessary. But to take away its cause, i.e. the occupation, which produces it is more efficient. In the same way, to call Palestinian violence terrorism and Israeli violence legitimate defense, renders futile any declaration or condemnation and makes impossible all cessation of violence. Therefore, better than condemnations of violence, what we need is an action which puts an end to all form of violence, by putting an end to its primary cause, the occupation.
  • Peace, mutual recognition and security

  • What do the Palestinians want? They want their freedom, their land and their independent state. What do the Israelis want? They want their security inside secure borders, protected from all attacks or threats. The two requirements are interdependent. Palestinian independence, after the end of the occupation, will bring the cessation of all violence, and hence the security of Israel.

    But, instead of putting an end to the occupation, the Israeli government maintains it and follows ways - reprisals, and, recently, the declared war - which just lead to the opposite of security, i.e. to more Palestinian reaction and violence, and hence to more Israeli insecurity. Oppression and humiliations imposed upon the Palestinian people can only produce violent Palestinian reactions that threaten the security of the Israeli people and fill its soul with fear and hatred.

  • If the Israeli government wants truly security, the violent repression that it has used until now is not the good way. In fact, its violence has only given birth to new forms of Palestinian violence. Therefore, the security of the Israeli people remains threatened. Therefore, it should embark on the other way, which surely will produce security: to declare its sincere will to end the occupation and to start, as soon as possible, serious and rapid talks in order to put an end to it.
  • Questions

  • Why have the Israelis still not decided to make peace? Indeed, making peace is in their hands. They alone can put an end to the occupation, and hence open the way towards peace. Why have the Israelis refused until now to give back to the Palestinians the Territories occupied in 1967, and which are only 5000 square km or 22% of the entirety of historic Palestine, of which the State of Israel today has 78%?
  • a)Is Israel still preserving the dream of having all Palestinian territories, but having them empty, without Palestinians? After one hundred years of conflict, it is time to realize that this dream is an impossibility. Today, three million Palestinians live in the Occupied Territories. Israel must accept to deal with this living Palestinian reality and should not think any more of suppressing it or confining it in any disguised form of occupation or apartheid system.

    b)Israel does not trust the Palestinians? It fears that they will not be able, once they have their independent state, to be peaceful neighbors? This supposition is unfounded. Manifestations of Palestinian hostility today are not due to inborn hostility against the Israeli people, but rather an expression of the resistance of the Palestinian people to what it considers as tentative to dispossess it or to send him from his land. Once the war is over, the hostility will be over.

    Looking towards the future

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