No Better Birthday Present for Israel

by Gordon Haas

“One thing more deafening then the sirens in Israel when a rocket is fired is the world’s silence,” said Israeli Ambassador Ron Prossor, calling on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the Security Council on April 4 to condemn recent attacks on Israel.

This statement is so true and continues to stay with me. Despite the recent Operation Pillar of Defense peace agreements, Gaza terrorists have restarted firing rockets and mortar shells at Israeli civilians and cities. More than 12 rockets have been fired over the past week. According to the Israel government, two of the rockets landed near the Israeli town of Sderot just as children were making their way to school for their first time since the Passover holiday. Yet where is the public outcry? This Stand With Us comic says it well:

It is with this in mind that we are hopeful that the efforts of the US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in Israel this week, will restart peace talks. On April 8, he met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders and with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and President Shimon Peres.

After his meeting with Peres, Kerry said in a statement that he saw “a road ahead” to a two-state solution. “It has been expressed by your leaders and others for years that people believe in the possibility of the two-state solution. I am convinced there is a road forward…I would say to everyone that I have no illusions about the difficulties…we’ve seen them. But you have to believe in the possibilities to be able to get there. You and I believe in them and I’m convinced there is a road ahead.”

There is no more urgent issue than to restart the peace talks at this critical time. We urge all sides of the Israel advocacy spectrum to do all they can to encourage both the Palestinians and the Israelis to come to the peace table without preconditions.

As Israel celebrates its 65th birthday, I can think of no better birthday present.

Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, has contributed so much to the world especially in the areas of technology, the environment, and humanitarian aid. To celebrate her birthday, the CRC and JCC of Central NJ are co-sponsoring the screening of Israel Inside: How A Small Nation Makes A Big Difference on April 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the JCC. A discussion with Gil Lainer, Israeli Consul for Public Affairs, will take place following the movie. We hope you can join us.

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