“I must carry out this difficult and bloody operation, I must cut off limbs in order to save the body!”
Israel has chopped off quite a few limbs already. But there are more to be chopped off. And the question is not how many will die, how many will be thrown out of their homes, but how many can be saved. That diplomatic triage is the bloody rationale of peace.
Rabin warned that if Israel did not accept an autonomous territory, then it would be forced to accept a state. Peres warned that if Israel did not accept a state in Gaza and the West Bank, it would lose Jerusalem. Sharon warned that if Israel didn’t accept the expulsion of the Jews of Gaza, it would lose everything up to the ’67 borders. Olmert warned that if Israel didn’t accept the partition of Jerusalem, it would lose the entire city.
Israel accepted most of these things and each of the terrible losses it sought to avert came about anyway, not naturally, but because of these prior concessions. The autonomous territory paved the way for a state. The loss of Gaza and the West Bank made Jerusalem next on the schedule.
And now, the Priests of Peace warn that if Israel doesn’t accept a deal that will be based on the ’67 borders and partition Jerusalem, it will be forced to accept a one-state solution that will destroy the country.
Or as Obama put it, “Given the demographics west of the Jordan River, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.” Another way of putting it, a more honest way, is give me what I want or you will be destroyed.
A fool could see what the next step is, but the Priests of Peace do not allow the wise men of Chelm into their meetings. The Rumkowskis and the Kastners do not want any distractions in their diplomatic operating rooms while they are performing surgery on the Jewish State.
Like Rumkowski, a series of Israeli Prime Ministers arrived at the conclusion that they would have to take a stiff drink and then take upon themselves the task of carrying out the decree. The surgeries have yet to lead to a healthy Israel vigorously limping along while waving to the State of Palestine across the way, which has its missing limb. But the Priests of Peace promise that with enough rites, enough incense, enough smoke, enough children carved up and their entrails examined for promising signs of peace, the day will come.
Take a walk back to the Lodz Ghetto in September and listen.
“I tried everything I knew to get the bitter sentence cancelled,” Rumkowski tells the crowd. “When it could not be cancelled, I tried to lessen the sentence. Only yesterday I ordered the registration of nine-year-old children. I wanted to save at least one year – children from nine to ten. But they would not yield. I succeeded in one thing – to save the children over ten. Let that be our consolation in our great sorrow.”
There are our leaders who return from Nazi HQ or the Wye Plantation to inform their people that at least they saved the ten-year-olds. All it took was a willingness to give up the children under the age of ten. They saved the larger settlements, they tell us. They saved Jerusalem. They saved Israel. They saved something. And all they had to do to get it was to give up everything.
When Rumkowski declared, “I must carry out this difficult and bloody operation”, he stopped being one of the ghetto Jews and became, for a little while, a Nazi. A triage of this sort is the death of the soul. When you take it upon yourself to decide which of your own people should die at the hands of the enemy for the greater good, you take on the murderer’s perspective. You begin to think like the enemy.
When Israeli leaders sit down to the territorial triage of diplomacy and begin contemplating which Israelis should be thrown out of their homes, which parts of Israel to surrender and how many dead are acceptable for the sake of peace, then they begin to think like the international diplomats and cease to think like Israelis.