S Aufrecht

This Was The Day - Gush Shalom - Israeli Peace Bloc

August 18th, 2005 - a milestone in the history of the State of Israel.

This was the day on which the settlement enterprise in this country went into reverse for the first time.

...

At the beginning of the settlement activity, during one of my clashes with Golda Meir in the Knesset, I told her: "Every settlement is a land-mine on the road to peace. In due course you will have to remove these mines. And let me tell you, Ma'am, as a former soldier, that the removal of mines is a very unpleasant job indeed."

If I am angry, profoundly sad and frustrated today, it is because of the price we all have paid for this monstrous "enterprise". The thousands killed because of it, Israelis and Palestinians. The hundreds of billions of Shekels poured down the drain. The moral decline of our state, the creeping brutalization, the postponement of peace for dozens of years. Anger with the demagogues of all stripes that started and continued this March of Folly, out of stupidity, blindness, greed, intoxication with power or sheer cynicism. Anger over the suffering and destruction wrought on the Palestinians, whose land and water were stolen, whose houses were destroyed and whose trees were uprooted - all for the "security" of these settlements.

... the settlers had lost the crucial battle for public opinion when their real purpose was revealed: to impose by force a faith-based, messianic, racist, violent, xenophobic regime, with its back to the world at large.

But most importantly, this was the day when a new chance was born for achieving peace in this tortured land.

A great opportunity. Because the Israeli democracy has won a resounding victory. Because it has been proven that settlements can be dismantled without the sky falling. Because the Palestinians have a leadership that wants peace. Because it has been proven that even the radical Palestinian organizations hold their fire when Palestinian public opinion demands it. —Uri Avnery