Television has the Emmys. Movies have the Oscars. And theater has the Tonies. So the question becomes what shall we name the best acting award that should be presented to the deserving participants at the Annapolis Peace Summit? Or even more important, who will win the award?
What is happening at Annapolis? A peace summit for the Palestinians and Israel will take place possibly at the end of November. The goal is to establish a permanent peace agreement between the two parties. And based on past performances, what we need for this summit is a set of awards for the best actors/actresses. History tells us that such awards will be warranted. For example, it seems that Israel put on the best performance at the last peace meeting known as the Roadmap For Peace. After that peace summit, Israel showed its true colors by conducting fatal raids on Palestinians whom Israel claimed were militants—calling the victims militants excuses Israel from any accountability. These raids took place despite the fact violence had dropped significantly.
The best acting award at the peace summit prior to the Roadmap meetings is contested. Some claim that Israel gave the Palestinians everything they wanted and Arafat walked. Uri Avnery, however, says that the best acting award should go to Israeli Prime Minister Barak for walking out on Arafat as Arafat wanted to continue to negotiate.1 So to be fair, we will call it a tie.
So who will win the best acting award at Annapolis? Who will be best at pretending to want peace? Here is what to look for.
First, the best actor will sincerely claim to want peace. The sincerity could be overwhelming. But after all, it can’t be called acting without sincerity. So then how do we know when one’s party’s apparent passion for peace is merely a performance?
Second, those who are pretending to want peace must either deny or forget any past wrongdoing. Confessing sin, after all, might imply regret for past actions and a desire to make amends by changing one’s behavior. When one does not admit their sins, then there is no reason to change. And without change, there will be no peace.
So for example, will the Palestinians apologize for conducting suicide bombings that slaughter innocent Israelis? Will the Palestinians say they are sorry for not recognizing the Jews’ historic ties to the land and for not acknowledging the Jews’ need for a homeland because of the horrific anti-Semitism suffered in Europe? Will Israel apologize for their “conquerors keepers, losers weepers” approach to the Occupied Territories? Will Israel apologize for continuing to confiscate land and for sorely oppressing the Palestinians? Will Israel apologize for a kind of zionism that only thinks of itself and forgets that Palestinians are equal? And will Israel ask for forgiveness for conducting state terrorist attacks against the Palestinians? And will the U.S. apologize for acting as a Toys R Us for the military weapons used to kill people?
Third, the best actor will show more interest in partisanship than principle. So if the Palestinians are to be the best actors at Annapolis, then they must only be concerned when Palestinians are attacked and their land is taken. If Israel is to be the best actor then they will only object to the violence of suicide bombers and missile attacks from either Hezbollah or Hamas. And if the U.S. is to be the best actor, then we will take a similar approach that Israel takes.
So far, we do have a leader for best actor/actress at Annapolis based on what has been said in the press. A little while ago, a U.S. official said on TV that the last Israeli-Lebanon conflict was due to the thousands of missiles that Hezbollah fired at Israel. Of course, never mind that as wrong as Hezbollah’s missile attacks were, they were in response to Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians. And btw, despite killing approximately 1,000 Lebanese, Israel failed to either win against Hezbollah or to rescue the 2 Israelis who were kidnapped by Hezbollah. And though the Hezbollah kidnapping was wrong and caused many Lebanese to suffer horribly, that too was a response to Israeli actions and policies. And those Israeli actions and policies were a response to previous actions and so on, and son on …
So though we might not know what to call the best acting awards for the participants at the upcoming Annapolis peace summit; because of the suffering that results from such acting, we do know where to put the award. Hopefully, the award will be of a significant size.
1. The Other Israel, pg 41-44