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The Four-Letter Word

By       Message Uri Avnery       (Page 1 of 4 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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From Gush Shalom

From commons.wikimedia.org: Israel Palestine peace. {MID-137033}
Israel Palestine peace.
(Image by commons.wikimedia.org)
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When a Briton or American speaks about a "four-letter word," he means a vulgar sexual term, a word not to be mentioned in polite society.

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In Israel we also have such a word, a word of four letters. A word not to mention.

This word is "Shalom," peace.

(In Hebrew, "sh" is one letter, and the "a" is not written.)

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For years now this word has disappeared from intercourse (except as a greeting). Every politician knows that it is deadly. Every citizen knows that it is unmentionable.

There are many words to replace it. "Political agreement." "Separation." "We are here and they are there." "Regional arrangement." To name a few.

And here comes Donald Trump and brings the word up again. Trump, a complete ignoramus, does not know that in this country it is taboo.

He wants to make peace here. SH-A-L-O-M. So he says. True, there is not the slightest chance that he really will make peace. But he has brought the word back into the language. Now people speak again about peace. Shalom.

PEACE? WHAT is peace?

There are all kind of peaces. Starting from a little peace, a baby-peace, to a large, even mighty peace.

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Therefore, before opening a serious debate about peace, we must define what we mean. An intermission between two wars? Non-belligerence? Existence on different sides of walls and fences? A prolonged armistice? A Hudna (in Arabic culture, an armistice with a fixed expiry date)?

Something like the peace between India and Pakistan? The peace between Germany and France -- and if so, the peace before World War I or the peace prevailing now? The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, or the Hot Peace between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump?

There are all kinds of peace situations. What kind of Israeli-Palestinian peace are we talking about? The peace between a horse and its rider? The peace between a people of masters and a people of slaves? Something like the peace between the South African Apartheid regime and the Bantustans it had created for the Blacks? Or a quite different kind of peace, a peace between equals?

It's about this peace I would like to speak. Not "real" peace. Not "perfect" peace. Not "complete" peace.

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Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the (more...)
 

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