Rivlin: Peace ‘Almost Impossible’ Under Current Circumstances

YERUSHALAYIM -
President Reuven Rivlin Photo by Mark Neyman/GPO
President Reuven Rivlin. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

In a speech Monday morning, President Reuven Rivlin laid out his vision of where Israel is, and where it is going, given the ongoing terror wave that Israelis are facing. And that vision is a relatively pessimistic one. “Not forever will we live by the sword, but forever we will have to live with the sword,” certainly until the Arabs are ready to make peace.

And that could take a long time. Rivlin, speaking at an event sponsored by the Besheva media group (publishers of the Arutz Sheva site) said that anyone who thought that time would wear down Arab opposition to the State of Israel in the Middle East had better think again. “It seems to me that the ‘Arab Spring’ put an end to that illusion. The anger in the Arab world, the tidal wave of the Islamic State across the region — including within Israel’s borders — along with the removal of the sanctions against Iran which threatens to attack Israel, destroyed the chances in the current reality of widening the circle of peace.

“The assumption that in these circumstances Israel can achieve peace with the Palestinians through negotiations with the head of the Palestinian Authority, while Hamas is constantly undermining him, seems almost impossible,” Rivlin said.

“Terror is a tactic, a tactic of fear, of threats, and of murder. The root of terrorism is the terrible hatred our enemies have for us. A hostility that is the result of among other things the vitriolic incitement that also exists within the Palestinian Authority, — a hostility that recruits hatred, children aged 13 and 15, a hostility that targets the Jewish people, but makes no distinction between an Israeli who is Jewish and one who is not, between a civilian or a soldier, between a girl and an elderly man or expectant woman. Of course we must bring an end to the terrorism, but we must not forget the hostility which is very difficult to end. Only ending this can bring an end to that,” Rivlin continued.

“I know that the commanders and soldiers of the IDF, the Defense Minister and all the security services tirelessly analyze each scenario, and their perceptions are not set or not fixed. The IDF is not limited, its hands are not tied, and it is determined to win the battle. The IDF is an army that learns, that draws conclusions, a military which investigates, and develops new methods, and constantly examines its positions. The IDF and the security services are not afraid of having their positions challenged, nor of thorough public debate, nor of criticism from a range of opinions.

“The current struggle is not a struggle of the settlements alone, nor just of the Right, nor even of the Israeli government alone,” Rivlin added. “There is no ‘them and us.’ It is all of our struggle — this is an ongoing struggle of the State of Israel. We are fighting for our independence as a people, for our moral rights in the land of our forefathers, and we cannot let our guard down in the face of those who attack us.”