The act of creating a state, much like creating a work of art, is a process replete with hope that often concludes in the artist’s disappointment.

Like any other state, or man-made creation for that matter, Israel has not embodied the exact hope of its creators. In its short time in existence, it has suffered through poor policies and irreconcilable decisions. Its leaders have been flawed with human passions and beliefs. It has endured the cycles all developing countries experience. In spite of its failings, it has also managed to achieve an array of accomplishments beyond even the hopes of its founders. From barren desert, both metropolises and forests have sprouted. Companies ranging from Intel to Teva Pharmaceuticals have developed business facilities within this small state. It has become a “city upon a hill” for both gay and women’s rights in the Middle East. Advances in fields ranging from medicine to environmental conservation to innovative technology have been birthed and shared globally by the best minds of Israel.

Palestine, in its intangible spirit, will be a state for the Palestinians that shall provide for a multitude of opportunities. Ramallah and Gaza City will follow in the paths of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and become booming technological capitals, constantly producing stunning advancements. The Palestinian people will be able to experience a rational sense of national pride. All those who choose will feel a sense of comfort and safety within Palestine. It will join the ranks of the greatest democracies in the world. Unfortunately, for now this is only a dream.

A Palestinian state today would be marred by a dichotomy of governance ranging from the Palestinian Authority, a moderate actor, to Hamas, a terrorist group that calls for the destruction of Israel and the elimination of the Jewish people. More importantly, there is no united call for peace. There are a majority who simply want to live their lives without threat; sadly, they are silenced by an irrational minority who only want to see blood flowing through the streets. The state would inevitably collapse unto itself; and with it would come the destruction of any hope for a Palestinian future. No artist would deign to create such a work. Nonetheless, there is hope, if we employ the past few months as a jumping board for progress: and not as an anchor.

Let us use this time of coalescence from another war to progress as a global people. Let us engender discussion that does not result in irrational theory, militant outcries, and even deplorable violence. Let us expand our knowledge and our horizons. Let us not rely on the same sources and flawed arguments; expand from hugging Electronic Intifada and The Times of Israel as if they were both gospel. Let us realize that we can unite in the hope that one day Israel and Palestine will benefit from one another. Let today be the day that rationality triumphs over bedlam. Let the day come that the relationship between Israel and Palestine becomes the model for future state relationships.

An artist’s final work will often disappoint; nonetheless, disappointment does not indicate failure. Israel is, and hopefully one day, Palestine, will be, the proof.

Pollack and Jacobs are members of the class of 2016; Fraiman is a member of the class of 2015; Vitrebi is a member of the class of 2017.

  • Hopefully the WSA’s call for divestment from companies that profit from the illegal occupation of the WB will be the first step towards achieving the climate authors hope for. Let’s not put the rhetorical cart before the material horse–our campus needs to be monetarily neutral towards the conflict (and it certainly cannot be invested in actions that have been declared illegal by the international community) before there can be any discussion of a middle ground in terms of the way we talk about the conflict. Divestment is the first step towards that neutrality.
    While I commend the authors for wanting us to escape irrationality, let’s not forget that first of all this irrationality stems from real, material injustice and that, secondly, that we are going to have to agree on what a balanced, rational discourse would look like. What kinds of statements are allowed in our discussion as “rational” and what views are derided for being “bedlam?” I worry that advocates for Israel and advocates for Palestine may have very different ways of making this distinction.

  • Gabriel

    The authors talk about how important a Palestinian state is in order to secure the dignity and freedom of the Palestinian people and then promptly backtrack by saying it “remains a dream” because there is no “united call for peace.” It is true that Hamas is a terrorist organization and an obstacle for peace, but human beings do not forfeit their fundamental rights because some of their leaders adopt wrong-headed positions. The occupations remains an intolerable breach of human rights whether or not the Palestinian leadership is ready to make peace (newsflash: many of them are).

    Secondly, I may have missed it but I don’t remember any united call for peace emanating from Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu recently dismissed reports that he agreed to a palestinian state on the 1967 borders, and his coalition includes parties like Habayit hayehudi that openly disavow palestinian statehood and make the case for an indefinite occupation. Do not try to pretend that extremism is only an issue on the Palestinian side. It afflicts both sides, and its existence shouldn’t obscure the fact that denying people their basic human rights is wrong. Period.