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September 17, 1993 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-09-17

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Walking On The Wild Side

Palestinians celebrated in East Jerusalem. But the mood in West Jerusalem was more
subdued as Israelis took a leap of faith. INA FRIEDMAN ISRAEL CORRESPONDENT

J erusalem — "Take a
Walk on the Wild Side"
was the first song Israel's
Army Radio played
Tuesday morning — the
proverbial morning after
— during the musical break
in its early news roundup.
Like all the other symbols,
metaphors and subtexts that
have filled the papers, air-
waves and streets the past
two weeks, this one, too,
struck a chord.
For the experiment that
Israelis and Palestinians are
about to embark upon — first
in Gaza and Jericho, then
gradually through most of
the rest of the West Bank —
is quite an adventure, and no
little risk.
And it seems that the
implications of the change
are just now beginning to
sink in.
To the degree that
Jerusalem is a microcosm of
the broader landscape of
Israel and the territories, it
can be said that true recon-

ciliation between the two
peoples may lie somewhere
down the road. But for now,
communication has yet to get
going between them.
There was no meeting of
Israelis and Palestinians on
the streets of their shared
city last Monday. While East
Jerusalem was jammed with
crowds of celebrants march-
ing in processions, chanting
slogans, beating drums,
playing bagpipes, and above
all waving the
Palestinian flag,
on the west side
of town the
streets were
Even the usual
mid-evening traf-
fic jam seemed to
have evaporated.
If Israelis drew
satisfaction from
the signing of the
agreement with
the PLO, they
were doing so in

the privacy of their Above, Jubilant PLO
The fact is that
homes, each family
supporters chant
strange things are
before its own televi- slogans in support of happening in the
Yassir Arafat, and
sion set.
Middle East, and
Later in the below, Israeli Foreign it's difficult for
Minister Shimon
evening, youngsters
people to keep
helped engineer
from Peace Now held Peres
up with the pace of
the peace proposals.
a celebration in
change required
Menorah Park, at the heart
of them.
of downtown West
"This is a country that,
Jerusalem. But only a hand-
unfortunately, has spent too
ful of Israelis — Knesset
much time preparing for war
members from Labor and
and not enough time prepar-
Meretz — crossed over to the
ing itself for peace," observed
East to address
Professor Dan Bar-On, head
the tireless rev-
of the Department of
elers gathered
Behavioral Sciences at Ben-
at the New
Gurion University.
Orient House,
"Most Israelis have har-
where they
bored the naive conception
were greeted
that peace would 'break out'
with shouts of
on its own and solve all the
"Shalom" and
nation's problems. We've
completely lacked a realistic
For everyone
understanding that peace
else, the old
will be a gradual process and
borders and
won't even be felt during the
barriers still
transition period from one
seemed as clear
status to another."
and high as
Given the complex psycho-
logical situation, even after

the Washington ceremony
and the "handshake of the
decade," it's not surprising
that the battle for Israeli
public opinion remains in
high gear, with the opposi-
tion pouring cold water on
the agreement at every
"Yitzhak Rabin shook the
hand of Yassir Arafat and
the sky didn't fall," Israel
Television's anchorman
began his post-ceremony
interview with Likud
Chairman Benjamin
"But the sky did fall," Mr.
Netanyahu insisted. "Israel
has suffered a national
humiliation...We are
marching toward a PLO
state and the destruction of
Israel... Every Jew is
appalled by the sight of the
Palestinian flag flying from
the walls of Jerusalem" (a
flag, by the way, featured
prominently on the back-
drop to the interview in the
state-run-television studio).
Shimon Peres, mean-
while, has mocked the
opposition as "men of the
past" who are unable to
assimilate the idea of "rap-
prochement" and "the
building of a new Middle
But between the two poles,
the man of the hour was
unquestionably Yitzhak
Rabin. Fidgety as he stood on
the podium in Washington;
visibly uncomfortable about
his proximity to Arafat;
transmitting every possible

"This is a country
that, unfortunately,
has spent too much
time preparing for
war and not enough
time preparing itself
for peace."

Professor Dan Bor-On

signal that he had been
brought to this ceremony by
the dictates of his head, not

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