It's in our hands to put an end to bloodshed
Op-ed: Israel's outgoing president and president-elect call on Jews and Arabs to stop violence and incitement and believe in their ability to live together.
Shimon Peres, Reuven Rivlin
Published: 07.07.14, 12:15
"Cursed is he who says: Revenge!" wrote poet Hayim Nahman Bialik. Cursed is the ruining, destroying revenge, which is painful for the sake of pain and harms innocent people.
A national struggle does not justify acts of terror. Acts of terror do not justify revenge. Revenge does not justify destruction, plunder and desolation. Even in the face of the rage and frustration, the violence and the pain, things can be done differently. Things must be done differently.
At the sound of the now silent cries of Shelly, Naftali, Gil-Ad, Eyal and Mohammed – our children – no one should remain silent here. They cried out, and we will cry out on their behalf.
In the State of Israel there is no difference between blood and blood. The democratic State of Israel sanctifies the moral right to life and the equal right each person has to be different. The murder of a boy or a girl, Jewish or Arab, is an unacceptable act.
Murderers' traces will not be blurred, there will be no cover-up and things will not be swept under the rug. The criminals who murder and take human life will be caught and punished with the full severity of the law.
We have the choice: To give in to the destructive world view that the racists and extremists are placing in front of us, or to fight it to the point of total elimination; to give in to wild and brutal Muslim or Jewish terror – or to put an end to it in every way possible.
We are allowed to argue. We even have to argue. We, all of us, have all the ways to express our pain, our opinion and our world view. But incitement is not the way. Collective accusation is not a solution.
It is our duty to stop the journey of incitement. We must understand that we have no other way but to live together. The bloodshed will only stop when we all realize that we have not been sentenced to live together, but destined to live together. Any hesitation or compromise on this issue will lead to deterioration which could be disastrous not just to our life together, but to our actual life.
The history of our people has taught us that words can kill. We are now turning to each and every citizen in our country: Respect the law and watch what you say. At this time we must not get dragged into incitement which will lead us to a slope of hatred and animosity – that is not our way.
We aspire to live in peace between us and to allow our neighbors to live in peace. We must be a nation united in its restraint and style.
These days, of the month of Ramadan and ahead of the three-week Bein Hametzarim period, should be days of tolerance and construction, not days of destruction. We call on each and every one of us – whether Arab or Jewish – to stop.
This is the time to choose the joint way. This is the time to find what unites us and not what divides us. This is the time to believe in our ability to live here together, on this land.
We have no other option, we have no other land. It's time to prevent the next bloodshed.
It's in our hands.