This coming Saturday night a bizarre rally will convene on Kibbutz Zikim in the northern Negev, which will call for a different dialogue with the neighbors from the Gaza Strip.
Not far from there, in Sderot, in the summer of 2005, I appeared at a mass rally against the disengagement. The crowd that will gather this time will probably differ from the one that enthusiastically received the words of the alien that I was at the time, the writer who came from the left. None of the knitted-skullcap wearers, or the residents of the region who demonstrated against uprooting the Gush Katif settlements, will be there.
The rally at Kibbutz Zikim, which was initiated by a group called Kol Aher (A Different Voice), is raising a banner with the following slogan: "Gaza-Sderot: Now let's talk." I assume that leftists from all over the country will be there, as well as a handful of local people who don't believe that the Arabs understand only force, not even Hamas. It will be a rally whose participants, you will probably say, don't know where they're living. Don Quixotes at best, not to say a fifth column or traitors.
I did not change my spots, as I'm accused of doing, and will be accused in future. Then and now the same voice is speaking from within me. The voice that does not believe in the language of force. The disengagement, which I opposed at the time, came from the same belligerent school of thought that gives rise to acts of revenge and glorious military operations. The disengagement reflected violence in the full sense of the word. It contained not a single gesture of reconciliation, but on the contrary, only uprooting and destruction. If they would at least have left the settlements in place as a gesture, as a way to stretch out a hand in peace, that would have been enough. But the way it was done, with a total lack of logic, is it any surprise that among the ruins left by the bulldozers, squads of saboteurs moved in, whose goal is to sow destruction and terror? It was to be expected, when we don't switch to another language.
I believe that there is another language. Like any believer anywhere, I want to believe. For lack of choice I want to believe that another language exists, and I believe that the desire to speak a different language will in the final analysis also lead to a different situation. Every day billions of people go to churches, mosques and synagogues to pray. Whom do they pray to? Do they have any proof of God's existence? Of course not. But they want to believe. Nobody is surprised at that desire, whereas they are surprised at ours. Nobody comes with complaints about that, but they do come with complaints to us, the supposed defeatists.
I believe in another language just as much as people believe in God. Sowing destruction, as justified as it may be under the circumstances, and violence, as justified as it may be under the circumstances, will of necessity cause greater destruction and greater violence. But we still have not arrived at the age of recognition. We have not yet been graced with a leader who will decide to use another language. We aren't even close to gaining a leader who won't be afraid to admit that a belligerent solution is an illusion for the most part, an illusion of accomplishment.
But that doesn't change the fact that as time passes, we are learning again and again that the accomplishments of war have no positive effect. The only result of every military operation is a long-term destructive influence, which is caused by the use of force.
That's why it's important to know that somewhere there is a tiny minority preserving the ember of sanity. It's important to know that somewhere people are gathering who think and speak differently.