Well, this happened:
Organizers of the Bethlehem Walk said Tuesday they have decided to cancel the event following strong protests and threats from Palestinian activists, who objected to the participation of Israelis.
What was the Bethlehem Walk? A coexistence initiative set to include Israelis, Palestinians, and participants from all over the world whose silent march through Bethlehem would ostensibly empower others to “change and acknowledge basic common grounds and sow the seeds of understanding and acceptance.”
However, basic common grounds and sown seeds of understanding and acceptance are, as history continues to show, no match at all for the forces of blind rejection and anti-normalization, which have smothered a peaceful, reasonable initiative in its infancy. Because the Bethlehem Walk would signify even a tacit acknowledgement of Israel’s right to exist, the organizers were intimidated and threatened into canceling the event just days before it was set to happen.
A message posted on the group’s Facebook page sort of explained:
“We, the organizers of the walk, deeply honor and hear clearly the responses of all of you who have been challenged by the walk. Our purpose is not to perpetuate anger nor violence, and not to undermine any view, but to seek to deeply listen to all voices and hear their concerns and needs with the hope of reaching a common ground that makes all of us stand strong in facing and ending all forms of oppression and violence and create a future where true peace, justice, and equality is lived and honored for all and by all.
Therefore, honoring the concerns of each and everyone of you, the walk will not take place at this time as originally planned. We acknowledge the disappointment of our supporters and affirm our faith in the possibility of peace in our troubled land, and our determination to persevere together to that end. We ask you to remain in contact with us, spread the word, and join us in this vision no matter where you are and no matter how you do it.”
What logical leap takes the authors of this statement from the first paragraph to the second, in which it is concluded that the wishes of people who hate the idea of Israel should be honored at the expense of building confidence between people?
This may seem like one small event, predictable and meaningless in the context of everything else, but it is really more than that. At its core, the issue here is rejectionism and the failure to confront those who wish to keep peace from being made because they still seek the destruction of Israel.
More than settlements, more than clumsy leadership, and more than incitement, this has been the biggest obstacle facing Israelis and Palestinians for over six decades now.