Israel Prize winner and renowned singer and actor, Yehoram Gaon, has spoken out about the latest wave of Arab terror, asserting it has reinforced his understanding that the conflict is really over Palestinians' opposition to Israel's existence.
"I've been here long enough to look back and say honestly that there were attempts to establish genuine peace. There were enough prime ministers who tried. There have been enough negotiations," the "Kazablan" and "Operation Thunderbolt" star told Israel Hayom.
According to Gaon, while Israel is also to blame for the lack of an agreement with the Palestinians, most of the blame lies with them.
"We have been living for years with the feeling that if we return these territories or others, a tremendous peace will be established here and we'll drink coffee in Damascus. But in light of recent events, I've begun to realize that it's much more complex, deep, rooted and most importantly - not a story of territory."
"When I open the internet and see a Palestinian girl holding a knife bigger them her arm and body, swinging it over her head and telling the interviewer her dream is to slaughter a Jew - it's a blow to me. I sit and wonder, is it possible make peace with someone who has this education? That it's just a passing phase? I can't help but be depressed when a 13-year-old with a knife stabs a boy the same age."
"How is it possible to reach an understanding between parties if this is the education there?" Gaon asked. "What kind of man is he expected to become - a child nursed from age 13 with the thought he needs to slaughter Jews."
"I lived in Jerusalem before the IDF's conquest of the city, and I remember well the families slaughtered in the Jewish Corridor, before there was a dispute over territories," Gaon explained.
"This all leads me to wonder why a Palestinian state was not established in those areas at the time. Ben-Gurion received a small strip along the the coast and established a state, simply because he wanted to establish a state. Why didn't they establish their own state? After all, they've had many opportunities."
The reason, according to Gaon, is that the Palestinians do not want a state that lies next to a Jewish one: "These latest events make me think, in fact, that the other side's will is we simply not be here at all, no matter what we do."
"It all started when the first Jews arrived here, over a century ago, to redeem the land and establish a settlement. Then began the struggle. It is a religious struggle in all aspects."
"Jerusalem is a place where, according to all faiths and religious, the end will come. The Jews believe the messiah will appear there, the Christians believe Jesus will be revealed again and Muslims believe there will be a bloody war, as written in the Koran. My own grandfather is buried on the Mount of Olives with his feet toward the Gate of Mercy, in order to be among the first to be with the messiah."
"The problem is that for Muslims the land of Israel is a Waqf and everything that was ever occupied by a Muslim is holy ground and you cannot give it up. No Arab Muslim would sign a document giving up the right of return, because whoever does that won't live one more day on this earth. A seven-year-old from the Shuafat refugee camp runs around from infancy with a key of 'his occupied house in Yafo' around his neck. This is [their] education."
Gaon stressed that claims the "Jews are occupying the Temple Mount" are utter nonsense.
"The Palestinians are simply public relations champions," he noted. "They saw that the millions of refugees who fled from Syria, and other countries in the region, to Europe because of the internal conflicts between Sunnis, Shiites, ISIS and other groups, are completely uninterested in the problem of the Palestinians. They saw the whole world rush to deal with these refugees and find solutions for them, and they [the Palestinians] needed to draw attention to their own problem."
"So they go up and began to cry out that we're occupying the Temple Mount, that this is explosive and dangerous, that it can motivate millions of Muslims around the world. This is nonsense, given that Israeli is the only democratic country [in the Middle East] that protects Christian and Muslim holy places, in Jerusalem. Israel has great respect for all of Jerusalem's holy places, even more than Hamas, who during Operation Protective Edge fired missiles toward Jerusalem."
"This is a century-old conflict," Gaon emphasized, "and they mustn't confuse us and say it's over holy places and territories, because I am in favor of returning territories and in favor of quiet. This conflict is over our existence. And here is the big problem, the great sadness and the great fracture."
"Today we walk around the streets of Jerusalem and other cities, and we no longer feel longing or a dream. The building stands, but it lacks the spirit to fill it. Our spirit is extinguished and that's the main problem. Our leadership must find something to unite us that is not just fear, conflict and violence."