by Yossi Sarid
Shalom friends and my young friends,
I was invited to participate in an evening in your honour because of the essays that you have written about peace between our two peoples. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, I was unable to attend.
I had intended to say to you on your festive occasion that you are young men and women after my own heart; if there were more like you then all our lives here would change without recognition. Most Israelis and most Palestinians want to live a normal life, and a normal life is a life of good neighbourliness; it is not a life of never-ending confrontation. And the end of the confrontation will come, must come, when two states are established between the [Mediterranean] sea and the Jordan river, and Israel will gather itself within its known and recognised borders, and Jerusalem will be divided into two cities - a capital for Israel and a capital for Palestine.
All the countries in the world - with the exception of very few - live within a reality of peace; all the more so in the case of democratic countries. There is no reason that one place on the whole planet, only this place of ours, is the exception, the abnormal. Peace is the rule; conflict is the exception. And the law is that the exception straightens out and becomes as the rule. And there is no doubt but that it will happen here too: it is not a divine power that causes the quarrel between us; nor is it a curse from heaven. The future depends on people; it depends primarily on you, who have all your future before you; you who will replace the existing leaders in Palestine and in Israel.
Young people have a tremendous power to bring about change, but they are not always aware of it, or of its strength. Young people bring far more influence to bear on older ones than the older generations bring on the younger - this is a truth that you aren't told just in case you use it to its full advantage, in case you exert your influence more forcefully. I am revealing this truth to you, because it is only through joining hands that the objective will be achieved.
I have read your essays - those that won awards and those that did not - and I found them all beautiful. They are beautiful because they do not try to embellish reality, but get to grips with it. People who are in despair or indifferent, shrivelled or corrupt, who have grown weary and get carried along by the tide - none of these will deliver the good tidings [of peace]. You will, because you are young and unspoiled, because you have your strength and you also have your dream.
Yours, with great empathy