The tension with the United States may be bad for us, but it is even more damaging to the prestige of White House. We are sick and tired of it, the Americans have been telling us.
And we should tell them: Then stay home; you don't really have to interfere. We are sick and tired, they say, complaining of a stalemate and the absence of progress, and of the Israeli Government's not giving the Palestinians whatever it is they want.
And we should tell them: We, too, are sick and tired. We are tired of your games of prestige, of your having turned the meeting-the-President issue into something we should pay for with the lives of our children. We are tired of hearing that a mere meeting for the sake of a conversation should be equal to territorial concession.
The meeting is not worth actual concessions, and we should not have to cede anything just for the honour.
We are sick and tired of the Israeli intransigence, they tell us.
We are sick and tired, we should tell them, of constantly giving and getting nothing in return. That was why we replaced the government. To make it stop giving and giving and giving--without getting anything, except respect all around. Because you have proved--yes, you in White House--that when we make genuine concessions, what we get is blood on the streets plus compensation in the form of international kudos.
True, it used to fool us. We were thrilled to see the President of the world's only superpower salute our leaders. We shed a tear, only to discover that it was followed by many more. And then it stopped fooling us.
A right response to the American conduct on the part of the prime minister would be saying: We do not make concessions merely to be loved. As a rule, we will not exchange territory for kudos. We will not cede to murderers what peaceful European states refuse to cede to their stable neighbors.
And something else the prime minister should say: We are sick and tired of these games of prestige. And if you think we will give up a single inch of land to gain access to the President's office, you are terribly wrong. Because we, too, are becoming tired of the whole thing.
This article appeared in the Hebrew-language newspaper Hatzofeh, November 27, 1997