Why Is “Tatbia” (normalization) Between Two Peoples So Difficult?

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YNet Op-ed: As far as many Palestinians are concerned, a public dialogue with Israelis is a false representation of normalcy, yet many Israelis find it difficult to accept this strong opposition. It must not stop us, however, from working together to build immensely important bridges between the two peoples.

As far as many Palestinians are concerned, that public dialogue with Israelis is a false representation of normality—as if both sides share equal strength and as if justice is equally divided between them.

So any cooperation and dialogue between the sides are immediately suspected by many as a normalization attempt and encounter strong opposition from those in the Palestinian society who are working to prevent it—even at the cost of boycotting Israeli peace activists who wish to help them.

The growing discomfort over the unbearable situation was reflected in the growing use of the term “tatbia” (normalization). more …

OpinionNow Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

And the Lord said to her:

“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.”

Two peoples? Why two peoples if the offspring were from the same parents? And these parents kept Abraham’s instructions concerning marriage in the family line, and not with the surrounding pagan tribes.

Why indeed. Even the names of the twins spelled conflict. Esau has a lose connection with Seir, the early name for Edom (red in Hebrew), the place where Esau would one day dwell.  Jacob (yaaqob in Hebrew means “holder of the heel” or “supplanter”) describes how Jacob had to grab Esau’s heel at birth or possibly be killed if it struck his head; aqoub in Hebrew means to watch from behind.

The conflict between the two peoples was over the birthright to the land of promise. It still is.