The Irritated American
Ben Gurion: where is your modern-day equivalent? (PHOTO: file)
It’s very simple. It’s a cycle that goes round and round and round without end.
And Israel seems to like it that way.
If they didn’t, they’d cease engaging in the enraging behavior that has become their modus operandi for decades now.
Not once in all the years and years of peace brokering attempts by third parties has Israel ever stopped settlement building and expansion in the Occupied Territories–that is, the West Bank. This despite the begging and imploring to do so by any number of American presidents and leaders from around the civilized world.
Yet it doesn’t stop. There is no shortage of space in Israel “proper”– that is, the land that has been claimed by Israel as its official boundary . . . and that any Palestinians who lived in (and then fled from) those boundaries prior to the formation of the state in the 1940’s have no claim, regardless of house keys, land deeds, money paid, etc.
Yet despite this lack of anything near overpopulation in Israel, the religious right and “Hilltop Youth” in the country are determined to expand the country…heading out into the West Bank and building homes in isolated areas on strategic hilltops, and expanding existing illegal settlements to encroach even further into ancient Palestinian properties, farms, orchards, and the like.
And since the political leadership is petrified of the religious hardline in a country founded upon religious identity, this illegal expansion is rarely confronted. Thus, Palestinian property is encroached upon, orchards stolen, farms bulldozed–all for no purpose but for the excitement of religious adventure and reliving biblical tales.
Creating, with each stroke, hordes of displaced, naturally enraged Palestinians. Most of the rage has little to do with Israelis being Jewish–they could be Hindu, they could be Buddhist, they could be Christian, they could be Muslim: the rage is about theft, of about displacement, of being treated like dirt in your own land by folks who have no ethnic, genetic connection to the land but for their belief in religious scripture.
Over the past week, a horrible and disgustingly bloody attack was unleashed in Israel by vengeance-minded Palestinians, who attacked worshippers in a synagogue with handguns and meat cleavers.
The point is this: an awful and law-violating retribution is being wrought against the families of the attackers . . . mothers, fathers, little brothers and sisters in elementary school, and the like. It’s a policy brought back into vogue despite the fact that it is a clear breaking of International Law: demolishing the homes that the attackers (shot dead on the spot) lived in– with bulldozers and wrecking equipment, and leaving those completely innocent relatives homeless as punishment.
This is a draconian form of vengeance that Israel formally ceased ten years ago, considering it far too severe, unjust, and completely counterproductive. All it does is instill a murderous rage in a whole new group of people, and radicalizes them. If these innocent family members didn’t hate Israel prior to the razing, you can be sure that they will be hellbent on rage and revenge afterwards. It’s as certain as 2 + 2= 4.
When Israel conducts military operations in the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinian people suffer incredible percentiles of collateral damage. The number of women and children who die (in addition to militants) from shelling and air and rocket attacks are outrageously disproportionate to the tiny casualties on the Israeli side. When Israel commits crimes against innocents, there is no Palestinian military allowed to exist–thus, nobody can go into Israel to kill the killer, and then make the killer’s family homeless by demolishing the family dwelling.
Instilling this sense of extreme rage, injustice, and total military impotence in a people is formally and officially the Manufacturing of a Terrorist. There are no two ways about it.
Once upon a time, Israel understood this. They grasped the concept, and put the practice to a stop ten years ago.
Now, after the synagogue attack last week, and a couple of similar attacks in September and October, Israel has been attacking innocent families once again after killing perpetrators on the spot of the original crime.
This has got to stop, in the name of humanity and all that is decent. All it does is give Israel the reason they’re looking for to stay in the West Bank–for “security reasons.” It doesn’t deter terrorism; it multiplies it exponentially.
David ben Gurion, founder of Israel and it’s first Prime Minister, said to Nahum Goldmann, the president of the World Jewish Congress:
If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country … We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?
Someday, another wise Israeli leader with that level of understanding will come around and solve this conundrum with this kind of empathy, purging of national guilt with a sense of a new beginning, and finally conciliation. We desperately need him–sooner rather than later.