This guest post was written and posted in Hebrew by Ishay Rosen-Zvi on his Facebook page. It was translated and posted here with his permission and collaboration.
Why are leftists quiet after terrorist attacks in the occupied territories? It seem that the answers are well known: Because it is always and inevitably political (while their dead were still lying in front of them, the parents in the last two murderous attacks spoke about “strengthening our grasp on the Land of Israel”); because it becomes a loyalty test and what do we want with tests; because it demands that you erase the line between who you actually know and who you don’t, and make the whole nation into a “family,” which is the essence of the nationalistic ethos. All of this is correct, but it is not enough. A young girl was murdered, and before that a young boy, both in the flush of youth. Even if I don’t know them, I know someone who knows them. What then prevents me from expressing simple, human empathy? Why do I want to write and yet I am not able to? I asked myself this question often in the past few weeks and I think I understand now: because it demands lying. Plain and simple. Because you have to collude with the make believe that there is no context, that everything is serendipitous, that there is no connection to the larger picture. We are not, of course, dealing in justifications (does one have to even say that?) but, rather, in understanding. And without understanding all that is left is an inexplicable horror and with the famous “Esau hates Jacob” (and both the horror and the tradition are well exploited by those deciding government policy).
If one cannot talk about Dolev, the settlement which was built on Al-Janiya’s lands, and which pushed the farmers off the land, in the “ususal” procedure of a land grab; if one cannot talk about what Bubin Spring (eyn-bubin) was before it became part of the ‘land of springs’ of the region of Benjamin (and this history is even erased in Wikipedia!), that is to say: a watering spring for the farmers of Dir Abezia, in whose land it is found, and that the settlers of Dolev grabbed the land, just as settlers methodically grabbed over sixty five springs in the occupied territories, and now the farmers are prevented from getting close to them (see the detailed report here, and the article by Tzafrir Rinat about making watering springs into tourist sites exclusively for Jews here). If it is forbidden to speak of any of this—it is better not to say anything.
Among the mountains of words which were written after the murder, only two people, as far as I know, courageously pointed to the ongoing and comprehensive legal alienation of the Palestinians in the area: Amira Hass, the fearless journalist, and a Tweet from Dror Etkes, who has kept track of the ongoing alienation in the area for years. What is clear to anybody looking in from outside, that there is a context to these actions, is only found here among the ‘fringe crazies’. Anyone who wants to conduct a conversation on these attacks outside of these fringes, must, in real time, make believe that he or she does not understand what is going on, that the murderous events are happening on another planet and there is no Jewish agency involved. We are always and exclusively, the victims. But in order to play make believe there are enough politicians and news anchors, we are not needed. It is better, thus, to stay silent.
translated by Aryeh Cohen