Settlers & green vs. red lines
As someone who lives far away in the Far-East, and amongst ‘Goyim’, I am often asked by people about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As one of those who care to know what’s going on there on a daily basis, it is a shock to realize just how confusingly absurd, and ferociously anachronistic the whole story seems to outsiders.
If I take the painstaking effort required to try and explain ‘who is against who’ and why are they fighting, the reply is often “Why can’t they just build the wall on the green line, and be done with it?”
At which point I try to explain who the settlers are, and why etc. etc.
And always, I sheepishly discover that I sound stupid. Does not matter how mythological I get (persecution, the need to be strong, visions of democracy amongst 100 Million Arabs), the story simply does not hold water.
That is why it was refreshing to read Bradley Burston’s latest blog entry on Haaretz.
Not that I agree with convergence, I think we should get out of there. Period. But that is my opinion. I’m aware others have different opinions. The point is that some of them are saner.
Staying in the territories based on biblical decrees of ownership while dehumanizing millions of people; sending your children to school in armored buses while your army shoots at others’ children when they try to go to school themselves – Insane. Pulling out from a dead-end situation – Sane. Not the best solution, and not the most honest or just, but in the right direction.
“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” So said the local prophet, very long time ago (The Buddha). It seems to connect beautifully with the fact the whole world is a narrow bridge, and the main principle is not to be afraid.
No security argument can justify the territories. The difference between 30 km, and 60 km, when it comes to modern warfare, is negligent.
Humongous walls are not exactly my preferred view, but if they are built in the right place, where we have no argument, legal or otherwise with neighbors and the world, they could well be the pesek-zman both sides need to recover and forgive. That means not building it in the most strategic way, or the most land-greedy, but the most humanistic. Cutting olive groves give us no security, and ferments more than just olive-oil…
The biggest mistake the Palestinians have made is not to adopt Ahimsa, which is the Sanskrit term for non-violence in the Yogi code. Had they done that, no Israeli government could have withstood the pressure to compromise. Arafat was no Gandhi, who said “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. But where are our wise elders?
Our biggest mistake is that we rely on Palestinian ignorance and anger. The world says NO to Hamas. What sort of a resounding YES would it say to sincere efforts by the occupying side to withdraw? What sort of results would we get if we blocked their tax repayments, and then send them enough food and medicine to ensure a modicum of decency?
But who am I kidding? An Israeli leader, with the balls to challenge the entrenched and devastating model of 21st century Sabre; the one who get the play the Chosen One, the victim, AND the war hero all at the same time.
This is too heady a mix to give up for the humility of the peacemaker, and thus we are ‘chosen’ for struggle long due to move into reconciliatory phase.