Encountering peace: Have we no shame?

Israeli bulldozers demolish the Shepherd Hotel in the Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah to make way for new Israeli settlements, Jan 9, 2011. (photo: Bernat Armangue, AP)
Israeli annexationist interests are a big barrier in quest for peace.

By Gershon Baskin | Jerusalem Post | Jul 24, 2019

What we did, what the State of Israel did, what we do in the name of the Jewish state is becoming pure evil.

As I watched the video of the Israeli soldiers and police blowing up one of the 13 residential buildings demolished this week in the Wadi al-Hummus neighborhood of Sur Bahir in east Jerusalem, I wanted to bury myself in shame. When the building imploded and the soldiers laughed as we heard the screams and cries from the Palestinians who became homeless, my shame turned to pure outrage and the urge to be violent. But I will not step down to that level. I will not be violent. But I will not hold back, I will not forget and I will not forgive. What we did, what the State of Israel did, what we do in the name of the Jewish state is becoming pure evil.

My first thoughts about what I see in the daily reality of east Jerusalem, and the West Bank and Gaza — things such as the Sur Bahir home demolitions; the removal of Palestinians from their homes in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, and the moving in of Jewish settlers in their place; settlement expansion and building at a faster pace than I have seen in many years; unauthorized settlements being built, budgeted and hooked up to Israeli infrastructure; massive police presence all over the West Bank ticketing hundreds of Palestinian cars (not cars of settlers); and the ongoing strangling the Palestinian economy in full coordination with the US government — all of these actions and more are leading to a definite explosion. My thought: Maybe that is exactly what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants? This is the perfect backdrop for Election Day. Could even Netanyahu be so cynical? I thought to myself — this can’t be.

Some of the right-wing politicians have been open and direct about their strategies — they will find ways of encouraging Palestinians to leave their homes and their country. This is what our transportation minister has been saying for years. This is what some of the Likud MKs say and believe. We don’t need Meir Kahane’s followers to force the Palestinians to leave against their will — that is what the government of Israel is carrying out. The policies being implemented on the ground, for years now, are working in that direction. But very few of the Palestinians are actually leaving. The majority of them are staying and they are suffering, and they will not forget or forgive.

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