Opinion: Palestinians would die for the Israeli kind of lockdown

Palestinians argue with an Israeli soldier as Israeli near the village of Qusra, in the West Bank, on March 3, 2020. 
Palestinians argue with an Israeli soldier as Israeli near the village of Qusra, in the West Bank, on March 3, 2020. (photo: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)
A surreal situation is unfolding revealing many ironies not lost on Palestinians.

By Gideon Levy | Haaretz | Mar 19, 2020

The irony of fate: For the first time, Israel is tasting some of the hell it has been dishing out for decades to its subjects.

The heavens have darkened and everything is closing in around us. Only fate, God or the shaper of history are laughing at us from up high, a bitter, ironic laughter. The irony of fate: For the first time, Israel is tasting some of the hell it has been dishing out for decades to its subjects. With alarming speed, Israelis have entered a reality known to every Palestinian child.

Even the terms have been borrowed from the occupation: Israel is on its way to a lockdown, the army is taking over hotels, the Shin Bet security service is taking over our cellphones, and the Border Police and its checkpoints are right around the corner. It’s no coincidence that Haaretz’s military analyst has been recruited to serve as the coronavirus analyst. In a day or two Tel Aviv will resemble Jenin and Israel will be like the Gaza Strip. What is routine there has become a frightening dystopia here.

Of course, the differences are many. What for us constitutes the end of the world would for them be an easing of the closure, with the pandemic looming over everyone. Still, we can’t but marvel at the similarities. First, the state of siege. The gates are practically locked. No one leaves or enters.

Think of Gaza for 14 consecutive years. Young people who have never seen a passenger plane, even adults who have never been inside an airport, not even dreaming of a vacation abroad. Israelis have difficulties with life without Ben-Gurion Airport even for a moment. Gazans don’t know about a life that includes trips abroad. Where’s that? What does it look like?

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