Having read “Walking the Green Line: 48 Years of Occupation” by Nir Baram, I’ve come to see that the settlers are winning. They have control of the Government, the active support of the IDF, and “facts on the ground;” these increasing while I write and you read. They can harass Palestinians at will with no consequences, even set fire to the Church of the Beatitudes by the Kinneret (it seemed likely to me that some Yitzhar youths were responsible) and get away with it. Imagine the response if Arab youths did something similar.
The most enlightened of the settler leaders see a final solution where Palestinians, or Arabs as they are seen, will live in second-class positions, with improvements from the present situation, under the rule of the Jews, similar to the dhimmi status that Jews have had in Arab countries. The less enlightened would have them subjugated and exploited in a manner more like South Africa. The least enlightened would force them to leave or, as some teenager Yeshiva student suggested, eliminate them. These settler children are free to hitchhike with the consent, if not the encouragement of their zealot parents, to show these Arabs who owns this land, “who’s the boss.” As we know, this has led to tragic results, both for three Jewish boys and and an Arab-Israeli child.
Israel has the power, at least until the present, to do what it likes to the Palestinians. Even when the High Court of Israel makes decisions, the State and Municipal Governments ignores them, from issues of equal educational opportunity for Arab-Israeli children within Israel to taxation without representation or municipal services, like trash removal, road repair, schools… in East Jerusalem on the other side of the Wall.
For a Zionist American Hebrew/Jew with his son, daughter-in-law and three grandsons (one in the IDF, another within this year) in Jerusalem, this is saddening. I visited Israel for the first time 35 years ago; I took my son, 10 years old, after that. He made Aliya at age 19, served in the IDF as an Officer in Gaza, married a Sabra and raised 3 sons with her as she became an Advocate in the Bet Din and a lawyer in the Civil Court who has argued in the High Court. He completed his studies to a Ph.D. in Jewish Philosophy at Hebrew U and teaches this, Religion and Bible, in addition to his special interest in the Torah of Human Rights, at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. My wife and I have spent Pesach and Hanukkah every year for the past 20-25 years in Israel; I read Times of Israel and Haaretz, sometimes the J Post, every day. But I’ve watched the descent of this beloved country of the Hebrews/Jews over these years reaching a nadir with this past election campaign where Netan-Yahoo played his racist and fear cards to gain seats for his Likud party. And now, this article “Walking the Green Line” where I’m forced to see that the settlers and their supporters are winning. But they haven’t quite won yet. Have they?