45 Years of Occupation- What Have We Become?

I did not want to write this article. I have posted twice already this week and try not to write for the TOI more than once every week or two. I keep looking and waiting for someone — anybody else — to post decrying the torching of a Palestinian home last night. The hours pass, from one to the next, and silence. What have we become? This barbaric violence is the single biggest reason we must find a way out of the territories and the lives of the Palestinians. It is turning us into something we should never be. Yes, I am aware that it is a small minority perpetrating these heinous acts.  It is a minority that continues doing what it has been doing –– and the politicians and rabbis are silent. 17 mosques have been torched in the last four years. How can Jews burn a house of worship? Have we learned nothing from our past? Setting fire to a house with children inside? What have we become?

 In the summer of 1980, I spent my “summer vacation” doing miliim (army reserve duty) in Gaza. I was utterly appalled by my experience there. Without going into details of what I saw then, when I finished miliuim I knew we needed to get out of there. Not for the sake of the Palestinians, but for our own good. Lest we become what we decried in others. It is now over 30 years later. While we are out of Gaza, we retain control over other parts of the territories, and we see the results.

 There are many reasons – good and bad – to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. I have always believed that if one was to just to judge the conflict on “right” and “wrong”, we would be the ones in the “right”. However, here, being “right” is not enough. “Being right” has brought up two generations of children who have spent parts of their army service being an occupying power. “Being right” has meant denying certain basic rights to other people (admittedly for our own safety.)

Today, it became clear that “being right” has lead to bringing up Jews who burn down mosques, and worst of all, set houses on fire with children inside.

Enough is enough! We need to find a way out, for the good our children and the soul of our nation.

About the Author
Marc Schulman is the editor of Historycentral.com -- the largest history web site. He is the author a series of Multimedia History Apps as well as a recent biography of JFK. He holds a BA and MA from Columbia University, and currently lives in Tel Aviv. He is also a regular contributor to Newsweek authoring the Tel Aviv Diary. He is the publisher of an economic news App about Israel called DigitOne