Hillel Damron
Writer, filmmaker and blogger

Israel, Palestine, and the Snowball Effect

First, some history: On November 2nd 1917, United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issued a letter – i.e. The Balfour Deceleration – to Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, stating (in part) that “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” It was the most significant step to that date for the Jewish people and their Zionist movement, though it took 30 years for the United Nations to pass a similar resolution (181), and then shortly after for the British forces to leave Palestine, and thereafter for the declaration of independence for the state of Israeli, to be followed by the War of Independence, resulting in the displacement of most of the Arab inhabitants from the new state.

Some twenty years later, the Six-Day War solidified Israel’s survival as a state, in the process gaining control over Gaza and the West bank, practically all the Holy Land territories once in control of Egypt, Jordan and the United Kingdom. Coincidentally, it also gave rise to the Palestinian struggle for independence and a state of their own. Other wars, battles and peace negotiates and treaties took place thereafter, but Israel first refused to recognize, then fought hard against the establishment of a Palestinian state, built a Separation Wall to that effect, and continued the settlement endeavor and the occupation of the territory the Palestinians claim for their future state, thereby preventing it from happening.

And on October 7th of this year, three years and a month short of the one hundred years anniversary to the Belfour Declaration, the United Kingdom Parliament – in a decisive, 217 to 16 vote – passed a nonbinding motion to recognize the state of Palestine. That resolution followed the UN General Assembly resolution two years earlier, granting Palestine the status of a non-Member Observer State in the United Nations. Other countries, mainly in South America, have already passed similar resolutions, and in Europe Ireland did the same, with Sweden and Spain declaring their intentions to do likewise in short order, and France veering also close to such a debate and action, its foreign minister qualifying by saying that “Paris should recognize a Palestinian state only if doing so would help achieve peace, not as a symbolic gesture.”

So second, here’s a predicament: This movement, this process is not going to stop any time soon. Rather, it is going to grow and gain speed and strength. Its escalation, like a snowball rolling down a mountain’s slope, will gather velocity and volume. It may, ultimately, crash upon impact, or – like an avalanche – will bury the village and its inhabitants underneath it. There is no way to stop it, or reverse its course. Just as the other snowball, the boycott movement – i.e. BDS – continues to grow and gain momentum. Taken together, they are threatening to bury their opponents: Israel and America under their weight. The town will survive the avalanche, no doubt, but what about the village?

As for America, how long will it continue to be the sole supporter of Israel in the world, while arming it to the teeth, remains to be seen. For now, this friendship and mutual-interest partnership seem safe and sound. But as, on the one hand, the above mentioned “Palestinian state-recognition” snowball continues to grow and expand, thereby isolating America more and more; and as, on the other hand, the combustible substance that is the Middle East continues to explode in fire and war, it threatens the stability not only of the at region but of the entire world. It is not inconceivable to see a day when an American president will come to realize finally – as did President Bush the father – that enough is enough. And that Israel must be stopped and put in its place, for its own good, before triggering a bomb that might threaten the entire world.

Thirdly, then, Israel itself. Currently, PM Netanyahu and his partners in the government, coalition, Knesset and the decision-making kitchen, are operating under a number of assumptions and policies. First, to their minds, the conflict between Israel and the Palestine is unresolvable (Netanyahu said so himself). Second, and as result of that, it can only be managed (the key word here). Third, we Israelis are not only good at managing things, but we also have the power and support of the Americans behind us. Fourth, this exploding Middle East, with Arabs and Muslims killing each other, is working to our advantage. Fifth, all these resolutions are useless, symbolic and unbinding.

But guess what: Unbinding, unbinding, and then suddenly – one day soon – it is binding. In all kinds of different ways. Meanwhile, a growing movement in Israel – Olim L’Berlin, how ironic is that? – is gaining strength, with more and more young, bright Israelis leaving to that particular city, and to other cities in Europe as well. Not to mention America, with about 700,000 or so expatriates Israelis living and thriving (yours truly included). It may be so that Israel will implode from within, first, before the snowball hit it full force and crash it. Or, a much better scenario: The Israeli people will come to realize the imminent threat and danger that are rolling their way, and will finally choose new leaders that will have the wisdom and courage to avert this coming snowball by joining its movement, and finally leaving the occupation behind, allowing the Palestinian people to have – like the Jewish people – a state of their own.

About the Author
Hillel Damron is the author of novels, essays, and short stories—one which won the 2011 ‘Moment Magazine Memoire Contest.’ He studied films at the ‘London Film School’ and became the film director of TV documentaries, a feature film, and video shorts. He was the Executive Director of the ‘Hillel House at UC Davis'. He was an elite IDF paratroops unit officer who was wounded in battle; he was born in kibbutz Hephzibah to parents who survived the Holocaust.