In reality this is only the first time in 2500 years when Israel stands truly as a self-governing country. From our founding we have been a people of forced wandering. Great empires fought over our land and it was by their will that we lived or died, stayed or went.
In this “enlightened” period of our civilization we are again the possessors of our disputed land, and this time there are international laws to “protect” our existence. But there is a seed, one no less greater than the one which has brought us back, that threatens our destruction. It is easy to rejoice when we consider that there is a home in which we, as Jews, are always welcome. A place where our social or economic circumstances do not bar our entrance into the bosom of our brothers. It is easy to rejoice when we consider the fact that there is a great army that is willing to fight for us. But that seed, that seed that has sprouted and now spreads its roots ever farther, both over space and time, is the cause of great despair.
This seed, if left to continue its current path and rate of growth will crack and split the arid, stony land that now contains it.
The plight of the Palestinian people is the beginning and end of Israel.
A people who forsook the land on which they lived, a people rejected by their brothers in neighboring countries, a people who benefited greatly by the return of the Jews, a people who welcomed the return as it gave them jobs and medicine and infrastructure, and who have since been turned against the Jews by powers beyond themselves, are now the refugees that we once were. It doesn’t matter that their own people forced this state upon them, it doesn’t matter that their own people stand in the way of their building a society, the Jews are solely to blame, and until the Jews fix it, it shall remain the seed of our end.
This is not a shaking off the part that Israel plays every day in the perpetuation of this state, or even in its role of the problems creation. But, real or not, our role is well enumerated. It is the greater influence upon the issue, and the internal struggles of the Palestinians which is for some reason laid below the surface of our discourse.
By some incredible turn of marketing and a disregard for a significant part of reality, the Palestinians abroad and those who live in the West Bank, but not in the home they had before 1948, have been granted the status of “refugee” and given the “right of return” – a right that shall pass down the generations without end. A right that shall pass to an exponentially growing number of people. And the further we move from the reality of the origin of their statues, the more fabled their exile, the stronger and more destructive will be their return.
The campaign is brilliant. There is a key which sits atop a faux gate near Bethlehem. This key represents the keys Palestinians hold to their old homes. This key is now on “tour” – displayed in museums around the world. Israel has done its part to contribute to the spectacle: it gave the Palestinians a wall. 15 years after the symbol of Soviet oppression fell in Berlin, some genius in the Knesset decided to re-invoke the memory still fresh in the minds of every living human being and give the Palestinians, and the “liberal” world, an object to hate – whose destruction can be sought and no rest had till it is done. A fence, a moat, a river… no one thing carries the symbol of separation and oppression like a wall. You can’t paint graffiti on a fence.
We have survived as a people, but I fear we will not survive as a country.
As long as only one group is shouting at the top of their lungs for the world to hear, and the other desperately tries its machinations in the political realm. And as the world moves further into the greater public sphere of influence, the less likely Israel will survive an onslaught of a billion descendants, and their supporters, who are not aware that Israel was a land of desolation for the 2000 years of our absence, and will only see the land of Milk and Honey that we have remade and think it is their own and was fertilized with their forefathers blood.
But to admit the fault of this idea of return is not to offer a solution. Indeed, as land was offered it was rejected before. Compensation was offered, and taken, and it was not enough. Investment is made, and is floundered. Food, water, infrastructure given, but redistributed in a way as to perpetuate this deplorable state.
Am I to leave having only brought up an issue, am I to be yet another voice without a solution? In truth, yes. I am not one to offer a future as my life does not hang in the balance (at least not yet).
But I did go into the heart of the West Bank, into the very core of the effect of our floundering, and what I discovered may perhaps be an insight into the future uprooting of this dreadful seed. It was not of my own accord and perspective genius that I came upon the insight.
Rather, it was a gift from the very Palestinians who feel the brunt of our and their leaders’ mistakes.
The next article will reveal my discoveries.