One Day, Many Years from Now, people will ask how come we were bystanders An anonymous Israeli, Jewish, PhD student whose blog Reality Check Point is revelatory.
Israel was born in hope. Not just the hope of Jewish refugees fleeing the horrors of being second class – or third class or not even – citizens in Europe and, later, much of the Muslim world, but the hope of non-Zionist Jewish people all over the diasporic world. That hope held Israel out as a beacon of Western, Humanistic, Democratic, values. For years, those values have been increasingly subjugated to Israel’s fears and brutality. A brutality that destroys the brutalizer as much as the brutalised.
Sadly, I doubt that it could have any other way, no matter how intense our hopes. For years we have known, on a personal level, that battering the child makes a brutal, battering, adult and the Jews were battered by experts; from the Roman Armies starting the diaspora, to the Spanish inquisition, to the pogroms of Eastern Europe and Western Russia, to the Shoah carried out by the German military under the Nazis. The lessons the survivors learned were not lessons of peace and tolerance, they were lessons of hate and fear. They were not lessons of the futility and ultimate failure of brutality, the lessons the survivors learned were of the effectiveness of raw power.
Why should Hamas, or any Palestinian for that matter, believe the world will shelter and secure them, help them, value them; the world has already said Move off your land, we are giving it to somebody else, you don’t count. People who hide behind their own children after striking out, have no faith in their own future. And a nation that sends their Army in to destroy schools, saying We are justified, the terrorists were hiding behind the children, has lost its moral bearing.
In this atmosphere, anybody who really thinks that a two state solution to Palestine is actually possible, hasn’t looked at the map. It is already one state, a nasty, brutal, apartheid state but one state nonetheless. In October, 2003, Tony Judt, a Jewish intellectual I have come to admire, after being introduced to him by Richard and Tracy, said in The New York Review of Books – in a thoughtful article I think is very much worth reading – The time has come to think the unthinkable. The two-state solution—the core of the Oslo process and the present “road map”—is probably already doomed….The true alternative facing the Middle East in coming years will be between an ethnically cleansed Greater Israel and a single, integrated, binational state of Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians. Sadly, things have only gotten worse since then and, now, even Reuven Rivlin, the Israeli President seems to agree.
I don’t see any ethical choice except a single, integrated Israel/Palestine and it is tragic that the dream didn’t come true, but it didn’t.