by Rabbi David J. Cooper, October 2015
As I write this, I am watching events in the West Bank that sadly I have been expecting for a while now. Resistance, both non-violent and otherwise, is ramping up against the Occupation. As a rabbi, I am supposed to condemn violence, and I do, but more than that I am outraged and depressed, and I cannot condemn the violence against the Occupation without also condemning the violence and daily fears that confront the occupied Palestinians perpetually. As of this writing, in this month alone there have been 122 settler attacks on Palestinians in the territory. Before I get asked if I’m justifying the killing of nine Israelis in recent days by Palestinians, my answer is of course not. That’s not my point.
The response that P.M. Netanyahu has announced today is one of more repression against those who are under occupation. As the prophets used to demand to know: “Ahd matai?” How long must this go on?
For six years the Netanyahu government has had relative quiet from the West Bank. Yes there are daily protests–and mostly non-violent except for stone throwing. But this has been a time when meaningful talks could have happened. The PA was successfully keeping the lid on. Both Israeli and Americans familiar with the negotiations observed that Netanyahu’s demands were what killed those talks. I believe that Netanyahu never wanted those talks to succeed but were only to give him the veneer of negotiation while he only increased the settlements and expanded the Occupation.
A wall was built on the justification that it would protect Israelis from terrorist incursion, but the barrier’s route did more to divide Palestinian lands than actually following the old Green Line border to separate the West Bank from Israel. But even more significant to me, is that the wall gave the Palestinians of the West Bank the visual proof that they were residents of a giant jail. The result of all this is more frustration, anger, outrage, and ultimately no wall will be able to contain that. Even pressure cookers explode.
I am tired of Israeli government complaints that Abbas’ actions for recognition by the UN constitute a unilateral action that undermines peace that should be negotiated bilaterally. How can Netanyahu express such a complaint when he unilaterally decides to build and expand settlements in the West Bank and would never think that a subject of negotiation? And the world knows that this undermines peace far more than Palestine seeking recognition as a state.
From Langston Hughes:
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?