A wise American journalist wrote yesterday that Palestinians will never forgive the Israelis for killing their children, and the Israelis will never forgive the Palestinians for forcing them to kill their children*, and that is why there may never be peace between Israelis and Palestinians (‘Never’ means at least not in our lifetimes). But I think that with all due respect to the wise man, this language indicates the root of all problems in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Because even this formulation, like many others, ignores the basic fact of the conflict, the source of all the trouble and all the rounds of fighting and all murders and all the rockets and all tunnels and all the victims – the occupation.
Israelis Completely deny the occupation, as if it never existed. Israelis do not want to hear the word occupation. A president rapes his secretary, that’s due to the occupation. Malaysian plane disappears, it’s due to the occupation. This is how Israelis try to ward off the bitter truth. That is, that Israel is occupying the Palestinians. This campaign of repression does not end with humor, it just begins there. The whole being of Israeli military and civil rule in the occupied territories comes down to how to hide the occupation. Israeli can drive a car through the West Bank and not see even one Palestinian town or village. Because if the road passes through one of these places, Israel builds a bypass, and guess what, there is no occupation anymore. If rockets are fired from Gaza, then Israel launches a PR campaign asking Americans to imagine what would have it been had Mexico launched constant rocket attacks, and how they, the Americans, would have responded. As if Gaza is an independent country and not an occupied territory, and guess what, there is no occupation anymore. Israelis will tell you right away that the bypass is built to prevent stone throwing, and Gaza is not occupied since Israel evacuated it. This may help the Israelis to continue to deny the fact that they are actually occupying the Palestinians, and the fact that the Palestinians are truly occupied, but in reality the occupied throw stones because he is occupied, and occupied Gaza is fully controlled by Israel. Even newborns and deaths must be registered at the Israeli Interior Ministry, not to mention Electricity and Water supply, Monetary system, permits to import or export goods, and of course the blockade imposed by Israel with a little help from its neighbor to the south. Somebody mentioned the Marmara? Why the occupied dig tunnels for the production of an abduction? In order to free their imprisoned in Israeli prisons. That is, because of the occupation. Why are there Palestinians prisoners in Israeli prisons? Because they were objecting the occupier. That is, because of the occupation. Why the occupied explodes within civilian population centers of the occupier? Maybe to drive out the occupier. That is, because of the occupation. Why Palestinians fire rockets at Israel from Gaza? In order to try to open the border crossings, and also to lift the blockade, and also to release the prisoners, and also to interact with their own in the West Bank … That is, because of the occupation. So when the wise man in America offers an explanation as to why there is no solution to the conflict, he ignores the fact that the solution is to end the occupation.
So as things stand now, with Israelis deny the occupation, the wording I would suggest is that the Palestinians will never forgive the Israelis for occupying them, and the Israelis will never forgive the Palestinians for being occupied. And that is why there may never be peace.
Eugene Robinson: Peace may never be at hand, The Washington Post, July 17, 2014 *
Drawing: “Missing due to illness”, Gabriella Kave-Tcherikover, Acrylic on cardboard.