After I posted Aaron Sharif’s letter yesterday, I received this letter from Aaron. The letter below is Aaron’s response to an Israeli Jew’s reply to his letter. It is worthwhile reading. Meanwhile, on another level, let us all meditate on the uprising in Iran and hope for a resolution without too many more deaths. We are witnessing a brave uprising that will probably go underground. — Lilly
A friend of mine forwarded my previous letter (Thoughts Re Netanyahu’s Vision) to some Jewish friends here in Israel. My friend received one response which in so few words typifies so much of our government’s policies towards the West Bank and towards Israeli Arabs, it also typifies the short-sighted “vision” of our Israeli Right.
This was the response:
My vision for Israel is a country for the Jewish People…If you don’t like it, LEAVE. This small piece of land cannot accommodate more than one people and the Israeli people are it! Arabs have their own countries and have overtaken much of Europe & Indonesia. They have their Mecca and we have our Wall…And never the twain shall meet! -Terry
This was such a simple, pure, direct and honest response, that I felt obligated to comment on it. How well our problem is embodied in Terry’s few short words. And so I wrote back to my friend:
Thanks for sending my letter onwards to others.
Yes, Terry’s response is why Netanyahu is prime minister. Terry’s answer is also a short-sighted one, perhaps given without much thought to what happens next. Its easy to say “If you don’t like it, LEAVE”, but what happens if that doesn’t happen: They don’t like it, but they don’t leave. The 20% of Israeli citizens (2nd rate citizens at that) who are Arab have no intention of leaving Israel. The two and half million Palestinians in the West Bank also have no intention of leaving. Your friend Terry then has three alternative solutions because according to Terry the land “cannot accommodate more than one people”:
1. Force them to leave…..mass deportation “somewhere”, of up to four million Arabs. Quite a tragic scene, though perhaps Terry is not worried either of the moral implications or the consequences. If so, we don’t belong to the same Jewish People.
2. Annexing the West bank as part of Israel and thereby making another 2.5 million Arabs citizens of Israel. Of course this would mean that we are on our way to be an eventual large Jewish minority within the country, a bi-national State….not really a Jewish State by any means. This is what the Palestinians would prefer. I don’t think Terry would go for it.
3. Annexing (or not) the West Bank but keeping the Arab population without any rights of citizenship and penned up under a military clamp….Essentially similar to today’s situation. In that case I refer you back to my previous letter which tries to show some of the consequences of this alternative.
All alternatives boil down to some concoction of one of these three. If Terry knows of some other alternative model, I would be anxious to learn of it. (Having Jordan take over the West Bank is also not an alternative. Both Jordan and the Palestinians reject any such possibility. Just as Egypt refused to take over Gaza once we were ready to give it up. Also “Leave everything to God” is not a viable alternative, I won’t even begin to rebut that. Well, maybe I will say that God helps those that help themselves, and then only sometimes. )
But yes, there is one more possible alternative: Coming to some kind of mutual agreement about two States for two People. This too is not simple, and all of our moves via settlements in the West Bank are made to preempt such an alternative, but perhaps we have not quite yet passed the point of no return. Any agreement needs to be mutual, needs to refer to security matters, needs international participation and guarantees, needs to have stages for building trust, stages for reducing hatred, and probably a lot more.
There are many more moral and historical grounds that would classify Terry’s response as lacking both knowledge and foresight, but the problem of the above alternatives will suffice for now. I assume Terry will probably choose alternative number 3 above. In that case, once more I refer you back to my previous letter (see below) and to where that alternative is taking us.
Still hoping for a brighter and more sensible tomorrow, Be well.
On the issue of Iran’s “brave uprising” that you mention above, perhaps Meretz and Meretz USA would like to now take a clear, outspoken position in support of the similarly brave uprising in Bil’in, Budrus and many other villages throughout the West Bank against Israel’s wall and settlements (NB: in some cases Palestinians in the West Bank have also used stones as Iranians have, but Iranians are not attacked for this by Westerners and Israelis).
For a good summary of some of the hypocrisies relative to the Palestinian vs. Irananian uprisings see this post by Adam Horowitz on Mondoweiss: http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/06/iranian-intifada-is-celebrated-in-the-us-while-palestinians-are-still-ignored.html
Surely Meretz-USA should also be actively backing with both words and deeds these similarly “brave” Palestinians, Israelis and internationals? Because in an appearance on Democracy Now, you and Meretz-USA sure didn’t voice clear backing for the brave, nonviolent uprising against the wall by communities like Budrus, which are supported by many brave Israelis:
Maybe now, in light of your clear support for the Iranian uprising, it is time for you to reverse your position regarding very similar Palestinian and Israeli actions, by stating unequivocal support for them, and by urging Meretz members to join them at protests on the ground?
Don’t think that Netanyahu, his merry followers and above all the multitude of loaves, fishes and …settlers (not in that order!!!) will just lie down and take it.
You remember the woman who spoke to us at Dror’s uncle’s settlement (?) the one named after a tree??? She was the fish-faced one with the regulation orthodox female garb, a mouthful of sanctimonious poppicock, who thought we were less than subhuman..
Yes, they haven’t even begun to sow their poisoned seeds, and I don’t mean in any biblical sense.
P.S. We expect Dror in London en route to Meretz USA next month.