Israel Must Get Ready for Its Own Hurricane Irene

With or without any connection to September, all the necessary ingredients for a new popular uprising are in place.

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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Amira Hass
Amira Hass

The astromancers are having a field day. The planet September 2011 - orbited by the asteroid Intifada 3 - is rapidly approaching us. The nearer they come to the fixed star of Idifus, the higher the shares of Central Command Laboratories Ltd. climb. The media outlets alternate between interviewing the stargazers and past and present employees of CCL in an attempt to guess "what will be." After all, "what will be" is a celestial body that moves in space, unconnected to any human activity. One option is that it will pass over us, in which case it could serve to predict the likelihood of falling in love during the weekend. The second is that it will crash into us, hapless souls that we are. Therefore we must prepare ourselves, just as Mayor Michael Bloomberg prepared New York City for Hurricane Irene.

The September verbal commotion sets another record - soon to be broken - of Israelis' talent for obliterating from their cognition the gravitational force that their state possesses. The Israelis, with the assistance of their representatives in the media, wear two hats in this respect. The first is that of the potential victim of an uncontrollable natural phenomenon. He is bound to respond appropriately thanks to his resourceful tricks (such as enlisting the residents of the Yitzhar and Migron settlements to repel the local version of Irene ). The second hat is that of the straight-arrow scientist.

Both the responder and the scientist address, each in their own way, the question of whether accepting "the State of Palestine" as a member of the United Nations will disturb the status quo, which is: a single expanse from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. Two peoples. One government. One people and a branch of the second people participating in elections. The larger branch of the second people denied the right to vote. The one government determines the separate and unequal course of development of each people. An upper-country people and a lower-country people. Those on the first course have the right to live in the country because their forefather immigrated 3,000 years ago. Those on the second course do not have the right to live in their home, because their refugee fathers were born there 80 years ago.

Two opposing ruling systems, military and civilian, two separate and unequal infrastructure systems. The lower country is divided into "territorial cells," in brigadier-general-speak. When the people in the upper country feel like opening the territorial cells to restricted movement, it does so. If it feels like closing them, it closes them.

The responders and the scientists study the slightest movement of the inhabitants of the territorial cells. Someone runs over someone else, another brandishes a knife, a third is caught without the proper permits. What does it mean, they ponder: perhaps an organizational weakness, perhaps a rise in private initiatives. They do not ask: What does it mean when Supreme Court justices allow the separation barrier to turn the village of Walajeh into a ghetto? Does it mean they're not afraid of the International Court of Justice in the Hague? They do not wonder: What does it mean that in the midst of a period of calm in the West Bank, Israel Defense Forces soldiers kill two young men in Qalandiyah, that Civil Administration officials issue demolition orders, that the military court arrests Palestinian children on suspicion of throwing rocks and the civil court releases settlers who are suspected of nearly splitting the head of a Palestinian boy?

It is only natural for the party that benefits from the status quo to see it as the natural condition. Ask Bashar Assad, and he'll tell you how anyone who challenges the existing order is violent, aggressive, perverse.

With or without any connection to September, all the necessary ingredients for a new popular uprising are in place. No clairvoyance in that. The ingredients can only be found in the current, violent order. Israel's policy of separate development recreates them constantly.



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