Kerry, Go Away and Let Us Be Ourselves

Just leave us alone, Mr. Kerry, and let our true colors shine. If we see them in time, perhaps there will still be a chance to change them.

Avirama Golan
Avirama Golan
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Construction site in the West Bank settlement of Modiin Illit. Settlement construction − and not any talks or prisoner release − is the only thing that creates solid facts.Credit: AP
Avirama Golan
Avirama Golan

Please, John Kerry, stop running between us and the Palestinians. Enough, take a vacation, get some rest. Look at us from afar, leave us alone.

We should have been left this way from the start − without America and the European Union and all the world’s do-gooders. Between the sea we turn our back on and the mountains we worship, with all the neighbors around us, including the people next door who we have imprisoned within walls on land scarred with bypass roads that only we use, and smothered their landscape with red-roofed houses that only our people live in, and blocked their roads with checkpoints guarded by “our children” so that their children won’t pass.

Maybe when we’re left on our own this false ritual called negotiations, which has become an end unto itself, will finally stop. For all this running around − both the highly publicized and the less touted bits − barely covered up what was happening in the background: continued extensive construction in the territories which is the only thing − and not any talks or prisoner release − that creates solid facts, and continued massive investment in the settlements via every possible government pipeline.

We’d be willing to release an entire prison full of inmates as long as we could keep on building the megalomaniacal Land of Israel. We’re convinced that we’re putting one over on the whole world, but it's our own citizens who we’re fooling.

You must have thought, Mr. Kerry, that given the insane investment to the east of the Green Line, the millions of citizens to the west of it would cry out that they’re fed up with bearing the burden of the exorbitant cost of living, of unattainable housing, of perpetual security tension and ongoing neglect of infrastructure, the health system, education and welfare. But turns out that’s not the case. On the contrary: In survey after survey, people report how happy they are here, and time after time they elect the same prime minister.

So you see, sir, we really don’t need any help. Yes, beneath this fine veneer there are some frightening cracks: Poverty continues to weaken working families, the tycoons’ insatiable greed keeps growing, as does the racism against migrants and Arab citizens. Corruption has become endemic to the political elite, and the Knesset is frequently the scene of unbridled incitement.

The state of the Jews, which sought to offer shelter to persecuted refugees and be a sovereign and free entity for all its citizens, has become an isolationist and exclusionary “Jewish state” that manages the lives of its citizenry according to a racist and conservative Orthodox religious worldview colored by crude nationalism.

It’s hard to discern all this, for when our eloquent leaders come to visit your country, they portray a thriving, innovative nation with its feet in the Bible and its head in high-tech. If it weren’t for the treacherous Palestinians, the anti-Semitic Europeans, the Iranian nuclear plants and your wimpy government, we could be living in a real paradise here, they say.

So just leave us alone, and let’s see what happens. We probably won’t fall apart. “The conflict” will just be handled more brutally, the army will become less moral and less smart, and the government will become even more corrupt. The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer, and the remnant of sovereign Israeli-ness will be swallowed up in a wave of radical and violent religious nationalism.

True, Mr. Kerry, this is terrible, but if this is our truth − better for it to be exposed now and not when it is dangerously late, when the citizens of this country will see that the path down which they were led was one of disaster. Better a moment sooner, when they can still choose a sane alternative.