The Cost of Not Planning and Imagining Peace

Israeli soldier Eden Attias' blood is on the hands of the fools who run our lives as though there has ever been an occupation in modern history that hasn’t ended in a huge bloodbath.

Even capitalists who care only about profits make use of their imaginations in business: In forecasting, predicting inflation rates and the size of their market, deciding on investments, product design and on expansion - all kinds of variables that affect us. But when it comes to the future of the occupied territories, which affects millions of people, the government persists in erasing the power of the imagination. Instead, we have the Zionist ethos of "waiting it out.” And because subjects’ lives are considered worthless, the possibility of any program must be eradicated – with the exception of the status quo, which prohibits the movement of the West Bank’s Palestinians while giving Israelis license to go wherever they please.

Israelis in the territories are bound by no laws; Palestinians are bound by thousands of rules and regulations and prohibitions. Their freedom, their land and their lives, all forfeited for 46 years now. Ariel Sharon, the worst statesman to ever lead us, scattered settlements throughout the territories for nought and then suddenly, like some prophet receiving a revelation, realized that it wouldn’t bring us to that nowhere about which he and his lethal ego had fantasized, and toward which we are now heading. There is no business, not even the smallest garage, that is run the way Israel runs the occupation.

You might ask, what about Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, who for years has been in the company of the Messiah who rides cement mixers? Isn’t his encroachment toward Ma’aleh Adumim, to swipe another bit of the West Bank, an example of the power of imagination, of vision even? No. The role of the redemption-crazy people within the status quo is to pressure, to destroy, to provoke, to build: Hebron, Hiran, Susya. In what way are the “pragmatists” - cabinet ministers Yair Lapid, Jacob Perry, Tzipi Livni – any different? Their job is to play along with the redemption hymns sung by Ariel, MK Orit Strock and the like; the key and the melody may be completely different, but in the end neither side actually does anything.

This is the only strategy: Waiting it out, while we direct it, like a huge, unexpected fire, toward their ruins. Every once in a while we’ll steal some more land, some more water, some more life, some more of other people’s freedom. Every once in a while the Shin Bet security agency will show up at the door of someone from whom it’s easy to extort intelligence, because he has a son in prison, a sick daughter who needs medical care in Israel. But generally it’s petty theft. As Bialik wrote, “And as you have schnorred, so shall you schnorr.”

Every once in a while, the army kills Palestinians. Far away from us. At night it breaks into the homes of Palestinians, without any legal constraint, scaring fathers in front of their children. Frightening children, to the point of trauma. Far from us. Every once in a while, Judeo-Nazis carry out so-called price tag actions. Every once in while they burn down Palestinians’ olive trees. Far from us. The Palestinians have no protection, certainly not that of the army that is obligated to protect them by laws that, of course, no one upholds. The army doesn’t deploy soldiers to guard Palestinian olive groves throughout the harvest season, as it guards the settlements.

The most prominent feature of this kind of terrorism, whether it is the destruction of olive trees in harvest or the desecration of mosques, is the Israeli consensus. True, not everyone supports these actions. Some even profess their “loathing.” But it is precisely these types of incidents that clearly show where Israelis really stand: They are nothing like an attack on Jews, after which the army, in righteous “wrath,” has license to beat, torture, kill, arrest, destroy. The defenseless will always be defenseless.

There is no plan that would put an end to this. Both sides silently await the apocalypse. The Messiah will come in the guise of the angel of mass death and return 1948 to the agenda. One side active, the other passive. The leadership of the passive side, the Palestinian side, is begging for borders.

This is what should have been said at the memorial for Eden Attias,the soldier who was stabbed to death last week by a Palestinian teen on a bus. His blood is on the hands of the fools who run our lives as though there has ever been an occupation in modern history that hasn’t ended in a huge bloodbath.