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Pulling out the knife

October 12, 2015

I drove Aviv, our 17 year old, to school today, to keep her off the Jerusalem buses. Coming home, on the talk radio program, a para-medic instructed the audience on proper procedure when we encounter someone who has just been stabbed with a knife. I now understand why it is important not to pull the knife out, but rather to apply pressure around the wound. That handled, we moved on to a trauma specialist who explained how we should brief our kids in anticipation of when they come upon a terrorist attack and how then to calm them at night. Jerusalem, October 12.

This is terror….we are terrorized, terrified. Desperate, anguished young Palestinians are looking to kill Israelis. While they seek to murder us, each of them has a story, but no one wants to hear. We are swallowing the fruit of 48 years of occupation, but no one wants to remember that. The army and police are shooting terrorists after they have discarded their knives…. The cries abound…. “No more terrorists who will be released from jail at the next kidnapping. Kill them now.” Hooligans march through Jerusalem, hunting Palestinians on their way home from work. While engaging the public in Zion Square Thursday with the activists of “Talking in the Square,” a wandering horde of 100 furious, frightening, frightened youths swoops down on us. This time only screaming and cursing and threatening, they move off, continuing their hunt. No different from the pogroms my family endured 110 years ago in Lithuania. My watch beeps on the hour and I cannot keep from turning on the news. I’m coiled like a spring, tense, anxious, until Aviv is home, until tomorrow.

The cure for helplessness is doing something, anything that asserts our humanity. On Saturday night, we gathered in mid-town, to demonstrate for an end to this new wave of violence. Instead of the standard signs, “End the occupation, Netanyahu go home,” etc. we held signs that asked questions: …..”What will I tell my grandchildren?” “Do rubber-tipped bullets hurt less?” “What do the birds say about tear-gas?” “Where is the compassion?” “What will I learn if I speak with a Palestinian?” “Will we live by the sword forever?” The police kept the shrieking crazies at bay, but walking to the car in my Hebrew/Arabic peace shirt later was harrowing. This demonstration was the fruit of five young women who sent an appeal to their lists, brought some 30 people together for a planning meeting Wednesday, and together we created the demo. I walked through the crowd collecting money to offset the demo’s costs, and within an hour people gave more than 2,000 NIS. Sane, decent Jerusalemites sang together and heard wonderful, impassioned speakers. No politicians were asked to speak. I was not terrified at the demonstration, despite the ugly crowd across the street, taunting us with wishes for our death.

In three weeks, we will mark 20 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. He was the last political leader who might have led us to a better tomorrow. There are currently no politicians who begin to offer leadership. This is the time for our leadership. In 1971, Vietnamese student organizations coordinated with American activists a People’s Peace Treaty to end the war in Vietnam. Perhaps it is time for the Palestinian and Israeli Peoples to declare peace among us, transcending the defunct political process. We will find the way to return Israel to itself, we’ll stop hoping for light at the end of the tunnel, we will shine our light now, bringing peace to our land.

Yoav Peck


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  1. Michal Shilor permalink

    ​thank you!!! ​

    ~~~ Poetry || Photography || Facebook ~~~

  2. Thinking of you, appreciating the courage to retain judgment and empathy in the face of terror, and wishing safety and peace to each and every.

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