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“Wild Beasts”

February 11, 2016

Bibi finally came out with a plan, “At the end, in the State of Israel, as I see it, there will be a fence that spans it all,” said Netanyahu. “I’ll be told, ‘this is what you want, to protect the villa?’ The answer is yes. Will we surround all of the State of Israel with fences and barriers? The answer is yes. In the area that we live in, we must defend ourselves against the wild beasts.”

If we link this statement with your prophecy, just a couple of months ago, that we will forever live by the sword, the future looks grim. Us, with our swords out, fighting off an endless onslaught of beasts. Fences will be breached, the beasts will rage among us. How frightening life must be for you, Bibi!

Get this….. We are the wild beasts, Bibi. We are wild and we will not be held back. We are wild about our freedom. We cannot turn away from the suffering just down the way from our homes, in Issawiyeh. The homes on both sides, wracked with grief and loss. This is not living. We will not accept this. We will do anything for our freedom, trying not to do harm through non-violence. Persevering, brothers and sisters. An endless state of conflict is un-freeing. We are all prisoners of the violence, the collective trauma. We do not feel safe, in Israel. The Palestinians have forgotten what safe is.

We cannot reconcile ourselves to subjugation. Like the Vietnamese, vanquishing the most powerful army in the world, when there was nothing to lose. Terrified Palestinian children will prefer to die martyrs rather than to continue the lives they now lead. Hopeless tragic victories, as they jab someone with a pair of scissors, soon to be shot.

A peacemaker is there, on the other side, waiting helplessly. Abu Mazen will be 81 next month. He is ready, as he was when he sat 35 times with Ehud Olmert, before Olmert disqualified himself through his own corruption. I sat near Abu Mazen, I got him, at a meeting last year. The guy wants to die having left his people some hope that things are on the mend.

Abu Mazen faces an impossible foe. Netanyahu is carefully crafting the inevitability of no-solution to the conflict. His popularity stems from the admiration people feel for his deceptiveness, smoothness, and ability to handle everyone, so far. He fucked the Americans! Showed them a thing or two. Bibi is king of the hustlers, the dream of every overweight contractor in a Mercedes. I saw their wives in the mall in Jerusalem today. The make-up dripping off them, buying their way to some temporary pleasure. While Jerusalem burns.

On Friday, we marched to the Beit Jalla checkpoint. Palestinians and Israelis together, in the territories, since few Palestinian activists can still get permits to enter Israel. As soon as we began to march, two “Combatants for Peace” leaders were arrested. But spirits were high, as we chanted and marched down the highway, the police nervously accompanying us, cars of settlers throwing us the finger as they honked by. Walking in the shadow of the 8-meter concrete barrier built to protect settlers, a friend alongside wondered whether we are just doing this to make ourselves feel better. No, it makes a difference that we are here, and, if it makes us feel better to be together for a few hours on the highway, that’s good too.

Tunnel

 

We know that we are going through a terrible time. Everything is about security, and there is no security. We’re seeing an overwhelming wave of anti-democractic legislation, the embattled public is angry, at Arabs, at leftists. No openings are seen, unless you look, unless you are part of the openings. We are here. A friend and I are in the midst of leading a training seminar for peace activists in the skills of reaching out to the angry public in a way that draws them into dialogue. We are learning that it will be not the clever things we have to say, that will make the difference. It will rather be in our listening, and all that entails. Compassion, the refusal to escalate, patience. For now, perhaps it will be enough if we can each say, as June Carter Cash, the country singer, said one tired day, “I’m just trying to matter.”

                                                                                                Yoav Peck, Jerusalem

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