Friday, April 30, 2004

I had a brief chance encounter with an English peace activist. At first she was uncomfortable to tell me she was a peace activist. What did she think I would do to her?

She told me that West Bank settlements were growing like mad.

Once upon a time, nearly every young couple I knew, secular and religious alike, was considering moving to this West Bank settlement or the other, lured by the promise of affordable, palatial dwellings. “Five minutes from Kfar Saba” was the catchphrase. Ancient history.

I no longer know anyone even contemplating leaving the relative safety of pre-1967 Israel for a hazardous existence in a posh villa in the territories, however cheap, and however near the Green Line it may be. Bish doesn’t know anyone either and he knows a lot more people than I do.

Back in the days when everyone was moving there, the newspapers were full of attractive advertisements and the construction contractors were having the time of their lives. Not any more.

It doesn’t add up, what she said about this uninhibited settlement growth.

I admit that I haven’t been anywhere near any West bank settlements in years. I haven’t seen any bulldozers. I haven’t encountered, first hand, the alleged droves of vehicles taking alleged hoards of fervent, ideological youngsters, their families, and all their worldly goods, to allegedly inhabit their shiny new homes on remote hills. This doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Allegedly.

It just means I don’t think it makes any sense.

Maybe she was talking about Jerusalem neighborhoods.

I asked her how she would feel if Sharon went ahead with disengagement from Gaza. She said she’d never been there but from what she had heard Gaza was just a big prison and disengagement wouldn’t change that, but only make it worse. I didn’t get it. What she was saying was: Building settlements = bad; dismantling settlements = even worse. At this point, I could clearly feel my old pal fuzzy brain setting in. This type of reasoning is way beyond my humble mental abilities.

I am concerned about her hesitance to reveal her being here as a peace activist to an Israeli, concerned and suspicious. What does that say about how she sees us as a people? I am left with the feeling that she would be happiest if we just ceased to exist, you know, by magic or something.

I’m sorry we can’t make her happy, but that’s just the way it is.

The other day I said that “Justice is always about justice for one side. Someone always loses.” Maybe I should call the people who come over here to help the Palestinians, not peace activists, because they don’t really seem very interested in peace for both sides, but Justice (for one side) Activists. Justice Activists has a certain sanctimonious ring to it. Much more appropriate.

Shabbat Shalom.