Tuesday, 1 May 2007

A Land of Contradictions

On Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, several hundred settlers chose to mark the day by marching to the ruins of the evacuated settlement of Homesh in the northern West Bank. This followed a series of earlier treks to Homesh on every Jewish holiday, in an attempt to show up the government and push for resettlement.

Not all settlers favour calls to resettle this area, and even fewer are willing to break the law in going there. This group is made up predominantly of young, religious settlers who believe in their God-given right to live in all the land promised to them. The Arabs have shown that they won’t live under them nicely, so they need to be forcefully pushed away. The Palestinians, on the other hand, see the settlers as unwanted colonialists, living on their land. They see the straggly haired hilltop youth as nothing less that the scum of the scum – lawless hooligans, causing havoc under the noses of their conniving leaders.

When one views things in such clear terms, there is little room for debate and no room for self questioning. Black and white, so it seems.

Not so. When the settlers marched, they waved at IDF jeeps and bought ice cream from local Palestinians who had arrived at the scene with shopping carts. What?! The friendly gesturing at Israel troops makes sense, but the trading between settler and Palestinian, occupier and occupied, enemy and enemy? If the Palestinians hate them so much, why did they go to such lengths to provide them with refreshing snacks on a hot day? What were the settlers doing giving business to the other?

Put simply, Israel needs ice cream, and the Palestinians need to sell ice cream. It’s the old Siamese twins problem rearing its ugly head again. We need them and they need us. Which is why we will never separate from each other, despite what our leaders might say. Will we come to an agreement with them once day? Maybe not. But an understanding? Certainly.

It’s exactly this land of contradictions that I live and breath.


jerusalem said...

Your characterization of the former inhabitants of Homesh is blatantly unfair and narrow. The residents of the former "settlement" were not just "straggly haired hilltop youth" but adults with careers, children and young couples. I watched a number of interviews with those who had been expelled from their homes in Homesh. They looked like upstanding, intelligent, contributing citizens of this country. Please don't fall into this trap of stereotyping those who live over the "Green line."

Prof said...

I think u have opened a can of tolaim here. ne day, next time we meet, we may share views. there s a lot of truth in what you say but let's be positive, the Palestinians, despite wotever their leaders say, have always enjoyed a 'licking' by Israelis. let's face it, they wouldn't be able to complain if they didn't get this licking. Think about it - no holy nartyrs, no enjoyment of the myriads of virgins promised to the suicide bombers in Heaven (I've alwyas felt this was paradocical - can't they find virgins down here on earth???)etc.
Now they use ice-creams to provoke Israelis and you know something? ... it beats bombs!!! So rejoice, brother!
BTW - r these ice creams Kosher and if there is a doubt why are our 'black' brothers eating them ... or perhaps they are not as they only contain Halav Palestini - interesting concept, hey? Shabat shalom. Unc

Prof said...

PS Excuse typos - my secretary is Palestinian!

old colonial said...

what's wrong with being a colonialist . see para 2 .its what made Britain great.

Jonny Steel said...

Thanks for your comments. Jerusalem, I’m sorry that you took offence from my posting, but I think that you may have misunderstood what I meant.

I never commented on the people of Homesh. The strong language was intended as an illustration of how local Palestinians might view the demonstrators (not how I view the former residents of Homesh). I hope that clears things up.

Punctillious Penguin said...

Lets all go to Homesh. I hear they're opening an Asda store there next June.