The galloping madness of the Israeli leadership concerning Jerusalem reflects perhaps better than anything else the dismay and lack of perspective by a government that can only think in terms of the fundamentalist ideology of the extreme right. Netanyhau’s cabinet is now announcing a series of steps “against terror” that are basically antithetical to the goals of the official Israeli policy regarding an “eternally unified” city.
Late Sunday afternoon, another attack was added to the long list in recent weeks. The theater this time was the central bus station in Beersheba, in the south of the country. The first reports from the scene spoke of terrorists. Because of this, the three national television channels brought on military “experts.” They sagely announced that the attack marks the start of a new phase of organization and coordination, as well as the use of firearms. The expert knowledge seemed completely relevant; I was impressed.
Like all Israelis, for days I was attached to the television. As more and more discoveries emerged, it became apparent that there wasn’t as much organization and coordination as it seemed.
One of the attackers — of Israeli Bedouin origin — killed a soldier with a knife and a gun. He then seized his rifle, with which he continued to fire, wounding several people. The second “terrorist” was an Eritrean or Sudanese, to his misfortune: The color of his skin was fatal. He was gunned down by the very precise shots of a police officer; once on the ground, some fascist thugs, who never fail, beat him to death. It turns out he was just another one of the terrified passengers fleeing. He was not at all a terrorist.
But fear and hysteria remain, and the government must “do something.”
There are those who do understand that you don’t get anywhere by following the dictates of right-wing annexationist, who think Israel can occupy the Palestinian territories and that a herd of obedient Palestinians, without any of their rights recognized, will happily accept the situation.
In the past, when he was in the opposition, the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rushed to wherever there were attacks on Israelis. The bloodstains on the road, maybe a corpse mercifully covered, were the ideal setting for the great opponent of the government. He showed the full horror of each tragedy, which was always the government’s fault: Rabin’s fault, Peres’s fault, for not being violent enough or for having initiated the Oslo accords.
Netanyahu won the 1996 election, basically thanks to the slogan, “Peres will divide Jerusalem. Bibi is the best defender of the Jews.” He repeated it thousands of times. Bibi is the only one who can give us security and stave off our hated and terrible enemies.
These days, Bibi does not often visit places of bloodshed. Instead, he and his accomplices repeat their new, tired story: “We’ve been terrorized for 100 years now. Palestinians want to liquidate us. They do not accept our existence.” Et cetera. So, it seems, now the terror is the Palestinians’ fault, and the solution has to come from that side.
The eternally unified city is going through a rapid process of physical division, which makes the life of Palestinians increasingly difficult. The Palestinians and the Israelis in Jerusalem or the occupied territories who have to travel to go to work do so with great fear, or stay at home.
This is not the solution that many have proposed since 1967: a division that recognizes the national rights of the two peoples, one city of shared sovereignty.
Instead, the Palestinian areas of the city have been converted into ghettos controlled by the police and the army. Fools’ experts create more hatred, more repression, more despair. And the vicious cycle of unemployment and insurrection reap more victims. The “law enforcement” of Israel are acting with indescribable violence, while the hordes of the extreme right become more cruel.
Obviously, there is always the United States. This week, Netanyahu will go to Germany, where he will probably meet with Secretary of State John Kerry. What would be the result? I’ll drop myself in the shoes of the expert: You can’t create change with empty words.
The hatred and frustration of young people treated like animals will continue to be fueled by the criminal purpose of Israeli fundamentalism that seeks to perpetuate the current situation: 4 million Palestinians oppressed and deprived of any rights.