Moral Opposition to the Occupation: It’s Stories From Israel Like This That Shape My Stance

Not much to say on this topic, that’s a lie. I have a lot to say, but my emotions get the best of me to be honest. The hypocrisy of an occupation, complete with racist settlers and ghettos, being perpetrated by members of THE traumatized ethnic group of the last century (and the militate support for their actions) on another population is really too much to discuss calmly. So, what I like to do is set the scene. There have been books written, documentaries made, whole websites dedicated to covering the unbelievable situation that has unfolded over the past 50 years.

Below is just a small section of an article I came across today from Haaretz, an left-leaning Israeli news organization. The article is about a group of conservative, American Rabbis, who took a trip to Hebron, West Bank, in the Occupied Territories to see for themselves what is taking place there. For some it was a return trip, for others it was their first time. The full article is worth a read, the section below describes what can be seen there:

Hebron is the only Palestinian city in the West Bank that has an Israeli settlement located within it. A total of about 850 Israelis (including about 200 yeshiva students, who are not full-time residents) live here among 200,000 Palestinians – among them, some of the most radical and violent settlers to have emerged during a half-century of occupation. To make sure that the city’s tiny Jewish population is protected, hundreds of Israeli soldiers patrol the streets here.

But even this very conspicuous military presence is not enough, as the rabbis on the tour soon learn. To avoid friction between the two hostile populations, Israel has imposed heavy restrictions on the movement of Palestinian residents in what used to be bustling downtown Hebron.

Bubis opens a map filled with a maze of different colored lines to illustrate her point. On roads delineated in purple, she points out, Palestinians cannot drive vehicles. On those marked with purple-and-gold stripes, not only are Palestinians prohibited from driving – they are not allowed to open businesses. On roads delineated in red, not only can they not drive or open businesses, they are not even permitted to walk. These red roads, the guide explains, are known in army jargon as “sterile.”

The situation for Palestinians has improved, Bubis acknowledges. Until just a few years ago, on streets where pedestrian movement was allowed, Palestinians were forced to walk down very narrow paths sealed off by barricades. Those barricades have since been removed. And until just a few years ago, along one of the city’s main streets, they were not allowed to exit their homes through the front door. Rather, they were forced to climb up onto their roofs and jump along the roofs of their neighbors to exit through a back way. Those restrictions are no longer enforced either.

This isn’t a political situation. This is a moral one. This is not a right or left issue or agenda, it is a human one. The groups involved make it a “third-rail” within polite political discussion. This I guess I understand, but I do not accept. The only thing rude is pretending this can be explained away.

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