Arab women an haredi man in Jerusalem 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Wouldn’t it be nice if Palestinians and Israelis didn’t have to deal with each
other anymore? At least for maybe the next decade?
The idea would be to separate
the two sides and give each autonomy, with no direct contact whatsoever. Of
course, given the dynamics of the situation, both sides might want this but only
Israel has the power to make it happen.
Why doesn’t Israel just impose a
solution? Well, a lot of Palestinians don’t like that idea and many Israelis
don’t think it would work. But I am not convinced Israel’s leaders really want a
resolution of the conflict that is based on compromise.
I think they want
all of the land, not just Israel, Jerusalem and large chunks of the West Bank,
that they refer to as “Judea and Samaria.”
Calling the West Bank Judea
and Samaria is the equivalent – another word the Israelis love and hate – of
calling Israel the “Zionist entity.” It’s offensive to Palestinians, just as
Zionist entity is offensive to Israelis.
But separation seems to be the
only realistic option that could result in a genuine peace, based on, well,
apathy. I came to that conclusion after wasting a lot of time on an email list
populated by Israelis and Palestinians brought together by the idea of
“confederation.” The organizers of the idea are well-intentioned but it seems
that the majority of the group is divided between Palestinians who despise and
are angry with Israelis and Israelis who despise and are angry with
Neither side has anything nice to say about the other. In
fact, I’ve noticed a significant drop in the “nice factor” over the past few
years on both sides. Israelis and Palestinians are just not nice to each other.
Seems that when Israelis write about Palestinians, it’s usually all about
blaming the Palestinians for everything.
Same for when Palestinians write
The absence of a solution to the conflict has created a
blame lifestyle. We just blame each other. We never accept responsibility for
anything. Just blame, blame, blame. It’s depressing.
I have the feeling
that most Israelis can live with the current situation of apprehensiveness but
control. Israelis are in more control of the situation than
Not complete control, of course.
But just enough
that they can make themselves feel like they have a semblance of a normal
It creates kind of a “conflict boredom”; when conflict becomes the
norm, it becomes boring. Uneventful. Kind of like not newsworthy. News is
defined by something new. What’s “new” about the current situation between
Palestinians and Israelis? The ongoing sporadic instances of violence are not
new at all, but rather have become a familiar pattern.
Over and over
again flashes of violence spark emotional outrage from both sides, like the
recent violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
It’s not new. It’s a
broken record, playing over and over and over again. No one likes repetitive
annoyance, which probably more than any other phrase best describes the
relationship between Palestinians and Israelis today.
So, since we can’t
seem to come together around a table to say nice things to each other, or even
pretend that we like each other, why not just separate us? Build the damn wall,
but remove all Israeli presence from the Palestinian side of that wall. Give
Palestinians access to the rest of the world.
They don’t have to go to
Israel – most can’t go there anyway, including to the so-called “open city of
Jerusalem,” which isn’t so open to most Palestinians. None of the Palestinians I
know, including all of my relatives, are allowed to go to Jerusalem, where our
family is from. It seems like a moral crime, but what isn’t these days in
Palestinian-Israeli relations? Let’s just ignore each other the way the rich
ignore the poor and homeless they pass on the street as they shop for luxuries,
enjoy fancy restaurants or stroll along the magnificent miles of municipal
opulence. Just walk past each other.
Don’t say hi. Don’t nod in a
courteous greeting. Don’t make eye contact. Just focus on yourself.
course that would mean Israel would have to step away from the Palestinians and
the territories and focus only on their settlements.
Maybe in a few years
we might learnt to stop hating each other. Maybe we might start learning how to
see each other as human beings instead of as monsters. Maybe we will never come
together at all. And that wouldn’t be so bad compared to what coming together
usually means these days – all violence, death, destruction, hatred and
This isn’t another way to oppose normalization.
anti-normalization movement is really a movement of hatred that actively seeks
My idea would prohibit any form of contact.
It’s just one idea. I can’t think of anything else that hasn’t already been
tried. Can you? The writer is a Palestinian American radio talk show host.