When an individual cannot discern
reality he or she should seek medical advice. When a society loses the ability
to face the truth it is in danger of mass psychosis. Both Israeli and
Palestinian societies are fast approaching that state. I will not go into the
details of how Palestinians see the current situation, because I am not a
Palestinian, except to say that no side has a monopoly on self-deception. Both
sides are urgently in need of reality testing, and postponement is leading to
I am worried about the Israeli side,
because I am an Israeli, and if my society loses touch with reality we are in
big trouble. We have suffered a tiny fraction of the losses in life incurred by
Palestinians and Israeli Arabs in these disturbances. However, beyond the bland
assurance by the Israeli army that they are acting with maximum restraint, there
has been practically no action taken to reduce the number of casualties. They
are hardly discussed at all in Israeli media.
The over 120 Palestinian casaulties
together probably got less coverage then the two soldiers lynched in Ramallah.
And every one of those deaths is hurting Israel. Not just because of the little
boy shot to death in Netzarim who was filmed by French Television and give
Israel bad press in the world, not even because every one of those deaths, are
moving us further and further away from peace with our neighbors. They are
hurting us where we live, in the substance of our society and our self respect.
Asil Asli of Arabeh village was a
teenager, a member of the Seeds of Peace group, known for his green Peace
T-shirt and easy-going manner. When the troubles started, he went outside to
watch one day from a hill overlooking the demonstration. When police broke up
the demonstration they ran past the demonstrators striking right and left- and
they killed him.
A 29 year old Palestinian man was shot
down while he was trying to get demonstrators to stop throwing rocks. A 47 year
old Palestinian lady with leukemia was badly beaten by settlers today while she
was out picking olives. In Nazareth, two Arab citizens were gunned down by
Israeli demonstrators on the day before Yom Kippur.
There are just a few examples. Not a
single one of these people were endangering Israeli security. Most of them were
not even demonstrating. None of these deaths should have occurred. But there has
been hardly any questioning. Israeli TV Channel 2 ran a story about Asil Asli,
but the other cases are not reported. All we see are the justifiably upset
citizens of Gilo and other places that have suffered from Palestinian fire and
all we hear are the cries of right-wing politicians for tough action now.
So, my fellow Israelis, the next time you
are tempted to get self-righteous about Palestinian barbarism and the lynching
of the two soldiers in Ramallah, think of Asil Asli please, and of all the
others like Asil who wanted peace and coexistence as much as you or I, and what
we are doing to them.