Ben Gurion Airport – In many years here, it’s the first time I get to the airport, and I just think: At last. It’s the first time that it’s a relief to leave.
I was asked to cover Hebron, the hotspot of this sort of Intifada. And in Hebron the occupation is the occupation. Which is not a matter of military power, truthfully, because the goal, here, isn’t security, Israel’s goal is to turn your life into such a mess to tire you out: and bring you to move somewhere else. To empty this land. And so besides these settlers who spit on you as you walk, who throw stones, throw trash, throw everything, who curse you, and on shabbat they sit right in front of your garden’s gate with a picnic table and plastic chairs and you have to stay at home all the day because there are three soldiers at your door, and you are only a journalist, you have only a pen, in your hands, while they all have a gun, yet you are the danger, besides Mrs. Anat Cohen who tried to run me over with her car, besides that, there are soldiers everywhere: and you never understand what’s forbidden and what’s not. A minute ago you could go through, now you can’t. Now it’s a closed military area. Even though ‘closed’ means that it’s open from the opposite side, if by any chance you wish to stab somebody: you simply need to take a longer route and go through the olive groves, through narrow, steep, slippery paths, and reach your house from the rooftops, from the windows, and if your water pipes get broken, call a plumber from Japan, rather than Hebron, because foreigners can enter the old city, Palestinians can’t. Only residents. And anyway, your tool box would be confiscated at the first checkpoint: and so you stay here, with cold water, or no water at all, with the army that now and then needs your house and locks you up in a room for a day, and the buzz of drones over your head, the F-16s, the stun grenades, random gunfire, and after 6 pm, when it gets dark, you are virtually under curfew, because nobody ventures out, and if you happen to be still around, because you’ve been wandering for hours looking for a way back home, and as if settlers weren’t enough, as if soldiers weren’t enough, Hebron is also full of stray dogs, at every step you find yourself held at gunpoint by somebody who yells in a Hebrew you don’t understand. You walk, in Hebron, and you are scared. Nothing else.
Be it day time, be it night time, you are scared.
And you are scared of Palestinians, too. Because in the end you are a foreigner, and you might be an Israeli: and so you walk, and watch your back. The craziest thing, here, is that they resemble each other so much that sometimes they mistakenly attack their neighbour.
This place is toxic. Israelis kill for nothing: a girl, five meters away, pulls out a knife with a blade that could barely be used to spread cream cheese, and soldiers don’t try to disarm her, they shoot. And they shoot at her head. And they stand by and watch for half an hour as she bleeds to death. Palestinians, yet, against such a background, against a dead every day, have nothing better to do than bicker at each other. And I am not speaking only of Hamas and Fatah, which are totally lost, honestly, and just care about themselves, about their business activities, they drive these sports cars with no plate, you can’t not notice them, they are all businessmen – and who their partners are? Israeli businessmen. No. I’m speaking of activists. I am speaking of those who are supposed to replace Hamas and Fatah. And instead, argue endlessly, and not even over political issues: over ego issues. They blame each other for cheating their wiwes, for drinking wine, harassing foreign women. And they don’t have any strategy. Nor they ever acknowledge their own mistakes. Their responsibility. They call resistance these kids with no job, no freedom, no future, who jump with a knife on the first Israeli they come across.
Even though what you achieve, in this way, is only to get shot.
They call Intifada their despair.
They believe that in the end, if Israel keeps on rejecting the two-state solution, in a few years we will have one state, yes: yet an Arab state. To military power, Palestinians oppose the power of demography. They have faith in time. As Israel actually – and that’s the only thing that Israelis and Palestinians have in common for now. While the world is focused on Syria, on jihadists, refugees, Israel, furtively, seizes land and builds, builds, builds. Enlarges.
The truth is that peace here not only isn’t a matter of negotiations anymore: it’s not a matter of the the current generation. That doesn’t realize that when you can neither win nor lose, when nobody prevails, and it’s been seventy years that nobody prevails, the only option is change.
And they both have faith in time, instead, forgetting that that time is the only life they have.
Wasted in such a senseless way.