Because of the current make-up of the Israeli government and because of the TNR/Weekly Standard/AIPAC dominance of the coverage of Israel here in the United States, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there are plenty of Israelis who view relations with Palestinians quite differently than Marty Peretz et al.:
“If we try to enter our land, settlers will be waiting, and we will be beaten,” said Muhammad Moqbel, a 71-year-old Palestinian from the village of Qaryout who pointed to fields that he said had been stolen by settlers. Last year, he said, he was hospitalized with a broken rib after settlers attacked while he was picking his own olives.
Rabbis for Human Rights has helped Palestinians recover some land through lawsuits in Israeli courts. And Rabbi Ascherman and other Jewish activists escort such farmers to protect them. The settlers still attack, but soldiers are more likely to intervene when it is rabbis being clubbed.[….]
Not everyone finds Rabbi Ascherman inspiring. He gets death threats, and hard-line Israelis see him as a naïve traitor.
He responds that he is struggling to uphold his religious and moral values. But he also argues that building bridges between Jews and Palestinians helps make Israel a safer place for his children. “In the long run, we’re going to live here together,” he says, “or we’re going to die here together.”
Kristof likens these rabbis to civil rights activists, which I think is accurate. When peace is finally achieved in that part of the world, it will likely be more because of people like these rabbis than because of all the “pro-Israel” crazies.
I realize I sound like even more of a hippie than usual saying all of this, but seriously, what are the odds of any kind of peaceful agreement when Israeli settlers are stealing land from Palestinians?