Tuesday, June 18, 2002
Things have been very busy at the office, hence my absence. Apologies.
Just a quick note for now. Had a lovely lunch yesterday with a friend making aliyah with his family at the end of this month. He plans to settle in Hashmonaim, a town just over the Green Line near Modi'in, north and west of Jerusalem. So we talked about the situation, about employment, about how the kids are feeling about the move, etc. And what struck me from my whole discussion with him was: this is a reasonable man. He picked Hashmonaim because he wants to live in a religious community of modest size, and the town is part of the "consensus" - it's only a kilometer from the Green Line, and very likely to be annexed by Israel if there ever is an agreement that creates a Palestinian state. He doesn't want to give up a Jewish presence in historically central locations like Hevron, but he also doesn't want to see people killing and dying endlessly. He hates Arafat and his network of terrorist groups, but he doesn't hate the Arabs, and sympathizes with the Palestinians who are suffering under Arafat's rule. Most surprisingly to me, he says he has moved leftward in the past few months, increasingly coming to believe that a Palestinian state of some sort has to be part of the solution.
He is, I suspect, a typical "settler." There are those who are more ideological, those who are racist or messianic or otherwise driven by dangerous passions and prejudices. But the overwhelming majority are, I suspect, like my friend: reasonable, rational, capable of and even eager to compromise. These are the people demonized by CNN and Reuters and the Guardian as the cause of the conflict and the chief obstacle to peace, even as they whitewash the murderous hate spewed by every corner of the Arab world.
Yesterday, as another Palestinian murderer ended the lives of 18 innocents and maimed 50 others, CNN, reporting minutes after the attack, thought it important to provide the "context" that the bus in question started its route in Gilo, a neighborhood in Jerusalem that "some Palestinians" consider a "settlement." Because that's the important thing for viewers to understand: that there are places on earth that Jews simply do not belong, and if they go there - or if they travel on a bus that started there - on some level they deserve to die.