Thursday, December 4, 2008
Justice, Justice, You Shall Pursue
By Michelle Nevada
I woke Thursday morning to find the Peace House in Hebron had been forcibly and violently evacuated. This was not a surprise. I knew that Ehud Barak, the man who called Israeli citizens, fellow Jews, "cancerous growths" and had promised that Israel will "remove this evil," the man who called not for not a simple evacuation, but a violent one, would succeed in removing the handful of families and several hundred teenagers from the building.
Those in the Israeli government who wanted to “put down” the Religious Nationist movement, wanted blood. They called for blood. MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer asked for "unprecedented force" against Jews in Hebron. Unfortunately, what Ben-Eliezer asked for, he got—and he got it to the cheers of the arabs nearby.
The Jews in the Peace House were not breaking any laws, they had been living there peacefully for over a year. The house’s ownership is still undecided, even though every possible proof that the house was purchased legally has been met. The High Court of Justice never ordered an eviction, despite what the government keeps saying. They said the Israeli Government “MAY” evict, they didn’t say they “MUST” evict. This action was the CHOICE of the Israeli government.
Minister Ehud Barak, MK Benyamin Ben-Eliezer, PM Ehud Olmert, and Acting PM Zippi Livni wanted to evict the families in the Peace House because they recognized the Peace House as a symbol, but they did not fully understand what the symbol represented. They believed the Peace House was a symbol of resistance, and by destroying that resistance, they would destroy the symbol. They thought they would prove to the “settler youth” once and for all that the Israeli government can do what they want—even when it means that they are taking violent actions against their own people for no good reason.
The Peace House is a symbol for the Religious Nationalist Movement, but it is not a symbol of resistance.
It is a symbol of justice.
The Peace House represents the justice that the Jews of Judea and Samaria have longed for, have hoped for, have prayed for, have attempted to create, but have always been denied. By throwing Jews out of a house that was legally purchased, the government again shows the unjust treatment of the Jews of Yesha.
The Jews of Yesha tried cooperation with the government. They got approval for their towns and their municipal projects and their security apparatus. They carefully filed paperwork and filled out government forms for everything from new water towers to basement renovations. They protested Gush Katif but did not fight it outright. They believed the government when it said they would take care of the Jews they evicted from the land.
Instead of playing fairly and justly and recognizing the law-abiding ways of the people of Yesha, the government turned on the people. The government denied that projects had ever been approved, they removed people from their homes, they destroyed farmland and houses and businesses and lives. They failed to protect the people. They failed to protect religious sites. They refused to fight back against terrorists who lobbed rockets at towns. They forced evacuations and never placed the people in permanent housing. Then, they did the most heinous thing of all: they removed a man, his wife, and their nine children in the middle of the night and destroyed their house and all their belongings. An action which was not just. It was cruel.
The Jews of Yesha kept trying to stay in the law. But every time they tried, they were disappointed again. Soon they realized that Justice would always be denied them by the government. They looked at the arabs, who had perpetrated violence and unrest, murder and destruction, and saw that the arabs were rewarded for their actions by prisoner releases and government funding and land give-aways.
The people of Yesha had begun to learn the lesson the government had taught them: the lesson that only those who protest violently and make the most noise get rights.
Because the symbol of the Peace House is that of justice and not resistance, taking the people from the house, especially in a violent manner, does not destroy the movement—it makes it stronger. It makes this house and the people who were harmed in the house into martyrs for the cause of justice.
The government has not put out the flames, it has fanned them. Now, each small spark of nationalism that smoldered at the Peace House has blown into the winds of Israel to find a opportune place and an opportune time to burst into flame.
Barak thinks he has won, but he has lost in so many ways that we will be counting them every day, every hour for the next ten years.
Just to begin the count, so far Barak:
has lost control
has lost confidence,
has lost alliances,
has lost face,
has lost trust,
has lost credibility,
has lost the election.
He cannot win this fight and he will not win this fight until he begins to recognize the injustice of the system and the need for a re-evaluation of how the government treats its citizens. If he keeps acting in the same manner, he will only succeed in making the small situation of a disputed house in Hebron into a huge situation in the entire nation of Israel.
And, while we are fighting each other, our enemies will stand on the side and throw rocks and rockets, applauding and cheering. Then they will attack.
Barak, congratulations! You have run a few hundred kids and a few dozen families into the cold. You have destroyed Morris Abraham's property (and don't think he won't sue you personally!). Now, you have a few moments to make your speeches and shake hands with Abbas and smile with Livni for pictures over the bleeding corpse of Israel.
Then you had better let justice rain down before the whole country explodes in flame.