This article was never published by The South End due to the amount of responses from the article published before this one. This was written while I was in Israel July 27, 2003.
It is only in Israel that I am lucky enough to travel in a bulletproof bus. This week I went to visit a good friend and her very cute children in the city of Beitar. This trip took me into the Arab occupied territory of Judea/Samaria (aka West Bank).
I decided not to take my car into the occupied territories because I was afraid that my rental car would not be able to make the trip due to unforseen circumstances ie. molotov cocktails, snipers, and other "problems". Instead I took the bulletproof bus.
On my 15 minute trip out of Jerusalem to Beitar I thought about being under "occupation". Occupation is another word for being held hostage. Jews living here in Israel are being held hostage by the Arabs living in this country. We are
afraid to ride the buses, afraid to go shopping, and afraid to drive the roads.
I have been doing a lot of traveling while here in Israel. When I first arrived, I was getting directions to a outlying suburb of Jerusalem when the woman giving me directions gave me a shocker. She said to make sure not to miss my exit
because I would end up in the Arab city of Ramallah. This means sure death.
As I was driving that evening I made sure to pay attention to all the signs pointing me to that particular suburb, I was scared to miss my exit. I was scared to be murdered because I am Jewish.
We saw the blood frenzy several years ago when two Jews made a wrong turn into Ramallah. The Arab police there picked them up and took them to the police station supposedly for their own safety. News traveled quickly and the entire city
showed up at the station. The police did not bother doing their human duty - to protect innocent lives. They instead beat the two Jews to death, then threw their bodies out the window to the crowd outside. There was almost nothing left to identify the bodies with when the Arabs later returned the bodies to Israel. Instead we see the inhumanity of it all when one of the Jews cellphones rang while all this was happening. One of the murderers answered the phone and found that it was the wife of one of the Jews. He told her that he was busy murdering her husband. Occupation means that you cannot travel your own land for fear of making the wrong turn on the highway. I cannot assume anything different if I should G-d forbid make a wrong turn.
On the other hand, we need to keep in mind that Arabs can walk freely in any city in Israel without a worry of being murdered in the street. Every day I see Arabs going anywhere they want in any city going along their business. They are
still allowed to ride the buses, still allowed to go shopping and drive the roads. There have been no instances of Jews lynching Arabs like was done to the Jews in Ramallah. Who is under "occupation" here?
How did we come to such a situation here in Israel? Israel won a defensive war against her Arabs neighbors in 1967, when they announced to the world that they were going to drive her into the sea. In the span of a week, Israel won the eastern half of Jerusalem as well as Judea and Samaria. There has been no other country that hands back the land that it wins in war. Especially not back to the enemies that tried to destroy her in the first place. Especially if doing such a thing would make your country an indefensible 9 miles wide.
As a result of winning this war, Israel has inherited the Arabs living in these areas. Of course none of these Arabs wanted their own state when they were occupied by Jordan before 1967. Only when under Jewish control does it become
important. We can see Arab priorities clearly here. Arab statehood becomes a must when it comes to displacing the Jewish identity with the Land of Israel and not before.
I am glad that I have come to visit in the Land of Israel. It is only here that I can understand what it means to be a people under "occupation".