Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Holes in the Wall

I went down to Gaza yesterday in a futile attempt to witness Palestinian elections taking place from within the confines of a highly volatile political zone. Needless to say, I was deterred in my attempts. However, my efforts were not totally wasted.

As I was leaving the Erez checkpoint, I had the brief opportunity to speak with an Israeli soldier about his impressions of what was going on within this forbidden territory. I asked him whether he thought Gaza was a dangerous place. Without hesitation he retorted to me that Israel was a far more dangerous place to be.

This is an impression that I already held, but it was validating to hear this coming from the mouth of a soldier. The threat of random, seemingly unprovoked militant aggression, is far more scary to the human mind than austentatiously pronounced displays of military force. Nothing to be said for the despicable living conditions of a people trapped in a 40 km strip of land sandwiched between a 30-foot wall and the sea.

It got me thinking about the circumstances under which I have come to understand the occupation. It is only because of the aggressive tactics of the Israeli military, boldly condemned in this blog, that I am able to experience the things I have seen with relative peace of mind. I ride Israeli buses everyday unafraid of being blown up. I criticize the wall and other preventative measures that have kept virtually all suicide bombers out of Israel for the past 2 years. It left me to wonder whether I would be against the wall if it meant an end to the occupation and a clearing of all West Bank settlements, and the recognition of a Palestinian state...

Here I have no definitive answers, just more questions.


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