Cross posted from my Times of Israel blog.
Sometimes Jews and Palestinians look at each other and can’t see anything in the faces of the other that makes any sense and a great deal that is utterly abhorrent. This is one of those times.
When Adbel-Rahman Shaloudi put his foot down on the gas and ran down several people, he set in motion something that made it painfully clear for all to see just how great the rift between Jew and Arab is in the holy city.
The Jews mourned and wondered what kind of people, what kind of society, could create a monster willing to commit such an act. The Arabs of East Jerusalem rioted when police arrived at Shaloudi’s home. Both Hamas and Fatah called Shaloudi a hero. This man is a hero to his own people and a monster to the Jews.
This isn’t new.
The celebration of suicide bombers and terror against the Jewish state as a whole has been ongoing for years. It is something that Israelis have never really managed to grapple with. The answer of the current government, as put forward immediately after the attack by Jewish Home leader Naphtali Bennet is to build more;
The appropriate response to Wednesday’s terror attack in Jerusalem, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett said Thursday, was to build more homes for Jews in Jerusalem.”
This isn’t a new response, it hasn’t helped ease tensions in the past and it’s not going to now. What it does do is send a message to the Palestinians, but as with the terror attack itself this is a message with an entirely different meaning to both Israelis and Palestinians. For Israelis it is a symbol of defiance, a statement saying that it doesn’t matter how many Jewish babies are murdered or how much Palestinians cheer for our determination in the face of terror won’t be dented. On the contrary we will be even more resolved to stand tall as Jews in our own land.
Palestinians aren’t listening to that message, they can’t even hear it. For them Israel was going to build anyway, for them the building was a foregone conclusion.
And so here we are again, in a place from which there is no way to go forward and no way to stand still. But anyone who thinks that building 2,000 more homes for Jews in East Jerusalem is the answer to terror should get ready to lose more Jewish babies.
It simply is not dealing with the problem. In fact it is an exercise in total denial of the reality of situation within which we live. The answer to the utter hatred represented by this crime isn’t to bear hug the Arabs of East Jerusalem to us in an embrace which will kill us both while saying all of the time “I don’t care what happens to me as long as you die”.
These are the words of extremists, these are words of utter hatred.
The truth is that all talk of splitting Jerusalem with the Palestinians is irrelevant. We don’t have to split Jerusalem with the Palestinians because it’s already split. We don’t have to worry about where new municipal boundaries would be drawn because they already exist, they’re the areas that the municipality has been ignoring and failing to invest in for decades.
The tragedy of taking extreme options is that the very outcome they seek to create is the one that they push further away. Far from being cowed from further acts of terror, building will simply create more of the same. Bear in mind that the very people who celebrate when a Jewish baby is murdered are the same people we are choosing to embrace to us even closer.
Our answer to the tragedy that happened the other day is to simultaneously make Arabs in Jerusalem hate us even more while ensuring that it is harder to defend against further attacks of the same kind.
And for what?
Because 2,000 years ago Jews lived in East Jerusalem?
When Adbel-Rahman Shaloudi put his foot on the gas he reminded us all of something that perhaps we had forgotten. There are two peoples in Jerusalem and they are light years apart from one another. The question as to whether Jerusalem should be a shared city was answered decades ago.
Last week I wrote that we had the right to build in Silwan. How I missed the point.
Of course we can build in Silwan and clearly we’re going to, but the homes that we build there will bring us no respite, they will help us not at all. To continue on our current path is to doom our people to more dead babies, more tragedy and continued hatred.