Having a daily routine to go back to that is free of violence is a privilege that most Israelis have and most Palestinians do not.
I was out last night in Tel Aviv at a poetry book launch for a good friend when the news flashed on my phone that there was a shooting in the Sarona Market. I got that sinking feeling in my gut and couldn’t take my eyes off Twitter, even as I continued to drink my beer and listen to the recitation of deeply moving and thoughtful contemporary Hebrew poetry.
Life does go on here despite the violence. That’s just the reality. But when I read the statement by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai that Israelis cannot let such terror “disrupt our lives” and that we should “return to business as usual” tomorrow, I become enraged. Why shouldn’t this disrupt our lives? It did disrupt our lives and will continue to disrupt the lives of many Israelis — among them, the victims, their families and friends, all the people who work in Sarona, all the people who have been there, who live around there, etc. Why should we continue to sip our cappuccinos and beers without being disrupted and disturbed? Why shouldn’t such an act, and so many others like it, cause us to take pause?
The word “disruption” here also dismisses the fact that the lives of so many Palestinians are “disrupted” all the time. The entire city of Yatta, where the two murderers are from — a population of about 65,000 people in the occupied West Bank — is now under military lockdown. This is collective punishment, a mass “disruption” if you will, on top of the already systematic “disruption” of military occupation. No Israeli city, town or settlement has ever been under lockdown after one of its residents committed a violent act against Palestinians.
Mayor Huldai implored us to go back to our routine, back to business as usual. But this is completely misguided. Many people often comment on how remarkable it is that Israelis can just go on with their lives within all the terror. But strength and resilience will not come from trying to push reality aside, disregarding the entire picture and continuing on as if life here is normal. Rather true strength will come from looking critically and deeply at all the factors that go into perpetuating systematic,...Read More