Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yesha road rage

A Guest Post by Rabba bar bar Chana

According to an article in the New York Times:
Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a major access highway to Jerusalem running through the occupied West Bank could no longer be closed to most Palestinian traffic.

As usual, when it comes to these issues, I’m of two minds. On the one hand, I’m concerned for the safety of settlers, including members of my immediate family, who regularly travel the roads over the green line. On the other hand, as always, I feel tremendous pride that the Israeli Supreme Court stands up for civil rights.

But I’m not surprised by this predictable reaction:
Israeli settler leaders expressed alarm at the court’s decision, saying it would endanger Jewish travelers. They charged that the justices “never missed an opportunity to blame Jews for racism and provide Arabs with convenient conditions for the next terror attack.”
Is the ideal of democracy not one that Israeli citizens, of any stripe, hold dear? The refusal of the right wing in Israel to even acknowledge civil rights of Palestinians is something that is unsurprising, given what they’ve endured, but unfortunate nonetheless. But imagine how refreshing it would be if we’d seen this instead:
Israeli settler leaders expressed concern at the court’s decision, saying it might endanger Jewish travelers. They said that the justices “while making a valid point about civil rights of all residents of Yesha, may not be fully taking into account the safety of Jewish travelers. If the decision does stand, we hope to work together with the army and the Palestinian Authority to ensure safety and fairness for all who will use the road.”

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