Guest Oped by Anon
I sit at the end of a long day’s work installing lighting fixtures in the great city of Efrat in the Gush Etzion area, a half hour drive south of the city of Jerusalem. I sit at the main traffic junction before I head home, in my car facing the north-south 60 road which runs three hours from Jerusalem to Beer Sheva in the south of Israel.
There’s a long line of cars with green and white license plates passing down this narrow north-south highway. They fight for position; they are overly aggressive. They cut off other drivers with only the mildest sense that they want to avoid an accident. These green and white license plates adorn cars registered inside the Palestinian Authority. These are the cars which are being driven home by that most famous of manufactured victim groups — the Palestinian Muslim Arabs. These cars are driven by my neighbors, by my enemies, by my economic competition.
I’m what CNN calls “A Settler”. I am an observant Jew: I don’t work from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, no pork, cheeseburgers, or cutting the hair at the corners of my head. I live in a Jewish village of about a thousand families inside of Judea, in an area which was occupied by Jordan from 1948-1967. These two facts make me a settler, which, if you believe the New York Times, is about as bad a thing as one can be.
For as long as I can remember, the words “Peace in the Middle East” has become a slang term not relating to the 1300 or so year old blood feud between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims which has a several million strong body count, nor does it relate to the struggle for women’s or gay rights throughout Muslim lands. This phrase does not refer to the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, Palestinians in Jordan, or Maronite Christians in Lebanon. No. The phrase “Peace in the Middle East” refers to how the one Jewish state deals with its ethnic minority in a country the size of New Jersey and roughly 4000 years of recorded Jewish presence and sovereignty in this land.
And if it wasn’t bad enough that for some reason, my people’s low-grade ethnic conflict seems to end up on the front page more often than the Kurds, the Bosnians, the Northern Irish, the Chechens, the Basque, the Persians, or one of any other thousand ethnic groups at war on the planet earth, it all seems to be my fault. That is to say, in the year 2000-2003, while Jews were regularly being blown up on buses, in Synagogue, in restaurants, the mainstream media was pointing out that none of this violence would be happening if it weren’t for the settlements. Even today, listen to the canned statements from Biden or Sanders or Warren on Israel. They want to help Israel make a deal with the Palestinians, but there needs to be an end to settlements.
You know what I call a settlement? Do you know what you would call a settlement if you lived here? You’d call it home. The town that I live in, which is considered a settlement by any and all accounts, is a town with a supermarket and a pool, a basketball court, a library, 5 synagogues and a mushroom farm. No Arab has ever lived here, no Arab was harmed in the making of this village.
So when I hear news and politicians explaining that the most pressing issue in the whole middle east is the fact that there are too many towns like mine, too many towns full of schools and small businesses, too much success and entrepreneurship, too much family and religion. Essentially, the problem is there are too many Jews in Israel for some people.