At 50 We Dare Not Give Up

Mourners at the funeral of 50-year-old Aviram Reuven who was killed in a stabbing attack by a Palestinian man in 2015. "Yotam Ronen | Activestills"


WE SEEM TO BE at an intersection of incompetence and invidiousness as we draw closer to the fiftieth anniversary of the Occupation. We are almost to the point that both right and left agree that the term “occupation” should no longer be used. On the right, the argument is either for stasis—building out the settlements and expanding the area controlled by settlers; pressing the Palestinians economically and geographically until they leave or surrender—or, legally annex the territory and bestow limited rights upon the Palestinians. On the left, the call is now for recognizing the de facto annexation and granting full political rights to the Palestinian residents.

The political powers in Israel and Palestine are in a state of constant strategic dithering—one step forward and two steps back. Yet, lest we fall into the false equivalency of occupier and occupied, it must be stated that this stasis is the result of a strategy of many decades on the part of the Israeli government to deprive the Palestinians in the territories of the resources for economic sustainability or the room for civic institutions. The security apparatus which controls the movement of the Palestinians on a daily basis raises the price of resistance so high that it seems futile, resulting in only sporadic but heroic acts of nonviolent resistance.

The cycle of armed belligerence which scales up or down but almost never dies out, is a result of the logic of violence. The combatants and their institutions on both sides are convinced that the other side only understands violence, and if we hit them hard enough this time, they will stop.

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Source Citation

Tikkun 2017 Volume 32, Number 2:57-58

Aryeh Cohen, Professor of Rabbinic Literature at the American Jewish University, is the author most recently of Justice in the City: An Argument from the Sources of Rabbinic Judaism (Academic Studies Press). He blogs at
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