Jüdisches Leben in EuropaMit der Hilfe des Himmels

Promises - endlich auf Video!


The Separation Wall in Abu Dis:
The Walls of Hurt

In German - - Die Trennungsmauer bei Abu Dis:
Die Mauer der Verletzten
Dutzende Male habe ich Israel schon besucht, doch die Studienreise mit dem Israel Policy Forum in diesem Monat, mit einer Gruppe von Aktivisten aus Seattle, erwies sich für mich als bestürzender, als alles Bisherige in der Vergangenheit...


M.J. Rosenberg

I have visited Israel dozens of times, but this month’s Israel Policy Forum study mission with a group of Seattle activists created sensory overload unlike anything I have experienced in the past.

First of all, the country remains essentially empty of tourists. I visited areas which are usually filled with Americans and heard no English around me, only Hebrew and Arabic.

Abandoned by foreign tourists, Israelis have undergone a personality change. They have never been so friendly to the few foreigners who visit. In the past, some shopkeepers in Jerusalem acted as if they were doing you a favor. Now they radiate warmth and helpfulness, whether you purchase something or not. On Jaffa Road, Israelis and Arabs competed to give directions to a confused American.

There is an undertone of sadness, particularly in Jerusalem which once prided itself on being “one city, undivided.” One morning I walked around East Jerusalem and saw no Israelis except for a soldier or two. When I told Israelis about my stroll to the other side of the city, they looked at me as if I was crazy. “Why would you go there,” they asked.

The walls are back, at least psychologically, and those walls are often as impermeable as the concrete ones going up outside the city. For me, this is especially poignant. In 1968, I spent several months on Salah al-Din Street, in the heart of East Jerusalem, as a member of a Jewish student group. Today it is unimaginable that the Israelis would house Jewish students there.

In Tel Aviv, a city which remains upbeat despite everything, young soldiers are everywhere. The ones I saw weren't guarding anything; they were at historic sites getting imbued with Zionist history as a part of basic training. They look just like American high school kids (they are only 18). Horsing around, flirting, singing along to hip-hop tunes on the radio, it is painful to imagine that many of them will be in combat units in a few months.

And, despite all that we hear about growing resistance to army service, virtually all Israeli teenagers will go. I asked our 17 year old cousin whether he was nervous about going. A tall, handsome Orthodox kid, he shrugged off the question. “I’ll do what I have to do,” he said. He said that he hoped that he would not have to serve at checkpoints in the West Bank and Gaza but that if he must, he must.

Our relatives, who came to Israel after the Holocaust, have, until now, not had to worry about a son in the army. The first generation born in Israel consisted of three daughters. But the second native born generation includes several boys and their grandparents live in dread of the day they will have to don their uniforms.

The mother of one told me that she was “sure when he was born that the wars would be over by the time he was 18. And after Oslo, I even thought that maybe he would not have to go into the army at all. Now I think that even my grandchildren may not see peace.” She asked me why “the United States doesn’t try to help anymore.”

The scene on the Palestinian side is just as depressing. Our group visited the separation barrier Israel is building to defend itself from the suicide bombers who have succeeded in taking 900 Israeli lives since 2000. The segment in a neighborhood called Abu Dis, just outside of Jerusalem, is a solid 30 foot concrete wall.

There is a part of it that is not solid concrete but more makeshift and here Palestinian laborers were crossing home after work. They were crawling and climbing through and over the wall. It was not easy but a whole line was doing it.

I went over to watch and a French camera crew asked me my impressions. I told them that I understood why Israelis needed a wall and that, if it adhered closely to the '67 lines, it could contribute not only to Israel's security but to a real reduction in tensions. But, I added, it was deeply troubling to see a neighborhood dissected. I also said that I felt badly for these Palestinians who suddenly found themselves cut off from jobs, markets, and schools. Innocent people are suffering." Then I returned to our bus.

Nothing I said was particularly exceptional, or so I thought. A young Palestinian felt differently. In fact, having overheard what I said to the journalists, he gathered up his courage and boarded our bus.

He asked if he could speak to the group, borrowing a microphone from our Israeli guide. He told us that until hearing what I had said to the French journalists, he had believed that all American Jews hate Palestinians and lack any sympathy for them as fellow human beings. As a result, he hated all Jews.

But having heard one Jew empathize with the Palestinian plight, he had changed his mind. He would never again hate “all Jews” nor would he continue to believe that all Jews hate Palestinians.

He thanked me for changing his attitude and said he would "never forget it."

He then walked off the bus, leaving our group in shock and some near tears.

I was left shaking. I had neither said nor done anything unusual and yet this young man said that he was “changed forever” by my words. But I had done nothing except express some empathy.

Apparently Palestinians are so unaccustomed to any show of compassion from Jews (or anyone else?) that hearing a few words of sympathy is a life-altering experience.

Something is terribly wrong. Young Israelis, like our cousin, are manning checkpoints to guard their country against Palestinians who are walking around with such hurt and anger that some do indeed become threats to Israelis. Palestinians are watching Israelis build a wall to keep them out and in some places to cage them in.

Can anyone possibly believe that walls alone can protect anyone against burning hate and burning hurt that grows until it explodes? I’m not just talking about the Palestinians either. Israelis too are in terrible pain.

In 1967, after Israel re-unified Jerusalem (East Jerusalem had been governed by the Jordanians), Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Dayan ordered the walls dividing the city to be torn down. He was told that it was impossible; it would take months before the two peoples divided by walls of concrete and walls of hatred for 19 years could safely mix.

Dayan gave the order anyway and two cities became one and one of the world’s most beautiful.

Thirty-seven years later, the walls are back.

Zum Thema Sicherheitszaun:

Über die Sicht der Dinge:
Die Geschichte von zwei Zäunen
Als Medienkonsumenten brauchen die Amerikaner und die Europäer weniger Israel und mehr Welt, anderenfalls werden auch wir von einem Zaun umgeben, der unsere Sicht der Angelegenheiten der wirklichen Welt blockiert...

The Separation Wall in Abu Dis:
The Walls of Hurt

M.J. Rosenberg, Director of Policy Analysis for Israel Policy Forum and former editor of AIPAC’s (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Near East Report, reflects on his recent visit to Israel and recounts his impressions while visiting the separation wall Israel is building in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Abu Dis...

Video: "Das Recht zu leben" - der Zaun gegen den Terror... real-v 1.8mb / wmf 5.8mb
Video: Erfolgreiche Hausdurchsuchung in Bitunia, die zur Beschlagnahme von Sprengstoff führt... real-v 0.7mb / wmf 1.6mb

Zauberlösung für das Übel des Terrorismus?
"Trennzaun" oder "Apartheids-Mauer"
Für die Israelis ist es ein "Trennzaun", für die Palästinenser eine "Apartheids-Mauer". Für die Israelis scheint es ideal, für die Palästinenser eine existenzielle Bedrohung...

M.J. Rosenberg (email: mj847@aol.com) is the Director of Policy Analysis for Israel Policy Forum and is a long time Capitol Hill staffer and former editor of AIPAC’s Near East Report.
Source: Israel Policy Forum, February 13, 2004,

Recent announcement by Prime Minister Sharon:
Breakfast with an Israeli Friend

Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab describes a recent discussion with an Israeli friend over breakfast in a West Jerusalem café. In this discussion, the author and his friend debate over the recent announcement by Prime Minister Sharon to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip...

What Should Be Top Priority for Religious Leaders:
Peace, Not Nationalistic Slogans
Highlighting the need for more powerful advocacy for a just peace from religious leaders, Rami Khoury calls on Ahmed Qurei to play a leading role in overcoming many of the internal challenges in which the Palestinian Authority finds itself before embarking on appeals for assistance from others...

Middle East:
Teens Seek to End Conflict

Regional and world disputes took on a new tone this week, as more than 300 Israeli and Palestinian teenagers stepped into each other's shoes for a simulated UN conference in Israel. Israel is the only nation to hold a simulated conference that includes a committee to mediate Israeli-Palestinian issues. While focusing on conflict resolution, in this committee, students represent their own points of view, instead of role-playing...


A Flicker of Light in the Dark, the Geneva Document:
Will It Be the Salvation of Both Nations?

Palestinian journalist and writer M. Daraghmeh discusses the Geneva Accords while stressing its “balanced content” that will constitute the main framework for a future settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although the document entails painful concessions by both parties, the Accords carry “an equilibrium that provides it with an opportunity to be accepted by both nations.”

Common Ground News Service February 20, 2004
CGNews promotes constructive perspectives and dialogue about current Middle East issues.

From the Common Ground News Service
hagalil.com 18-02-2004



Refusenik Watch,
Gush Shalom
New Profile
Shalom achshav

[Hevenu Schalom

Radio Hebrew:
[Kesher israeli]

Copyright: hagalil.com / 1995...

haGalil onLine