Burston's tragic vision after Itamar
03/21/2011 - 14:06
James Besser

For days, I've been trying to figure out the multiple meanings of the terrible killings in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, where a family of five was stabbed and slashed to death in their sleep.

Contrary to the claims of some, we don't know that this was organized terrorism, or that the cause was “incitement,” although when the killers are found both may turn out to be true.

What we do know, it seems to me, is what Ha'aretz' Bradley Burston expressed in a powerful, deeply distressing column on Friday.

“We are not the same people that we were before these murders,” he wrote. “On both sides, the killing of children leaves terrible scars. The scars tempt us to feel the deaths of our own children and somehow process or deny or legitimize or excuse away the deaths on the side of our neighbor. Our enemy. Even worse, in some respects, than an eye for an eye, is the state to which we have descended -- a blind eye for a blind eye.”

Forget politics; forget right versus left. Forget the claims each side makes that they lack a viable partner for peace. What seems to clear to me is that if some route isn't found to a fair, mutually acceptable peace, this is Israel's future.

Again, I defer to Burston, who said it better than I could. For Israelis, “This is your future. An endless procession of killings and escalation and enmity and settlement and condemnation and heartbreak and no negotiations and a broken Jewish people and no compromise and more settlement and a shattered Judaism, until the day that a vote is taken and the Palestinians are more numerous than we, and the flag which is based on the prayer shawl and the Shield of David is pulled down for the last time.”

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Narrator: '....and the Jews and the Palestinians reached out to each other and lived happily ever after.'
Hollywood Director: 'That's a wrap, everybody. Wonderful acting. Be careful going home. A family was murdered last week.'
Its nice to escape from reality using the power of our imaginations, but it is also important to not be fooled by our imaginations. Palestinians are lobbing missiles into Israel as I write this. Do you know how to make them stop? Real life is always a struggle and is never easy - like in the movies. If Jews have to sometimes fight, in order to live in freedom in Israel - so be it.

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