Israel has not only been tolerating its extremism, but abetting and encouraging it. In light of the Naama Margolese story, will it finally wake up?
Rather than thinking aptly and correctly by seeing a fair peace deal with the Palestinians, whose land it has usurped, as fundamental to the security and stability of both the Palestinians and Israelis, Israel has, in a very manipulative and perverse way, been doing its best to deprive the Palestinians of both peace and their inalienable rights.
Towards this malicious end, the Israeli government — in addition to its mighty military machine, the swallowing of Palestinian lands through illegal settlements, demolition of Palestinian homes, indiscriminate imprisonment of Palestinian demonstrators, the countless checkpoints it erects between Palestinian towns, etc. — has not only been turning a blind eye to continuous provocative and criminal acts committed by Jewish extremists against Palestinian civilians, but also encouraging such acts for the purpose of further uprooting the Palestinian people.
These acts, which have escalated both systematically and dramatically over the years, include, but are not limited to: the burning of mosques, the cutting of olive trees, the shooting of Palestinians going to work in their fields, the forced possession of some houses in Palestinian neighbourhoods, etc.
In the vast majority of these acts, the Israeli police or army “fails” to do anything to protect the Palestinian victims. When the Palestinians seek justice and retribution from Israeli courts, they get nowhere, as Israeli courts often turn down Palestinians petitions, for all kinds of pretexts, or legalise what the extremists commit.
All of this is part and parcel of Israel’s depopulation policies. When the Israelis were “establishing” their “home” on Palestinian lands in the 1930s and 1940s, they used not only violence but terrorism against the Palestinian owners and inhabitants of the land. The massacres of Deir Yassin, Qibya, and others speak louder than words. And so does the total demolition of the three Latrun villages of Amwas, Yalu, and Beit Nouba — in addition to others — in 1967.
The Israeli occupation machine has always relied, in dispossessing Palestinians and expanding its “homeland” into Palestine, on the various monsters and devils that it created.
The current extremists — religious as well as secular — are serving Israel’s selfish and narrow-minded interests, no doubt. However, what will Israel do when these extremists start harming Israelis directly? What should it do when the monsters it has created start backfiring?
It is these same extremists who assassinated former Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin, the only true Israeli peacemaker. Where would the Palestinians and Israelis be today had Rabin’s life been spared? Where would the region be? In a much better position.
And yet, Israel — which, like the Palestinians, has lost a lot as a result of the demise of Rabin — did nothing to combat its extremists. As a matter of fact, such extremism has not only grown, and grown more aggressive, but has become more widespread. The entire Israeli society has become more extreme and controlled by extremists: their current prime minister and the vast majority of his ministers included.
What the ultra-orthodox Jews of Israel — who, according to some estimates, constitute 10 per cent of the entire Israeli population — did to Margolese comes as a vivid reminder of the dangerous path Israel is following by either failing to curb, or nourishing, its extremism.
Margolese, a second-grader who was going to her religious school dressed modestly, was harassed and terrorised by a group of ultra-religious Jews, who called her a “whore” for dressing “immodestly.”
Should not this incident call for some soul-searching on the part of Israel, and some reconsideration of how it has been dealing with its own extremism? Shouldn’t it be a wake-up call for Israeli society?
What the extremist did to Margolese is a metaphor — though a small, tiny one — of what the Israeli extremists have been doing to the Palestinians for more than 80 years.