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My Turn: In the Middle East, nothing is ever simple

I read with interest the “My Turn” column by my friend Gray Fitzgerald, “Bulldozers leveled a dream of Mideast peace.” I wish the situation was as simple as the Rev. Fitzgerald presented it. But nothing in the Middle East ever is.

From what I understand, the Tent of Nations/Nassar Farm is a 100-acre farm located near the village of Nahalin, not far from Bethlehem in Area C of the West Bank. Area C is under both Israeli civil and security control, and Palestinians living in Area C are subject to the rule of the Israeli Civil Administration. Being subject to the rule of the Israeli Civil Administration, they must apply for permits and approval from the civil administration to build on or make any changes on their land, and/or appeal to the civil administration regarding any demolition orders.

The Nassars’ claims are being contested in a number of ways, including that the land in question (lower valley) is in fact Israeli state land and not the Nassars’ land, and that the Nassars never filed the appeal of the demolition order.

It should also be noted that Israel very aggressively seeks to maintain the land it claims to be Israeli state land and the Nassars were not singled out. Two weeks earlier, on May 15, the Israeli government demolished eight buildings in the Jewish Gush Etzion settlement, also not far from Bethlehem. Three homes were included in that demolition – one the residence of a single mother and her three sons.

The ongoing conflict in the Mideast is tragic. I hope and pray that we can stop fueling the fire of misunderstanding that comes with continually portraying Israel as the big, bad bully. Presenting a complex situation as simple and one-sided unfortunately does that.

(Rabbi Robin Nafshi is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth Jacob in Concord.)

Legacy Comments4

I want to clarify my post as it reads not as intended. There is blame enough on both sides for the on going problems. In this instance this olive grove had existed generations before some arbitrary and punitive security zone. This is a situation that will never be resolved pure and simple. There is no solution and can never be one in this part of the world without compromise. You do not extend an olive branch by extending it with a bulldozer.

Nor can you extend an olive branch by strapping on a bomb and killing people in a shopping mall. Nor can you extend the olive branch by declaring that you want to drive the other side into the sea. Nor can you extend an olive branch by firing rockets at your enemies.

Well bulldozing Palestinian homes and farms to build even more Jewish Housing is not exactly fueling the fire of misunderstanding. Perhaps the solution for Israel is what the US did to the Indians, push them off their land and put them in the middle of nowhere on ever shrinking reservations. I don't condone terrorism in any way shape or form, but don't even try to sell people on the whole It's our land argument and we are trying to get along peacefully, that boat just doesn't float.

"what the US did", more liberal guilt.

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