I came across a good "sign" while riding through Bethlehem. It reads in rainbow colors: "Women say no to the rules of Occupation. Civilian zone: No entry to the army. This road leads to Palestinian settlements. Israeli civilians do not be afraid! Come and visit Palestinian settlements. Refuse to be enemies!"
It's an invitation to Jews to enter Palestinian Area A, which is under full Palestinian civilian and police control. It's illegal for Israelis (read: Jews) to enter Area A, or Palestinian "settlements." (I like how they're called "settlements" too!) The Israeli government made it illegal because they don't want liability for anything that might happen to Jews. Jews are often afraid of entering. They fear getting kidnapped or assaulted. With the history of violence between Jews and Arabs, one can understand that fear. But Jews forget that in the 1990s, Jews freely entered all these territories and enjoyed friendships with the locals. Palestinians, likewise, travelled freely to Tel Aviv, Haifa, etc.
Then came the Oslo Accords, which armed the Palestinians. Jew-hating terrorists with brand new guns ruined the party for all. Fences, walls, checkpoints went up. Enmity became commonplace.
I'm not sure who put up the sign, but I assume they're Left-wingers who disdain Israel's military presence in the West Bank. Still, it's a good start for restoring freedom of movement for Jews in the West Bank and creating a "peace process" on the ground, the only kind that can really sustain.
I don't want to be enemies. The question is: do the Arabs? Guess I'll have to pass the sign to find out....
Check out Orit's debut novel: The Settler.
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