Bullets, stones, leaders, words

Sep 27, 2010
*Special to asia!

Against the backdrop of renewed violence and construction in the West Bank, all the words of the leaders in the so-called peace process are sounding hollow, compared to the arguments of an elderly Israeli who's almost seen it all.

“I have lost so many friends and their sons and so on. Enough.” he said.

Benny volunteered now with Israeli peace organisations in the West Bank and met the Palestinians  living in poverty there.

“A few men told me, with tears in their eyes, we cannot feed our children. There are (Palestinian) villages there without running water, and there are sprinklers irrigating the lawns in the settlements,” he noted.

“This situation is very comfortable for these people and our government and we cannot go on continuing to let them keep building in the occupied (Palestinian) territories.

“They do not understand that with bayonet, you can hunt, but you cannot keep the peace.”

He rejected a letter of condolence sent to him from the Ministry of Defence for the loss of his son. He criticised what he calls “the provocative and aggressive behaviour” of the Israeli soldiers in Palestinian villages in the West Bank.

“I saw how they are preventing poor peasants from cultivating their lands, thereby increasing hatred and vengefulness,” he continued. As a former soldier and an Israeli, he also observed how “destructive to psyche of young soldiers is the shameful and eroding service in the Territories.”

Benny Gefen is not a light-headed liberal left-wing activist gunning for peace. Neither is he a politician expressing empty rhetoric with little actions to back it up.

He is a former soldier who put his life on the line for Israel and more than paid his dues to his country. It is from voices like his which come the most authoritative argument for the need to peace.

More than the leaders in their ivory towers in Jerusalem, Ramallah or Washington, ordinary folks like Benny Gefen live with and bear the destructive nature of this conflict on both the Israelis and Palestinians. And this will carry on.

It will go on for as along as the leaders continue to dance around the peace without the audacity to deliver it to the Israeli and Palestinian people.

dan-chyi chua

Dan-Chyi Chua was a broadcast journalist, before forsaking Goggle Box Glitz for the Open Road. A three-year foray led her through the Middle East, China, SE Asia, Latin America and Cuba, and she's now grounded herself as a writer for theasiamag.com, content with spending her days in Jerusalem.

Contact Dan-Chyi