Though I do not agree with her obvious anti-urban bias (“trends of most urban environments”… yawn… 1983, before you were even born, called, and wants its stereotypes back), I did find this article to be a good one.
This past month I went on a trip to Ramallah with J Street. I signed up for the trip with very little in terms of expectations – I was merely looking forward to a tour of Ramallah. Of course, I hoped the trip would be an educational experience. I expected to hear insight from Palestinians, activists and UN officials that I would disagree with. However, the most alarming encounters I was confronted with were from the American Jewish college students with whom I traveled.
Say it ain’t so.
We then continued on to the annexed part of Jerusalem, called Shuafat. A woman from Machsom Watch, an NGO for human rights in the occupied territories, referred to Shuafat as a refugee camp, though don’t let images of tents pop into your head. The woman only took us a few steps into the Shuafat entrance, which, in accordance with trends of most urban environments, is not the most desirable side of town.
The Jerusalem Light Rail runs through, and in fact has three stations in, Shuafat, which I’m sure is simply ‘Public Transit-Washing’ to certain ‘activists,’ though I’m sure it makes an actual difference in the real lives of Arab citizens of the neighborhood, who have access to the rest of the city and the rest of Israel through it.
A “refugee camp?” Seriously? Are you kidding me?
So-called “refugee camps” only exist in Lebanon and Jordan, along with the PA- and Hamas-controlled areas of ‘Palestine,’ where they house not “refugees,” but rather force humans into squalor for generations as a sick weapon to use toward their goal of ending the world’s sole Jewish state.
(talk about Apartheid…)
Shuafat is a neighborhood of Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem, which the Jewish state invests in building infrastructure for, and in, regardless of whether some perpetual ‘victims,’ as noted above, like it or not.
I would be willing to bet that the residents of Shuafat whose mobility and opportunities have been greatly extended, probably don’t want Israel to rip up the transit system it’s built there, in order to assuage the ‘concerns’ of antisemitic anti-Israel NGOs, and others who make their living off of pushing hate.
(How many NGOs have built public transit systems for Palestinians, I must ask?)
Upon her fellows expressing shock and awe over Israeli security these days, Ms. Adatto makes a very prescient point, which many, if not most, comfortable Americans can never understand –
The students put so much emphasis on their own feelings that they completely disregarded the fact that Israel faces security threats. They believed these checkpoints were unnecessary and caused emotional harm to the Palestinians. I mentioned to them that I was extremely grateful for these checkpoints. As someone who has been living in Israel for the past six months, public transportation is part of daily life. I don’t travel around Israel on a Birthright bus, with a tour group, or in a taxi. These checkpoints ensure my safety, and the safety of every Israeli, when we step onto a public bus. It was extremely upsetting to hear such blatant disregard for the safety of the people of Israel.
Especially these days, this reminds me in particular of ‘progressive leftists’ who root on and excuse riots in cities and neighborhoods they don’t live in, and likely would never even set foot in.
Not everybody is out and about for smiles and laughter. Some folks are out to kill others, sadly. In places like Israel, an unfortunately necessary part of life consists of soldiers making sure that this bus ride isn’t your last. Whether it makes American college students ‘feel guilty,’ or ‘privileged,’ or ‘guilty’ about their ‘privilege,’ or whatever.
Call Amy Goodman about it when you get home, I’m sure she’s very concerned. As for most Israelis, I’m pretty sure they’d prefer not to end up at their destination dead.
I did not necessarily find what the PLO negotiator had to say disturbing, because I expected it from him. What I found most upsetting was the reactions from my fellow students, who were so out of touch with the Israeli reality. Too concerned with the feelings of the Palestinians, these students completely took for granted the safe environment the Israeli government and military have established.
Now doesn’t that sound familiar?
Whether clubbing at 2 a.m. on Ben Yehudah Street, sitting at a café in Tel Aviv, or tanning on the beaches in Eilat, the actions that Israel has taken to keep its citizens and its tourists protected are invaluable.
Cross posted at ‘Israel Thrives’ here