A Palestine That Israelis Can't See

How Does an Unsustainable Situation Keep On Going?

Dead End: It’s a truism to say that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is unsustainable. So why does it show no sign of ending anytime soon?
getty images
Dead End: It’s a truism to say that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is unsustainable. So why does it show no sign of ending anytime soon?

By Sam Bahour

Published November 18, 2012, issue of November 23, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

They can’t see bank investment committee members toiling with the moral dilemma of financing projects in the besieged Gaza, when nothing in their formal education ever prepared them for the market risk of societal collapse that they must calculate into their decisions every day.

They were blind to the excitement and grassroots campaigning across cities and villages in the occupied Palestinian territory as West Bank residents recently went to the polls, again, for municipal elections.

Most important, they also can’t see something much more serious than any of this — that the Israeli status quo, built on a cruel collective indifference, and the false glow of a rigged prosperity in which the Israeli public is basking can lead to only one outcome: collapse.

Socially, economically and definitely politically, Palestinians will not, and cannot, take any route other than reducing their efforts to build their state and redoubling their efforts toward ridding themselves of the Israeli boot of occupation pressing on their necks. Even if successful in attaining non-member state status in the U.N., the upgraded status will be used as a tool of resistance to terminate this doomed occupation once and for all.

Israelis may be living in utter denial of the peculiar and unsustainable reality they have created by the sheer might of force — but this is no excuse for the rest of the world, especially the United States, not to wake up and realize that ending the occupation has the potential to release a tremendous amount of positive energy in the Palestinian community — a necessary energy for a party to negotiate in good faith as it rebuilds its society from the ruins of decades of destitution.

Ending this military occupation, at long last, will not totally resolve the conflict. Yet in light of current trends putting Israel on a collision course with history, arranging for Palestinians to reach the point where they have real authority over their affairs would be a huge step forward, one that could save many lives on both sides of the Wall.

Sam Bahour is a business development consultant living in Ramallah. He frequently provides independent commentary on Palestine and serves as a policy adviser of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He blogs at www.epalestine.com.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.