Congresswomen at Qalandiya, photo by J Street: (l to r) Yvette Clark, Donna Edwards, Jackie Speier, Gwen Moore, Barbara Lee, Eddie Bernice Johnson
People are talking about Linda Gradstein's report at JTA on a delegation of six congresswomen brought to the occupied territories by J Street. Piece is notable for Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco) likening the prospective political situation in the territories to apartheid (it's there already, if only reporters would say what they see...). And by a settler telling the politicians to forget about the two state solution. And by Rep Eddie Bernice Johnson saying the situation is a powder keg.
“This is a ticking bomb waiting to go off,” says Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.) “There must be some other way to do this. After so many years there should be some resolution for this issue.”
The congresswomen clearly are moved by their experience at the checkpoint, and that’s the point....
A group of Jewish women from several area settlements met with the congresswomen and told them they have no intention of leaving their homes.
“I’m holding the Bible; Shiloh was our first capital before Jerusalem and it has layers and layers of history,” Tzofiah Dorot, the director of Ancient Shiloh, told the women. “This is the heart of Israel and I don’t see a future for the state if you take the heart out.”
All of the women said they were sure that their settlements would remain part of Israel.
“This is our homeland, the homeland of the Jewish nation -- period,” Tamar Aslaf told the delegation. “A Palestinian who lives here is welcome to stay. It’s his home but it’s our homeland.”
Several of the settlers described a scenario in which Palestinians could stay in their homes but not receive national or voting rights. That drew a sharp reply from the congresswomen, five of whom are African Americans.
“Some people would call that apartheid,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), the only white congresswomen on the trip.
“It’s easy to sit in your comfortable house and decide what is good for the Jews,” Dorot responded. “I’m begging you to see that we’re not pieces of Lego you can move around. This is life and death. We all need to think out of the box. I’m asking you to forget about the two-state solution.”