This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
The skies are once again darkening over Palestine. As if it wasn’t dark enough.
With three Israeli teenagers missing and presumed kidnapped, Israel has unleashed its usual backlash against Palestinians. It’s overkill. Time to teach Palestinians yet another lesson on who is the boss.
The days ahead promise more of the same and – God forbid – the teenagers aren’t found alive, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen then.
The problem as always is the power disparity and the occupation itself. But in the rush to judgment all of that is left behind. The issue becomes the kidnapping of the innocent.
In occupation, the innocent suffer. Can it only be Palestinians who suffer?
There is a cost to occupation. Even the powerful have to pay a price. Jews have to pay a price – when they’re occupiers.
Missing Jews are a terrible to price to pay. But, then, Israeli jails are filled with “missing” Palestinians.
As usual ,the ratio of missing Jews and Palestinians is telling. No one wants to compare the missing – every missing person is a horror – but again the disparity is telling. Does this disparity signal the presumed worthiness of Jewish and Palestinian lives?
Missing too are Jewish ethics in Israel and elsewhere. The outrage about missing Jews – if it was only matched for missing Palestinians. One looks in vain for this outrage. Which itself is an outrage.
The shared intelligence, the Palestinian Authority’s willingness to devote its resources to find the missing Israelis, is commendable. If truth be told, however, the Palestinian Authority’s energy would be better spent searching for their own soul. That soul seems to be missing too.
Perhaps both could be done at the same time: searching for the teenagers and telling Israel to back out of its territory, never to return.
So return the missing – on all sides. Including the land and ethics and service to one’s own people.
When all the missing are returned then we could begin again. A fresh start, honoring all the missing, which, in justice, would be returned.