A Cry for Atonement

As a religious Jew deeply committed to the survival of Israel and the Jewish people, this is a moment of great pain and sadness. Every night I watch Palestinians being killed as they throw rocks or aim rifles at young Jewish soldiers.

My own son served in the Israeli army a few years ago in a combat unit on the West Bank. So when I watched on television Palestinians dipping their hands in the blood of two Israeli soldiers whose bodies they had just thrown from a second story window after stabbing them to death, I was sickened and shocked. I cried. It could have been my own son.

I deplore the violence. Yet in my view there can be no end to the violence until Israel withdraws its troops from the West Bank and Gaza, provides significant compensation for the families of Palestinians who were forced to leave their homes in 1948 (with corresponding compensation from Arab lands for Jews who fled Arab oppression in 1948-1954), and tells its 250,000 Jewish West Bank settlers to move back to the pre-1967 borders—or tells them that if they remain they must live according to the laws of a new Palestinian state.

The Palestinian people participated in a massive evil when they refused to allow Jewish refugees from Hitler's Europe to settle in the land of Palestine and create their own national self-determination there. But the subsequent expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the systematic oppression that both Palestinians and Israeli Arabs have faced from Israelis is another massive evil.

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Sojourners Magazine January-February 2001
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