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Inter alia - a thought

For now, Israel is too powerful. An uprising may assert the right to life, land, and dignity. But it will not change the brutal facts on the ground.

Palestinian students visit home of teacher Riham Dawabsha during her funeral, Nablus, September 2015. Palestinian students visit home of teacher Riham Dawabsha during her funeral, Nablus, September 2015. Demotix/ Mahmoud Illean. All rights reserved.Analyses coming out of Israel & Palestine are floating in a feeling that the pressure is building & will burst. If not this year, then soon. The next generation has come of age. There is a yearning for this eruption, at least in the pages and social media passing before me - out of pain, anger, frustration and outrage. An intensity of pent-up, impotent fury at the vicious inhumanity of those holding a people captive while violating all the laws of humanity and at the vapid cowardice and selfish indifference of the governments and nations watching this without lifting a finger.

But an uprising will not be how this is brought to an end. An uprising will cause violence, death & horror – ruptured limbs and homes, blood, whose explosive tangibility for a moment lets fury and pain flow outward, instead of surging helplessly within. An uprising that embodies, in all its violence, the yearning for once, to finally live freely and at peace, outside the cage built by Israel.

But it will still be an uprising in a cage. And the cage will not bend.

The only way this will end will be for Israel either to consciously choose to begin taking apart the cage or for Israel to be torn apart by what such cages do to every cage-builder: turn them ever more into the beast that they imagined was out there, seeking to destroy them, but which is actually within.

Israel must take apart the cage, or the nation will be torn apart by the rapacious violence that cages unleash in those who build them. It is, after all, a cage held together by blood, by the broken bodies of those eaten by the cage and by the corrosive acid rising from within as Israeli society eats its own humanity. As it eats another's life, land and soul. This can only be sustained for so long before its people lose faith, flee, or eat each other.

There are some in Israel who know this. Better than anyone outside Israel can know and feel this. Palestine is too weak to disrupt Israel's hold. An uprising will be a blood sacrifice, nothing more. I do not want that ritual. I do not want those young men to rise, beautiful with the pure life of youth about to be shot in mid-leap, about to lie bloody, distorted and ugly with death in the hungry dust. However much and however justly the words of others passing before me want the uprising.

This is painful. Because of course one wants the end of Israel's occupation to not depend on Israel itself, but to be in the hands of those it denigrates and spits upon. But, for now, Israel is too powerful. An uprising may shore up pride, assert the will to live, to be human, the right to life, land, and dignity. But it will not change the brutal facts on the ground.

I say this to the pages passing before me & to my own desire within, a desire I also sense in others: the lure of imagining violence can be a solution to violence & the temptation that comes with it to support others rising up uselessly as a way of channeling my own horror and outrage.

Instead, this is what we must make do with, for now: Israel is rotting from within: day by day it is losing itself, with every woman it shoots, man it tortures, child it arrests, drop of ground and water it wrests away from those it hates, despises and humiliates. The rot is not visible, hidden by shiny guns, sunny houses, vibrant life. But its stink reaches all the way to here.

Even as our countries simply watch.

About the author

Markha Valenta lives in Amsterdam and works at Radboud University Nijmegen. Her current work concerns the politics of religion and culture in global cities, international relations and secular democracies, with a focus on north America, western Europe, and India. A corresponding concern of the last decade has been the accommodation and discrimination of Muslim minorities in secular democracies since 9/11. She has also worked for the Scientific Council for Government Policy and is a regular participant in Dutch debates on these issues.

Her openDemocracy column is Inter Alia.

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