Why I am moving to live in the West Bank
It’s a clear day – an August day in Israel waiting for the dawn. I take a look around my beloved home with mournful eyes before getting out the ladder and climbing – onto the roof. My husband and I sit down on top of the red metal roof and look out to where we see our neighbors doing the same. An entire town of husbands and wives sitting on roofs of their homes. We sit, we sing, we cry, we wait. Then, as the sun’s first rays are seen over the hills, we see them coming – a sea of soldiers walking up toward our town. And it is with a heavy, heavy heart that I look upon those soldiers that I have always looked upon with pride and do so even now – at the moment when I know they have come to take us all away.
It’s a scene familiar to those of us who watched the disengagement from Gaza in 2005 as we sat glued to our television screens. Although it was not me sitting on the roof then, and it was not me being led away, it’s a scenario that is not all that hard to imagine in my life. And I do imagine it. This summer, we will move to Israel. In all likelihood, we will move to a small yishuv (town) in the Shomron (northern West Bank) outside of the security fence still being built. We will be moving outside of the major blocs that many agree will be part of any future pull out.
In 1967, Israel was viciously attacked by Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria also contributed in some way to the offensive. At the end of the war, Israel had gained control of several key pieces of land including the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. They attacked Israel, Israel won the war and won control of land. Borders are redrawn at the end of many, many wars. Anywhere else in the world, and that would be the end of the story. But not in Israel.
The status of the land often referred to as “occupied territory” is complicated, lacks a simple solution that would satisfy all sides and is beyond the scope of this post. To that end I encourage everyone to do their homework, become informed members of the conversation. I do plan on making my home on land that I feel should belong to Israel, but I will also abide by any final decision made by the Israeli government. While the debate rages on, I’ll continue to protest, demonstrate, vote and argue. I hope that the government will see things my way and keep the land. But at the end of the day, I know its also important for us to be strong as one people and move forward as one people. So if that day in August ever does come, I’ll sit peacefully on top of my roof, make sure that my point was heard… and then wait for them to take me away.