Two Sides of the Road

by Kevin Stricke-9 Saturday, Jul. 27, 2002 at 8:53 AM

Israeli embassy on Thurs July 25, a protest was called by LA Jews for a Just Peace and other orgs and individuals sympathetic to the Palestinians. It was in response to the latest Israeli bombings in Gaza. The other side was present across the road.

Los Angeles, CA: The Israeli Consulate, in the
heart of Wilshire Boulevard’s “Miracle Mile” district,
was the sight of a peaceful protest against Israel’s
recent attack on the Gaza Strip. The rush hour
gathering was called by LA Jews for a Just Peace, who
dressed as Israeli border guards.
Spokesman Barry Trachtenberg explained that the
intent was “to highlight the brutality of the Israel,
[such as when] stepping up the offensive is considered
a military success.”
LA Jews for a Just Peace endorse the “right of
return.” Which is the right for Palestinian refugees
to return and swell the Israeli population to the tune
of 3 million Arabs. For this reason, they were not
joined by Arabic organizations, but not American Peace Now, the extension of
Israel’s Peace Now movement.
The issue of “right of return” is crucial to the
question of whether Israel/Palestine is to remain a
Jewish State. It is the right of every Jew to return
to his or her ancestral home which has brought
immigrants to Israel from throughout the Jewish
Trachtenberg said that he, and those for whom he
was the appointed spokesman, were working to create a
“fundamental transformation” of Israel into a country that prioritizes democracy over religious identity.

On the other side of Wilshire Boulevard, under
Israeli and American flags, and signs and banners of
their own, was the other side of the “right of return”
As Jennifer Dekel from Bruins for Israel told me,
“I used to believe in two states, but now I only
believe one is possible.”
By one state she means one Jewish state called
Israel, not two states called Israel and Palestine,
and not one state called Israel/Palestine for Jews and
Muslims, as Trachtenberg as his cohorts are calling

One state or two states is the question which holds
up every dialogue on this issue, for the simple reason
that neither side has a definitive position. In both
the Israeli and Palestinian camps, a two state system
is seen as concession.
For the Israeli hardliners, creating a sovereign
nation of Palestine, would be to create a neighboring
enemy. For the Palestinian hardliners, accepting
separate nations Israel and Palestine is to legitimize
what they believe was an illegitimate Jewish claim to
the land. Those on either side who support two
states, do so knowing it is a band-aid to a larger
For Shady Hakim, of American Friends Service
Committee, the phrase , “end the occupation”, written on many of the
protesters signs, means a return
to the ‘67 borders and a shared Jerusalem.
“The Palestinian moderates exist,” said Hakim, “and
after the Oslo Treaty people were rebuilding homes and
there was an excitement that the situation would
improve, but now they see the [Oslo] peace process as
in reality a long term cooptation.”

This perception is disputed by those on the other
side of the road. A man who asked only to be
identified as Raymond “if Israel were imperialists,
they would take over the whole Middle East. We just
want this one portion of land, which was given to us
in the Bible.”
According to Raymond, Israel and it’s supporters do
not want to kick out the Muslims, but the attacks
against Israeli civilians leaves them no choice.

Back to the other side of the road and Hakim says “the average Palestinian wants to live in peace,
but it’s hard to ask someone living under a
stranglehold to show unilateral good faith.”
At that moment, Hakim, who had been holding a sign
with a red cross painted on it, was approached by one
of the protesters dressed as an Israeli border guard.
“Come on,” she says in character, “there’s a woman
giving a birth to a baby.”

I return to the Zionist side of the road where I am
informed by everyone I speak to that the Palestinians
don’t want peace.