Unconfirmed sources report that newly evicted Jewish settlers have gained a new insight into why the Palestinians have been so upset for so long. The Jewish settlers who have been evicted from their homes in the Gaza strip find themselves questioning their role in the conflict that has gripped the region. Some former settlers have even reached out to displaced Palestinians to help them deal with the sense of loss they feel.
“It’s a strange and wonderful feeling.” Says former settler Yitzak Healer, Who until recently had lived in Shirat Hayam. “I have always been mad at the Palestinians for fighting us, but I have come to a new understanding of their feelings. I just got taken from my land and it hurts like hell, 50 years ago they were driven from their land and they must have hurt too. How could we have done this to the Palestinians? I have lived in the settlement for 12 years. I can only imagine the loss felt by a man whose family had lived on the land for 12 generations.”
Yitzak Healer is not alone in his new understanding of the situation. Hundreds of former settlers have founded a new activist group and are appealing to the Israeli government to forcefully evacuate the entire West Bank and give it back to the Palestinians. The group has even reached out to Palestinians to help council it’s members on how to deal with the tremendous sense of loss they feel. Members of the new group have even asked the government for permission to return to the hold out settlements to help convince the settlers to leave the Gaza strip peacefully.
“This is an amazing development.”, says Middle East Expert Juan Cole. “I would never have guessed that former settlers would find common cause with the Palestinians in calling for the end of the illegal occupation of the West Bank. This could be the seed of something truly great for the region. Just imagine it, a grass roots effort by Palestinians and former settlers to bring true and lasting peace to the region. I’ve leaned a lesson watching this unfolding situation. Never underestimate the power of common experience to bond a people, even Jews and Arabs, when it comes to a desire for peace.”