Anaylsis: A glimpse of hope in the land of the blind
TO FIND a glimmer of hope on the Israel-Palestine question is almost impossible. Most Israelis now believe that a peaceful solution will not come in their generation.
As for the Palestinians, the political stalemate, and ongoing Israeli occupation, has led to radicalisation: if they cannot have “something,” they want it all.
Many believe time is on the Palestinians’ side. Even the most moderate Palestinians now reject Israeli leftists’ offers of help in terms of human support against the actions of Israeli settlers or police. The political dialogue between moderates of both camps is mostly dead.
As Israel has developed, its Arab citizens have been ignored, left with no hope of social mobility, they are second-class citizens even if their living standards are higher than those of most Arabs in the region.
This distrustful ignorance of the other can be found everywhere in Israel, except in hospitals.
Because of an urgent eye problem upon my arrival in Israel in late June, I had to spend seven hours in the ophthalmology department of the Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem, in Jerusalem.
What I saw during those hours were the most comforting and hopeful signs that I have encountered in the entire region in many years. Arab citizens of Israel – that is, Palestinian doctors and nurses – were treating Jewish and Arab patients. Israeli doctors and nurses attended to Arabs’ needs. I even saw some interaction among patients themselves. Old Israelis who had clearly come from Eastern Europe were playing with very young Palestinian children. There was an atmosphere of reassuring tolerance of the other.
In the highly professional atmosphere of the hospital, one could glimpse what the future might hold with different political leadership on both sides.
It was as if the ill were behaving in a healthy way, whereas, outside hospital, the healthy were behaving pathologically. In the hospital, patients’ only choice was to place themselves in the hands of the other.
What I encountered that day in Ein Kerem was the best of Israel – and a direct rebuttal to the frequent accusation that Israel is an “apartheid state.”
And it was fitting that this token of a possible future should be found in an ophthalmology department, an enterprise devoted to restoring vision.
• Dominique Moisi is the founder of the French Institute of International Affairs.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: West