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On Za’atara Junction

“You have no idea how I hate you, how much I detest you”, said the only colonist passing the Za’atara Junction today (“Tapuach” in colonist lingo). He was secular. The religious do not travel the road from Nablus to Jerusalem on a holiday. Only Palestinian cars passed us, their passengers smiling, welcoming and waving their hands, and holding out their fingers in the V=Victory sign. Not victory in battle but in the heart, the victory of mutual hope, of “so good you’ve come here!”

The sun was seething, but our hearts celebrated the Palestinian children who stuck their laughing faces out of the car windows. The hour there passed with great relief. The place was filled with brotherhood. Something broad, open to possibilities, spread out from the junction to the hills around. In the north was Huwara, the beaten-up town trying to reclaim some sort of everyday life. Today at the Za’atara Junction we could breathe deeply. A new experience, relaxed. No one cursed anyone.

Until the secular colonist arrived. He passed us and then turned along the roundabout and got closer to us, opened his window and said in a voice loud and clear: “You have no idea how I hate you! How much I detest you!”

Filled with hatred, he took that roundabout again and again and gave a slow look that matched his words.

It’s such a heavy load for the mind-soul, to hate so much, to detest even. How much emotional energy is wasted for such a man on us, people coming to express solidarity with Palestinians, the most weakened population between the river and the sea.

This Jew had only hatred in his Shavuot basket, and his hatred filled his heart and mouth and car and drove after him on the road until he disappeared beyond the curve.

And we? Folded up our banners reminding people that there is “No democracy with occupation!” and drove on to Huwara to buy those crunchy delicately sweet biscuits, covered with sesame seeds.

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