Robyn Carolyn PriceRiadh Abu Eid checks his mobile phone while standing on the rubble of his demolished home in Lod, Israel. (photo: Robyn Carolyn Price)

A hummingbird’s nest sits in a high branch of the ficus tree on my porch in Los Angeles. Knitting together twigs, leaves, and small scraps, a mama bird has prepared a home for the babies she expects this spring.

I thought about that nest when I saw the ruins of the Abu Eid home in Lod.

This past December, the Israeli police demolished the Abu Eid’s home, and six others on the street, because the families did not have building permits for an area that is zoned “agricultural” instead of “residential.” Authorities acted despite the fact that the families have lived in the neighborhood for years and have repeatedly sought but been refused permits. Meanwhile, adjacent sites have been reclassified as “residential” for an Israeli housing development and a Jewish school.

Standing on the ruins of the Abu Eid’s home, I imagined the slabs of broken cement, bound together by a tangle of brown steel rods, as the building blocks of a nightmare nest. Its hollows are filled with a brown door, a flattened washing machine, and a plastic chair; its sides built up with a white sneaker, a tattered blanket, and a pink blouse with lace trim.

Tragic yet compelling, the smashed house bespeaks the home/no home predicament of Israel‘s Palestinian citizens. An art project befitting an inscrutable God, this nest will hold no babies come spring.


Diane WinstonDiane Winston holds the the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California. A national authority on religion and the media, her expertise includes religion, politics, and the news media as well as religion and the entertainment media. A journalist and a scholar, Winston’s current research interests are media coverage of Islam, religion and new media, and the place of religion in American identity. She writes a smart blog called the SCOOP and tweets too.

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6Reflections

Reflections

How can the world stand by as this happens? My heart goes out to all Palestinians because none of them have a place they can truly call home.

So unbelievable, so unfair. What I don't understand - why is this not news?

Because administrative discrimination - which is what this is an example of, and there are PLENTY of those in Israel (just make an effort to talk to any Palestinian who lives in the Occupied Territories) - is too complex and "mundane" for an "average American audience". And notoriously difficult to prove.

I would like you to write a similar article about why the Israelis are denied a secure homeland by almost the entire Arab/Islamic world. When Jews have been displaced by the countries they've lived in for generations (both in Europe and Africa), other Jews come to aid them to re-settle them where they can live out their lives in peace. Why hasn't the Islamic world (which is amazingly wealthy and full of resources) helped re-settle the Palestinians among them, and instead chooses to deny Israel and its Jews its tiny, little sliver of land (only a few kilometers wide in places) as a homeland.

A similar piece about Israel's general insecurity may seem like it will balance out the picture, but unfortunately it won't. The on-the-ground reality is too complex for that and simplistic responses like "let the Arab world absorb them" are an insult to that complexity. Only when we recognize the real humanity on both sides and the real roots of both peoples in Israel/Palestine will there be the inevitable two-state solution. One people's violence and/or injustices against another cannot defend retalitory injustices that serve no ultimate purpose other than perpetuating the status quo. At some point, it must stop. Simplistic responses only delay the possibility of an agreement.

In my humble opinion, from somebody who is generally very, very empathetic towards the Israeli viewpoint, these types of actions do nothing for their standing. I whole heartily agree with Rabbi Neil and hope his message prevails.