On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion by Alice Rothchild
On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion is a compelling collection of blog writing that chronicles a fact-finding and solidarity visit to the West Bank and Israel during the last three weeks of June 2014. Physician, author, filmmaker, and longtime activist Alice Rothchild turns her powers of careful observation and her deep understanding of the consequences of racism and occupation into a lively, honest, heart breaking, collection of reports from the field. She documents the stories and lives that do not make the evening news, but are essential to understanding the context in which that news occurs. Rothchild focuses her critical eye on the contradictions found within Israeli society, at once aspiring to be "the only democracy in the Middle East," and the same time deeply flawed by the decades of institutionally privileging the rights, aspirations, and anguish of Jewish over Palestinian citizens.
As the increasingly racist right wing governments in Israel create an atmosphere where hatred and distrust of Arabs is encouraged, she visits with Jewish and Palestinian Israeli activists from the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions, Zochrot, Boycott from Within, the Afro-Jerusalem Center and Adalah as well as representatives from the World Health Organization and Physicians for Human Rights Israel. With an eye towards detail and disparities, she documents the worsening realities in the Old City of Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, the disastrous consequences of the separation wall, and the spreading Jewish settlements surrounding the ever increasing borders of Greater Jerusalem. She explores the historical links dating back before the war in 1948, touring the abandoned Palestinian village of Lifta and the destroyed village of Imwas, now invisibly part of the nature reserve of Canada-Ayalon Park.
While Rothchild expected the delegation to focus on the longest Palestinian prisoner hunger strike in history and the debate over forced feeding, the kidnap of three settler teenagers from Hebron soon dominated the news. Rather than investigating this crime, the Israel government used this as an excuse to launch a full scale incursion into the West Bank, moving into villages and refugee camps at night, invading people's homes, arresting hundreds, killing ten, trashing and destroying buildings, and launching a campaign of demonization towards Hamas in Gaza. As this unfolded, it became clear to Rothchild that Netanyahu was determined to crush the Fatah/Hamas unity government and he had found his excuse. Israel launched air raids against Hamas before a single rocket was fired by insurgents. In On the Brink, Rothchild relentlessly documents the injustices, the inspiring resilience, and the intense yearning for the end to occupation and for a more just society both in Israel and the Occupied Territories