'Balance' in Palestine and Israel

- by Fred Schlomka
I received a phone call at 7am this morning from the USA, from a Jewish family seeking a tour of the West Bank. Uppermost in their minds was the notion that this should be a ‘balanced tour’. I asked what they meant by ‘balance’ and received a vague answer about giving equal weight to both sides.

“We don’t do that”, I answered, and here’s why. 

Israel is the 4th most powerful nuclear state on the planet. Palestine is a collection of Arab reservations in the West Bank who have the armed capacity of a county government in the USA.

Green Olive doesn’t see the ‘balance’ here. 

Palestine continues to have land confiscated and Israeli/Jewish settlers continue to move there. We are in the middle of the largest expansion of the settlements in the 50-year history of the Occupation.

We don’t see much ‘balance’ in this situation. 

The Green Olive Collective does not advocate any nationalist ideology. However we do advocate for full and equal civil and political rights for everyone between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, regardless of the final outcome - one state - two states etc. Currently the state of Israel controls the entire territory and in East Jerusalem and the West Bank Jewish residents are full citizens, whereas their Muslim and Christian neighbours are not, and are subject to military law.

There is no ‘Balance’ in this scenario. 

In many parts of Area ‘C’ of the West Bank, notably the Jordan Valley, Gush Etzion, Shilo district, and the South Hebron Hills, Land confiscation and forced relocation of Muslim residents is ongoing in these areas, while any Jew in the world can live in any of the segregated Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank.

I fail to see any ‘Balance’ in these activities.

The state of Israel continues (along with Egypt) to control and restrict ingress and egress to and from the Gaza strip, including a blockade of the coastline. Israel also controls the ingress and egress of Palestinians in the West Bank and routinely either expels people from the territory, or forbids them to travel. The Palestinian Authority has no say in this process.

‘Balance’ is not an operational term in Israel/Palestine

Finally, so long as I can travel the length and breadth of this country with a privileged ID card, come and go as I please, and have full access to a judiciary that still provides some semblance of justice - but my Palestinian friends cannot - then there is not and cannot be ‘Balance’

Fred Schlomka is the CEO of the Green Olive Collective.


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  1. Israel BorenshteinJune 12, 2016 at 3:10 PM

    Hello Fred, I would blame the pallestinans for all security measures taken by israeli authorities. I would blame the palestinian authority for the negative education they give their children, sowing hatred and lies based on antisemitism against jews.I would on the other hand tell about numerous efforts of lay israeli citizens to cooperate with palestinians in everyday life.
    Thank god the israeli IDF has the power to restrain most of terrorist plans so as to give the majority of the population on both sides to live their lives.

    1. Yes, blaming Palestinians for their own Occupation is very common among Israelis. Blame the Palestinian victims who have no citizenship and have been under military Occupation for 49 years. You can't imagine what that feels like.
      Each of your charges can be answered.
      1. Regarding the negative education received by Palestinian children. I agree that encouraging dialog would seem to be the way forward. However equally reprehensible is the lack of acknowledgement of Palestinian sovereignty in the Israeli education system. Just as many Palestinian schoolbooks do not show Israel, so too maps in Israeli schoolbooks do not differentiate between the State of Israel and the territory Occupied since 1967.
      2. I find very little classic anti-semitism among Palestinians The hatred stems from the Occupation, lack of rights, and the continuing confiscation of Palestinians land.
      3. According to our government, more than 15,000 Palestinians are illegally at work in Israel every day, without much incidents. If Palestinian militias wanted to ramp up terrorism within Israel it would not be difficult since the wall/fence is very porous.

  2. Thank you for painting a picture of the reality, Fred. You have done it in as balanced a way as is possible.


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