Elaborating on a blog post at my other blog “Loving Home in Practice”
“Home(full)ness” is the concept of living fully in place. Its the basis of indigenous societies (including nomadic), and of ecological social views. It implies a loving relation to home (however defined), loved and loving.
The question certainly applies to Jews and other communities, including Palestinian.
Different similar themes reflect the social justice issues around Israel and Palestine.
For Jews in the early to mid-twentieth century, we realized that we needed a home. We were a coherent people, but without a home place. The former social (rather than geo-social) sentiment of “our family is our home”, or “our community is our home”, no longer sufficed, neither subjectively nor objectively. Cosmopolitan enlightened individualism compelled doubt towards the comfort of family or community as home. MANY Jews throughout the world were not safe. The coherence of continued Jewish community (our home) was not confident.
Between the Balfour Declaration, and the incremental improvement in sympathy towards the Jewish community following pogroms, Dreyfus debacle, holocaust; and the chaos in the Levantine colonized Arab world in the late 19th to mid-20th century, the sentimental dreamed land of Israel was first an ultimately God-promised, then Great Britain promised, then after the San Remo agreements a European promised, possibility of home and state. Israel and Israelis have not yet made the shift to home(full)ness. They are still on home(maybe)ness, some determined by external parties and events, some by the internal adoption of a commercial rather than ecological model of a mature society.
Homelessness to home-maybe-ness. Home(ful)ness comes only after peace and living well and lovingly in place.
For Palestinians, the assertion by solidarity is that the land was always home, always lived home(fully), at least as far as person-person story can convey. The land was home, and the communities were home. (Palestinian and all traditional societies relate to their family and community as home, in similar ways to the Jewish sense of family and community – but with very differing specific characteristics).
Within Palestinian culture, there was confusion as to political degree of pan-Arabic identification and/or pan-Islamic, versus distinctly Palestinian identity. (The identification with Palestine is more prominently an integration of social home with geographic home, whereas pan-Arab identification is of a people more than a place, and pan-Islamic is a human identification – for those that subscribe to the Islamic credo.)
It actually took the emergence, and then victory of Israel and the suppression of Palestinians to convey the more prominent specifically Palestinian national identification over the pan-Arab and pan-Islamic. Palestinians currently identify as Palestinians prominently, socially and politically in affirmation for self-governance, including West Bank refugee and indigenous, Israeli Palestinian, Gazan refugee and indigenous, middle eastern diaspora refugee, and western diaspora.
In some respects, the presence of Zionism is a zero-sum for Palestinian home(ful)ness. So long as Zionists remain, and more importantly, dominate and expand, Palestinians cannot establish the geographic relationship of towns and villages that would constitute coherence as a society.
In other respects, in a setting in which peace is possible, and “enough Israel” is possible and adopted by Zionists, then both communities may have the prospect of feeling that they live in a home space. Home(full)ness – objectively, individually subjectively and as communities.
For Israel, the evolution is internal and fundamental. From “wandering Jew” to living in place.
The transition is psychological, individual and collective. It comes from a weaving of neighbors, from a welcomed web of mutually dependent, mutually enhancing relations. In contrast, the commercial Jewish norm is alienating of person from neighbor, person from deep self, person from place.
Its as if Israelis have not yet decided if they truly intend to live there, themselves indefinitely, in place that is coherent and safe for their children, grand-children, ad infinitum.
I consider the effort to transform from home(less)ness to home(full)ness, to be an important, a progressive effort (in the real meaning of the term progressive – social well-being).
That moderate Israeli home-full-ness seems that it could be compatible with Palestinian home-full-ness is reassuring to me, in similar ways to the hope that Israelis that worship the ONE can acknowledge that Muslims similarly commitedly worship the ONE and that in doing so, the religions should be more kindred than adversarial.
The trick to accomplishing that, is for Israelis to undertake efforts that are home-full, in forms that don’t undermine Palestinian home-full-ness.
Israelis haven’t decided yet though whether they feel that they can co-exist with Palestinians or not. And, in a conspiracy of mutual distrust, many Palestinian solidarity regard Israelis firming up their home-full-ness in even “enough Israel”, even in ways that are independent or reject the occupation of the West Bank and isolation of Gaza, as by definition a destruction of Palestinian home-full-ness.
Better that we are all comfortable, accepted.
For my mind, the fundamental primary divide is not between Israel and Palestine, but between those that conclude that peace is impossible (Israeli, Palestinian and radical solidarity right – even when they call themselves left), and the willing (Israeli and Palestinian moderate and idealists).
It constructs a goal of home(full)ness for both communities, that what is moving forward is what makes each and either community more healthy, more safe, more well-integrated, more lovingly living in place.
No more zero-sum.