Sunday, April 20, 2014

Neighborly Relations

I've always said it is the neighbors next door that will destroy our peace, not the neighbors across borders. This peace process of Kerry and Obama is sounding its death knell. Honestly, we all knew it was going to go this way but Bibi had this misguided notion that if we followed the road to the dead end we all knew was there, maybe...maybe...maybe, the world would correctly identify the ones who jammed the road, blocked all avenues, and spiraled the Middle East back into violence.

But was obvious all along that this is what would be done; this is how it would be played. The world thinks Israel lost out on an opportunity - but it wasn't an opportunity in the first place or in the last place and no amount of wishing or delusional thoughts can change that.

My stomach is all churning this morning and I'm annoyed - and I realized that this is my point. The Palestinians will do what they want and honestly, as Abba Eban said years ago - they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. This is just one of many.

So, while they live in less than ideal conditions and are restricted by virtue of the threat they pose to us - there is a one-to-one relationship, a very real one, we live in freedom.

We have wonderful lives here and often what annoys us most is not the neighbors across borders but the neighbors across the street, down the block or whatever.

So today it's the neighbor a few doors down who put in his rental contract that the tenants living in his illegal apartment couldn't park in front of HIS house...leaving them to park everywhere else and annoy most of the neighbors on all sides. And when his tenant put her car in front of my house for four days without moving it, I put my car in front of their house rather than take another neighbor's spot. To that, the tenant put a note on my car asking me not to park there and denying it was his tenants' car (then not even apologizing when the tenant admitted it WAS her car).

This time, their tenants parked their army-issued DMAX jeep/truck in front, filling the whole area in front of my house instead of his driving another few seconds and taking a spot just down the hill of where he lives....that left us having to walk past his house and three more houses to find the next available spot...and so this morning, knowing we'd be one spot short later today when Shmulik returns home from work, I put one of our cars there...this is where you have the choice to be a mentsch (a good person) or a mamzer (well, technically this is a bastard, but in this case, it just means a lousy person).

They could see that their tenant took the spot in front of our house and now that there are plenty of spots, they could ask him to move it and then explain that he didn't have anywhere else (not true) and they'd asked him to move and could we now move our car...or they can choose lousy - they chose lousy, nasty, rude and more. Instead of dealing with their tenant, they moved a second car of theirs in front of my house when I went to do the shopping. And they offered us a deal - they won't park in front of our house and we shouldn't park in front of theirs. Sounds like a good deal - but oh, right, wait...the tenants can park wherever they want. Sounds like a deal Fatah and Hamas could get behind!

So now two of their cars are taking the two spots we typically take. Where is the logic in that? Do these stupid people realize nothing is being gained here? No...of course not.

And when I saw the neighbor and said something about why his tenants couldn't park in front of HIS house, he answered, "who said they [the tenants] couldn't park there" (meaning in front of his house). Well, BOTH your tenants AND the father of one of them (duh...).

When I mentioned that his father had put it IN the rental contract, that they couldn't use the parking, he said, "who told you that?" Oh, the tenant (husband and wife), the father of the tenant, etc. etc. He denied it and said that if I don't park in front of his house, he won't park in front of mine. And went back to his previous offer - minus any restrictions on the tenant. Nice guy...not.
Oh yes, I know how petty this all sounds - and that is my point exactly and why I confess to this here. You see, we are not challenged by the fall of the "peace" process - it falls every other year, if not every other month.

We ARE living in peace now; we have beautiful homes and nice cars and jobs and all the latest everything. We have automated toll roads and automated parking systems and automated billing for all our utilities. We have cellphones and fast computers. We have one of the most advanced medical systems in the world. We have top universities (4 our of 6 are in the top 100 or 200 in the world) and they pick up the garbage regularly and plant flowers seasonally in our cities.

We work hard and we enjoy life and if we lack peace now and then - honestly, it isn't because of the problems with the Palestinians. It is because sometimes we are our own worst neighbors...or we unlucky enough to live near one like that.

In short, if you are mourning the death of the peace process, don't. It never had a chance from the outset. And no, we aren't happy about that at all - we do, desperately, want peace across borders. But for now, this week, this month, this year and perhaps even this decade, we'll settle for the stinking tenant parking in front of the stinking neighbor and being considerate enough to realize that we have as much right to comfort as they do.

And with that, I'll wish all of the House of Israel, including those miserable neighbors...a chag samayah - a happy and peaceful holiday.


George said...

It would be very sad if your neighbor's car(s) suddenly had four flat tyres. Just saying...

Anonymous said...

George, I just read your comment and made a very unladylike snort. Thanks! (But if they are car(s), wouldn't 8 be a better number? Just saying.)

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