An Israeli Settler I Want to Live Beside

Book Review of Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine: Zionism, Settler Colonialism, and the Case for One Democratic State

Sam Bahour
12 min readJan 2, 2021

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Imagine, God forbid, that you and a friend are being rushed into a hospital emergency room by a life-support ambulance team. One of you is still living; the other died at the scene.

The horrific event that brought you both to this point was perpetrated in broad daylight, creating a public and angry outcry. The public has gathered in the parking lot of the hospital, its anger growing by the second. Inside, the health professionals do their job in a cold, systematic manner, as trained. The first decision is to take the still-living victim to triage and prepare them for a life-saving operation. The cadaver is immediately sent to the morgue with an order for a fast-track autopsy, in order for the growing crowd outside to be addressed with facts to suppress the gossip spreading like wildfire as the media arrives to witness the mayhem.

The two lead medical professionals inside the emergency room have vastly different duties. The physician overseeing the operation cares less about the circumstances that created the mutilated body in front of her. She is laser-focused on all the vital signs of the patient as she makes her first, of what will be many, incisions. The physician’s entire world is confined to the ecosystem of a single operating room, a single bed, with a single patient. Time is of the essence. Her team is an extension of her every move. The entire operating team has one goal: save the life of the patient. In parallel, and with the same urgency, another emergency room team member is questioning the patient’s family. The medical history of the patient is vital to the surgeon. Was the patient dealing with any disease, did he take any medications, etc. At this precise moment, the entire hospital team cares less about how this patient’s life may develop after recovery — will the patient be happy or sad, be successful or not, land their dream job or be unemployed, will marry or divorce, etc. Any consideration other than life, at this point, is totally moot.

On the other hand, the pathologist undergoing the autopsy is in no rush. His focus is to make sure a full set of data is…

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