Since the breakdown of the Oslo peace process in 2000 and the beginning of the second Intifada, conflict has escalated in Israel/Palestine and come to seem irreversible. The overwhelming power of the Israeli military has been unleashed against a largely defenseless population in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, driving Palestinians to despair and to desperate measures of retaliation. The author of this book, Michel Warschawski, has for many decades been active in building alliances of Jews and Palestinians to oppose the Israeli occupation. In this book, however, he focuses especially on the effects of the occupation on the occupiersthat is, on Israeli societyrather than its victims.
Warschawski describes the atrocities of the occupationfrom the sack of Ramallah to the massacre in Jenin, the razing of houses and refugee camps, shooting at ambulances and hospitals, the use of Palestinian civilians as human shieldsshowing how each of these pushes back the boundaries of what was previously thinkable. He documents the resulting shifts in Israeli political thought, citing Ariel Sharon, army officers and even rabbis who begin by describing Palestinians as Nazis and end by relying on the German army's tactics for subjugating the Warsaw ghetto. Toward an Open Tomb seeks to explain the forces within Israeli society and culture that are leading to this self-defeating result.
Warschawski has the keen eye of an Israeli insider. He develops a powerful critique of Israeli policies with a persuasive power drawn from his own Jewish origins and his deepening devotion to Jewish traditions.