In my beautiful brown fortress on Balfour Street, cleverly named after the Balfour Declaration, in our eternal capital of Jerusalem, I’m dreaming about ever-expanding settlements when awakened by shouts and thundering footsteps that crush my bedroom door and leave my imperial bed surrounded by armed men speaking Arabic.
“Guards, kill them at once,” I order.
“I’m afraid your guards are no more,” says a young man I assume is in command.
“Get dressed at once.”
“I demand privacy.”
He raises his revolver and fires a shot into the mattress on each side of me. Thank God Mrs. Netanyahu’s out of town. I arise, naked and rather fat, and slip on clothes men throw at me.
“You won’t need a suitcase,” says the commander.
“You’re going to prison or worse,” I say.
“You – and therefore all of us – have only a few more minutes to evacuate this condemned site.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Two large men one on each side grab my arms, burying knuckles into armpits, and lead me out of the bedroom, down the hall, and quickly out of my home. A dozen bulldozers are lined up facing the front and side walls of my compound.
“Is everyone out?” shouts the commander.
“Probably,” someone answers.
“Then get started,” he says.
The bulldozers begin to batter and chip the stone walls.
“Didn’t know you objected to bulldozers, Bibi.”
“This is a cowardly crime.”
“No, here, read our paperwork. The second part’s in Hebrew. I’ll just tell you the essence. You didn’t have a proper building permit when this house was constructed. It must therefore be destroyed.”
“Of course I had an official building permit. Jerusalem’s our capital.”
“It’s not all yours,” the commander says.
“West Jerusalem’s officially ours according to international law.”
“Perhaps, but as this ancient map proves, this property is owned by Arabs.”
“Your bulldozers aren’t having much effect.”
“Naturally, this isn’t a shack under occupation. We’ll let you watch a few more minutes, then blow the place up. Everyone in this neighborhood’s got to go. I expect we’ll live in all these homes, except yours.”
I start cursing in basic Arabic I learned years ago as an elite member of the armed forces but one of the goons shoves a handkerchief in my mouth while another blindfolds me, and together they pull into a windowless van, jump inside, and I’m driven away.
In less an hour the van stops and the men jerk me outside, remove the blindfold, and the commander, who’s driven us, says, “Here’s your new home.”
“This is your home,” I say, gesturing toward hovels in a parched and broken land. “My home’s in the beautiful condominiums in hills around you.”
“Now the hills surround you. That shack’s yours.”
The commander and the two men leave. In less than an hour I hotwire and borrow a car and drive to the checkpoint where not Jews but Arabs stand armed and at attention.
“Your papers,” says a guard.
I show my ID and say, “I’m the prime minister of Israel.”
“Better keep that quiet.”
“Where’s the registration for this car?”
They take me to jail where I demand, “I want my lawyer.”
“There’ll be no lawyer,” says another officious Arab.
“I demand a trial.”
“There’ll be no trial.”
“I demand to know what the hell’s happening.”
“Simple. You’re going to prison.”
Six months later, most in solitary, I’m released and taken back to the shack I’d been assigned. It’s dirty and bug-infested and there’s no damn electricity or water. It’s winter and cold as hell especially when I have to go to the bathroom, which is hardpan outside. I’m not going to live like this. I organize my new neighbors, who’re other confused Jews. We save money from our jobs as laborers and, after futile waiting for bureaucratic permission, we hire carpenters, plumbers, and electricians to build decent houses. I soon feel stronger in mind and body and tell my neighbors, “We must expand our organization to the adjoining communities.”
“Good idea, but we can’t drive directly to the village over there,” says a bearded man I won’t identify.
“We’ll change that.”
In the morning bulldozers and armed men surround our shacks.
“Where are your building permits?” says the commander.
“The right question,” I say, “is where the hell are the permits we applied for?”
“These houses are illegal structures on land you don’t own and will be destroyed in five minutes, once you’ve removed your belongings.”
“We’d rather die,” I say.
“Be careful talking like that.”
“Where the hell do you expect us to go?”