I’ve been living in Jerusalem for a year now, and spending most of my time in a progressive Jewish community which also prays three times a day and always recites the blessing after meals. One of the central moments in each of these moments of prayer times is the prayer to build Jerusalem: “boneh yerushalayim,” in Hebrew. In recent months, my Hebrew has finally progressed to the point where I’m able to change the words, and now I always say “al t’vaneh yerushalayim,” or “don’t build Jerusalem,” because real estate and new construction are two areas in which I think a cease-fire is just as necessary as the real thing in the south of the country.

This afternoon, a second Palestinian resident of Jerusalem attacked people on the street with a bulldozer, although this driver, thankfully, was not able to kill anyone before he was shot to death. Already the Israeli politicians are calling for his house to be torn down and his family to stop receiving social benefits, and East Jerusalem is being held at gunpoint by Israeli forces. Within minutes after the attack hit the news, Israeli citizens were calling for the driver’s family to be forcibly relocated to Gaza, and for revenge attacks on Palestinians.

I would personally like to see everyone on all sides of this conflict agree finally that everyone is a victim of something, and agree to group therapy, and move on. I would like the leaders on both sides of the Green Line to come to their senses, throw off the corruption, and make good-faith efforts at bringing peace. Barring that, I’d be satisfied with a majority of Israelis and Palestinians realizing that they have one major thing in common – terribly corrupt and ineffective leaders – and use that as the basis for real cooperation. I’d also like Moshiach ben David (or Moshichah bat David, perhaps) to finally come and fix the world, but I recognize that I’m probably not going to get what I want.

In the meantime, I’m not too worried this time about Israel’s long-term response. Why? Economics. The logical response to the latest attack, some are saying, is to stop letting Palestinian construction workers have access to large machines which can be used as weapons. But a majority of the labor force working on construction sites in Israel is made up of Palestinians. In Jerusalem, most of these are “legally” working, thanks to residency permits, but there are also tens of thousands of “illegal” workers (perhaps more) who manage to sneak in and out of the West Bank each week. By doing so, they can earn half of what they were able to earn legally before the travel restrictions were imposed on them in 1991, which was three years before the first suicide bomber attack occurred in Afula in April 1994.

If the government tried to block Palestinians from construction jobs, new construction would grind to a halt. And Jerusalem is becoming financially dependent on wealthy foreigners buying luxury apartments in buildings that won’t be completed for two years or more. While I’m sure the army will initiate a temporary crackdown on the “illegal” workers, I’m also sure it won’t last very long.

When I used to be a crunchy-granola nature-girl in high school, I frequently did something called “low-impact hiking” in the woods with my friends. If you’re not familiar with the term, it has nothing to do with the impact on the hiker, but everything to do with the impact on the environment. We not only cleaned up carefully after ourselves, but we also also made every effort to keep our tiny campfires contained in spots where they would cause the least damage, to keep to defined trails so that we wouldn’t inadvertently destroy wild plants, and to avoid using non-biodegradable pacakaging for the things we carried. Our goal was to be one with nature, but without making nature suffer any indignities as a result.

When I think now about the politics of this tiny strip of land, I wonder if the concept couldn’t be transferred. Stop changing the land for a while, stop making new laws for a while, and just let it all be. No massive new luxury buildings that the locals can’t afford, no new settlements, no new walls. No new restrictions, no new terrors. A cease-fire, yes, but more importantly, a cessation of all new creations until the existing problems are dealt with.

I want the Palestinians to keep their jobs, if that isn’t clear, and I think it would be a good thing if they were treated as “legal” again, so that they could earn a decent living again. I also want that damned wall to come down, so that Palestinian children can get to their school and hospitals again, and maybe in the next generation produce a leader of vision and sincerity. I want Israeli children to know their Palestinian neighbors, because nothing is as scary as the person you’ve never met.

I sit here in my apartment in Jerusalem, listening to sirens wailing in the distance, always wondering what will be next. The answers become more elusive every day, but I continue to hope.