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Mar. 26th, 2011

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Jan. 18th, 2011

(no subject)

A private response to my government's actions regarding civilians in Gaza

 

The Israeli government seemingly assumes that by punishing the civilian population of Gaza it can put pressure on Hamas to cease sending qassams and firing mortars into Israel.  The idea was flawed from the beginning; the reaction of Hamas to the blockade over the years has shown that it will allow Gazans to suffer terribly rather than depart from its intentions.

The Israeli government, in its turn, cares even less about the citizens of Gaza than does Hamas. 

Many Israeli civilians feel shamed and guilty regarding the deaths of innocents in Gaza and the misery caused by the blockade.  But there are stringent limitations on personal contact between Israelis and citizens of Gaza; communications are monitored, mail and parcels are blocked altogether.  Some method of allowing wider communications between private citizens must be sought.

I propose a sustained "March to Gaza" of Israeli citizens carrying items in short supply in Gaza.  The march made not in a spirit of charity or handouts, but in appreciation that by extension, we are all responsible for the actions, sins and delusions of our government.

                                    -------------------------------------------------------------

 

The initial "March"

In order to lessen the chances that the Israeli authorities will confiscate the articles carried to the entry points, or abuse those carrying the items, the following ideas may be useful:

1)     The initial groups should be composed of retirees, grandparents bringing gifts for the children of Gaza the ages of their own grandchildren.  The advantages of this idea is that it may be expected that young soldiers will be a bit more respectful, or at least less inclined to hurt people the age of their own grandparents.  If, none the-less the marchers are detained for a few hours, more or less, the fact that they are retired will cause them fewer difficulties than those who have young children and/or who are employed.

2)    I suggest that the first march be of grandparents carrying toys for the children of Gaza will make it more difficult for the government or the IDF to claim that the items may be dangerous or “aid the enemy”.   I am told that the BBC will film the March.  The presence of TV cameras will inhibit the IDF; I suggest that it will not wish to make itself look foolish, petty, and churlish on international news programs by denying entry   to toys. 

3)    The most convenient entry to Gaza from Israel is the border crossing at the Erez.   It may be reached by following Highway 4 to its end.   The distances to the Erez crossing point from Kibbutz Yad Mordechai or Moshav Nativ HaAsera are well within walking distance for healthy retirees and both are served by public transportation or easily reached by private meansI suggest that the initial marches be funded by those making the march.  Toys are within the economic capabilities of most people and I think it important that the acceptance of personal responsibility of private Israelis for the condition in Gaza should be emphasized. 

Obviously, a onetime event will not achieve anything useful.  Depending on the number of volunteers, a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly march should be the desired goal.  If a number of marches are successful, that is, if they succeed in moving the items from one side of the border to the other, then it may be possible to acquire financial aid in order to purchase items of greater need to the population of Gaza.

It will be necessary to avoid becoming involved with either the black Market in Gaza, or the Hamas authority.  In either case, the Israeli government or others would be provided with an excuse to refuse entry into Gaza of no matter what items the marchers were carrying.  If UNRWA would accept the gifts and assume responsibility for their distribution, the problem of being involved with the black market or Hamas could be solved.  Unfortunately, the involvement of a United Nations organization in a political act might prove embarrassing for the U.N.  .  I do not know how this potential problem may be resolved, but I trust that there are legal ways and means open known to others closer to the daily problems experienced by the citizens of Gaza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct. 1st, 2010

BY LAND AND/OR BY SEA

Book a place on the good steamer Peace in spite of all the odds.

 

(Those who suffer from sea sickness need not apply).

 

 

by Arieh Zimmerman on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 12:00pm

DISMANTLING THE BLOCKADE

I intend to keep posting this to FB.  It is an idea that will not only play well in the media, but, more importantly may appeal to other Israelis searching for a non-violent method to apply grass root pressure to Bibi and his attack dogs.

I propose a daily ship traveling from Haifa, Tel Aviv then Ashdod and docking at Gaza. Prices for the voyage set low enough to allow most Israelis to sail, and high enough to pay for the voyage with an amount reserved for the purchase of articles in short supply in Gaza. The items will be distributed by UNRWA and thus avoid the black market. Wealthy and just plain benevolent benefactors wishing to support the idea will be welcomed.

 

 

Galina Reznik One of my friends suggest Hamas will capture the passengers as bait to get their own prisoners out of jail, what’s your thought on that? That is what she is worried about with the Jewish boat Irene heading their now..I don’t think I agree with her, but I don’t know enough.

      

 Tuesday at 12:14pm · Like

Arieh Zimmerman Certainly the first few boats will be boarded by the IDF, if at the same time Hamas will attempt to capture the vessel, or those on it, the plan will not quite be what I have envisioned. And that, for a crass American Jewish Israeli, is a neat bit of British understatement.

      

Tuesday at 12:19pm · Like

Harvey Stein VERY interesting idea, Arieh. You could use a great publicist, and trainers in non-violence. Projects like this are essential to keeping us peace activists in the world and not just on our blogs! Keep me posted...I'm a video journalist/filmmaker and I could do a short news item on this project.

       

Arieh Zimmerman Harvey, If you know of any publicists or trainers who would contribute pro-bono, (certainly so in the beginning), can you contact them?

 

Tuesday at 12:30pm · Like · 1 person        Harvey Stein Seriously, I think we should find an NGO here (in Israel) to sponsor the project. Write up a 1-page proposal and send it to me, and I"ll circulate it as best I can.

 

I have lost the name of a friend who suggested that we use border crossing at Erez; either method or both should be attempted or any other that allows for a possibility of success.

 

 

 

Sep. 28th, 2010

Hope and tears provoked by the same author

ISRAEL: THE ONLY DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST?

September 27th, 2010 | by David Shulman

An-Nabi Salih, September 25, 2010

Something new is happening in Palestine. I saw and heard things today that are relatively rare in my experience. I saw conflict erupt in the village between those who wanted to throw stones at the Israeli soldiers and generate more violence, as in the past, and the no less passionate people who intervened fiercely to prevent this from happening. I heard tough words of peace and hope. I saw the most dignified and brave demonstration I’ve ever seen. I also saw the army react with its usual foolishness, which I’ll describe, and I saw the soldiers hold back when they could easily have started shooting. It wasn’t an easy day by any means, but it was good.

An-Nabi Salih is a hard place. When Ezra heard me say yesterday, in Sheikh Jarrah, that I was going to the village, he said, “Take a helmet. They’re violent there, all of them” (he meant: settlers, soldiers, and villagers). Yesterday, at the usual Friday demonstration in the village, the soldiers fired rounds of live ammunition along with rubber-coated bullets and tear gas and stun grenades. I was expecting more of the same today.

The village, north and west of Ramallah, has the great misfortune of having the hard-core settlement of Halamish as its unwanted neighbor. An-Nabi Salih lost some of its lands to the settlement along with access to a fresh-water spring, a precious thing in this arid, sun-scorched landscape; the settlers stole the spring, but the villagers were not prepared to surrender it, so there have been many violent clashes, spread over years. The settlers do whatever they can to make the villagers’ life miserable, with much success, and the soldiers, as always, back them up. All this is standard practice.

Today is International Peace Day, and the Palestinian Movement of Non-Violent Resistance, run by Ali Abu ‘Awad from Beit ‘Umar (with offices in Bethlehem), has planned a celebration-cum-workday in An-Nabi Salih. Hundreds of Palestinian activists were supposed to arrive from all over the West Bank—but the army has turned all the buses away and closed the roads. We run into the same roadblocks at the main turn-off from Highway 60 running north through the West Bank. The soldiers laugh at us when we tell them we’re going to An-Nabi Salih. No chance, they say, of getting through. But this is the West Bank, and there is always a way, maybe not an easy way, but some back road or goat track or dirt path that will get you where you’re going; so we wind our way for close to two hours, through Jiljiliya and other quite lovely villages until we fetch up at Qarawat Bani Zeid, close to our goal. But there is, we know from Ali and Alison, another army roadblock at the entrance to the village. The Tel Aviv contingent tried to get past them by running a few hundred yards over the hills, and several of the activists were caught and arrested. Do we want to attempt the same tactic?

At least some of us may get through, but we hesitate: is it worth the hassle of the arrests and the violence? On the other hand, having come so far, how can we simply turn back? Seven of us are prepared to run the gauntlet. Finally, at high noon, Ali leads us down into the rocky terraces and olive groves underneath An-Nabi Salih. Leaping over the rocky ledges, we descend to a level that is hopefully beyond the soldiers’ range of vision, and for twenty minutes or so we creep stealthily from tree to tree and rock to rock, in near-total silence, playing hide-and-seek, outflanking them, crouching, holding our breath, hoping to emerge far enough past the roadblock to elude capture. It’s very hot, and I’m thirsty and, by the end, physically depleted; it’s been 33 years, I calculate, since I last engaged in such games, in my Basic Training in the army. So absorbed am I in the play that I hardly take in the splendor of the hills rolling dizzily toward the horizon, but at one point I do see, just above my head, an olive branch laden with green fruit almost exploding with ripeness. Soon autumn will come, and the olive harvest; on the way in the minibus, bouncing over the back roads, there was even a sweet moment of rain, with the sharp smell, unlike all others, of wet dust settling to the ground.

There are eleven of us: seven Ta’ayush volunteers, two Palestinian women in modern dress, head covered, from Beit ‘Umar, Alison and Ali himself, tall, graceful, careful, prescient. At one point we almost make a bad mistake, start climbing up too soon, too close to the soldiers; but Ali catches this in time and leads us back down through the trees and brambles. When we do move up to the road, we find ourselves very much inside the village, welcomed warmly by two elderly gentlemen, who come to shake my hand, and then by a contingent of teenagers. The first thing I see is a huge sign, in Arabic and English: “The children of this land deserve our struggle and sacrifices for peace.” Fifteen yards down the main street, another one: “We believe in non-violence, do you? We are making social change, are you?” A few yards further along: “La salam ma’a wujud al-ihtilal, “Making peace means ending the occupation.” Biggest of all, draped over the entrance to the town meeting place: “Keeping our political prisoners behind the bars of tyranny and injustice is inexcusable on International Peace Day.”

Do I believe in non-violent struggle? Yes, with all my heart. And I see that I’m not alone—indeed, far from it. We sit at first, re-hydrating, under the enormous tree in the village square, just like in India. Our hosts serve us Turkish coffee and mineral water. We make some friends. One of the village elders says to me with irony (remember yesterday’s live ammunition): “Welcome to Eden.” Actually, though, he just might be right. The heat intensifies. Eventually, inevitably, it is time for the speeches. Popular Arabic music is blaring at deafening volume from the loudspeakers as we take our seats under a wide canvas. It goes on and on, until, mercifully, a young poet takes the microphone and recites a poem. A passage from the Qur’an is sung. The poet introduces the speakers one by one. I’m weary and, at first, a bit bored.

Normally, I have no patience with political speeches in the villages (how many hours of rhetorical Arabic have I sat through?), but today’s surprise me, shake me awake: “We are against violence, we condemn it, we want to be free, the occupation with its hatred is destroying hope but we persevere for the sake of our children, we will win.” More poems, dramatically sung or recited, punctuate these orations. Now Ali rises to speak—in English, so that all the Israelis and the foreign volunteers can understand: “I bow my head to all the volunteers who came to An-Nabi Salih today, who struggled past the soldiers and the roadblocks and didn’t turn back. Our struggle is complicated and hard, a struggle that we all share—local leaders of the villages, women, children, families—the first large-scale Palestinian non-violent movement on the ground, aimed at building a just peace with Israel. When I see Israeli activists coming here to the village, my heart cries with happiness; I am honored to have these people with us. To all the Jews I say: you are not my enemy. The occupation is your enemy, as it is ours. The Israeli state is a state that eats its children by sending them with weapons to kill and be killed. When you hurt us to the point where we lose our fear of dying, all of us together lose our love of living. They closed off An-Nabi Salih today to keep us out; they know how to put up checkpoints, but they do not know how to fight the feeling of freedom we hold in our hearts. We say to you today, on the Day of Peace: Peace itself is the way to peace, and there is no peace without freedom. I am proud to be in An-Nabi Salih, and I promise you: we’re gonna make it.”

As if on cue, soldiers roll into the village in their jeeps; they do what soldiers do, that is, they threaten, they bully, they make arrests, they take their hostages to an olive grove on the other side of the houses, facing Halamish. Our hosts ask us if we would be prepared to take water to the new arrestees (they don’t want to approach the soldiers themselves), so of course we set off through the village streets and down the hill until we find them. Some ten to fifteen soldiers, weighed down by what looks like tons of equipment, green camouflage netting on their helmets and rifles in their arms, are guarding a group of twenty-some students from Bir Zeit university who came to join today’s festivities. We bring water, we chat with the captives, and suddenly it transpires that we’ve been added to their number; the soldiers won’t allow us back into the village. They don’t want outsiders in there, they’re glad they’ve thinned the ranks. (The presence of foreigners, especially Israelis, makes it harder for them to shoot.) After a few minutes we tire of this and strike out uphill, dodging the soldiers, who are clumsy, weighed down by their guns and all the rest, as they join hands to create a wall and hold us back, and skirmishes develop, and then the first stun grenade, and it ends with four activists, including Sahar and Lihi, caught, handcuffed and forced to the ground. I am too quick for them, as often, and escape their clutches by following Jonathan farther into the trees.

By the time I regain the village, the main procession—the ritual dénouement of the day– is already forming. I hear mothers telling their young boys to go home, to stay out of it, watch them pushing them away. Originally the idea was to reach the stolen spring, but the soldiers, waiting for us in force at the turn in the road, put an end to this dream. Tear-gas canisters and cartridges of rubber-coated bullets are loaded on to the rifles pointed at the crowd of women, children, men, young and old, many carrying in their arms green saplings that we wanted to plant around the spring. We sit on the pavement with the soldiers almost close enough to touch, they’re aiming at us, and I’m a little afraid they might open fire like yesterday, and even more afraid that one of the kids will throw a rock and all hell will break loose, but there’s also suddenly no end to the happiness that is washing over me in this crazy late-afternoon moment that I am lucky enough to witness as the light softens to a golden glow and a blessed wind gusts through the trees. People are singing: freedom songs. They swell to a sweet and strident chorus.

If the Israeli army had a brain, which it apparently doesn’t; if the government of Israel had even an iota of generosity of spirit, which it doesn’t; if the people of Israel and the Jewish people throughout the world could open their ears and hear the voices I heard today, in Arabic and English, but they can’t; if the world weren’t all upside down and crooked and cruel, but it is—if all these ifs could only stop being ifs, then they, whoever gave the orders, wouldn’t have tried to stop us from coming to An-Nabi Salih today, in fact they would have welcomed the arrival of this new generation of proud peace activists from Hebron and Ramallah and Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and the Palestinian Movement of Non-Violent Resistance wouldn’t be pushing the heavy rock uphill, day after day. I guess it’s in the nature of such movements to struggle with the rock. Human hearts are heavy as stone.

Something new is happening in Palestine.




  
  

  



Sep. 26th, 2010

Reality Rules

Deal with reality, leave your dreams on your pillow

Reality rules. When emotions boil over and blame is the focus of attention, nothing good can be accomplished for, or by either side.

What is the reality? Jews now occupy a certain portion of the land of Israel/Palestine; allow me to divide that land according to a usage which might be useful for diplomatic efforts toward a true and equitable peace.

1) Land allotted to Israel by the U.N. in1947.

2) Land within the 1967 armistice lines.

3) Land currently occupied by the Hill Top settlers.

Palestinians currently occupy land as follows:

1) Gaza

2) That part of the West Bank not currently colonized by Israeli settlers.

3) The more than 4.5 million Palestinian refugees scattered, like the Jews of not all that long ago, over the entire world. (note: Bedouin in Israel currently occupy lands not yet taken from them by a government ignorant of cause and effect).

The reality is that the Israelis are by far the stronger economically and militarily; they will not be moved from within the 1967 borders.

The reality is that the forefathers of the Arab population began to occupy the land some short time after the Jews were sent packing by the Romans, something close to 50 generations. They will not be moved farther from their ancient lands , not even by the most virulent of Zionist fanatics.

The current division of Palestinian land is a result of an Israeli land grab accomplished after the 1967 war. That land is the most fertile on the West Bank; the land and homes sites of the Palestinians are stolen property. One cannot imagine any Nation agreeing to theft of that nature; if Israel truly values peace over land, Israel must return that land.

One of the greatest problems facing Peace Makers is hardly ever discussed is to what degree are the West and the Arabian oil rich sheikdoms willing to bear the cost of:

1) Moving the Israeli settlers off Palestinian land to housing in Israel proper?

2) What will be the cost of moving the Palestinian refugees from the camps to a normal life, including decent housing, the possibility of work according to their education and talents, and a society and culture of their choosing?

It is obvious that even together; the sums of money necessary are beyond the capacity of Israel and Palestine.

The reality is regardless of how in the end the land is divided, regardless if a one state or a two state solution is the final result, there must be agreement on several questions, or any eventual peaceful solution will not will not be ‘final’ for any reasonable length of time.

The land is dry, the summers are apparently becoming hotter and the water available for agriculture is increasingly limited. Even today, potable water for domestic use in Gaza is in seriously short supply.

In order for Palestine to become even partially independent of the Israeli economy, heavy investment must be made in the basic infrastructure, in services, in housing, and in all the basic amenities which normal people may expect in the modern world.

So many unaddressed questions remain to be asked, so many answers need to be satisfied before any real progress can be made, that the continual childish rants and raves made daily, even at the level of Facebook, serve only to unnecessarily lengthen the time of the hurt and deprivation of too many Palestinian citizens.

The Blame Game is a cop-out. What actions, based on an objective analysis of the situation on the ground, should be attempted. Emotional reactions to the stupid actions and reactions made by either side may be understandable, but they do not accomplish anything.

Sep. 10th, 2010

"Conversation" with a Right-Winger

Between You and Moti Gur
Moti Gur September 9 at 11:11pm Report
Dear Arieh ,

Shana Tova

I worte a letter to old friend Eli Goldsmit. I think you know him.
He told me about your liberal view and I decided to forward this letter to Eli to you too.

Eli, I was helping to raise money to help the cost t bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Operation Shlomo.

Eli, when I came to California I asked by the Israeli consulate to organize the kids teenagers of Israeli’s families. I did and it become big group of kids and for two years it grab me very much with many discussion on many issues regards Israel, the HISTORY of Israel and the Jews in the land of Israel, Truth, right, wrong.. EXT

I am not involve in the eternal politics in Israel, I am on face book with the Likud and I met just about every Israeli’s minister that came to Los Angeles the last thirty years.

When you talk about Left and Right in political sense. I will answer it to you the same as I asked a question to John Mearsheimer of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, Professor of International Relations at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University that wrote together the book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. When they came to speak in Los Angeles

First I must remind you Eli. I can not stand hypocrisy!

This was my question to them: Can you please tell me, as a very distinguish Liberal Professors, that wave the Liberal flags all over with rights and equalities to all, yet you wrote the book that put Israel, this tiny democracy and the only democracy in the Middle East through a meat grinder with half thru and re editing history, questioning its legitimately. Wishing to destroy the only place in the Middle East where Arabs enjoying true Human rights, Women Rights, Gay Rights, Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, Ext…There are two answers to this 1) you must be the biggest Hypocrite to your Liberaliom. Or 2) you are simply Anti Semitic that hate the Jews. I think you are both.
PS (To hate Israel is the new age Anti Semitisms)

They answered in a smooth slinky way simply we like Jews. And I thought at that time …Yes..Like the Jews walking to the Gas Chambers!


When the question about Israel legitimate right to exist as a Jewish state. You can be a Liberal and say NO Israel has NO right to be a Jewish state!
You can be a conservative on the right and say that the Jews have the right to their ancient home land.

Thank G-D that I live in the Western Civilization and not in an Arab
country where if Islam do not aprove what you write, say, paint, drew, dress, sing, if you gay or strait, if you save or not ..EXT...
You may be facing death. I think Islam is evil ideality! Not a religion.


Once again Shana Tova to you and all the family

Moti
 
 
Arieh Zimmerman September 10 at 8:05am
Well Moti, you have a fine way with sugar coated insult, and who am I to deny you the pleasure of it.
My answer is such that I have great hopes that you will not think it 'hypocritical' or "slinky".
To criticize the worst government is Israel since Saul tried to kill David, is not the equivalent of saying that the State of Israel has no right to exist. After all, I am here and you are not.
Israel is here and will not be moved; Palestinians are here, and even the Bibi/Avigdor Axis is not going to be able to move them.
So, either we continue to kill each other, or we make peace. Simple no? Even a Likudnik ought to be able to get it.
Israel is by so much the stronger politically and militarily, that simple logic ought to make it simple to see that it can deal from a position of strength, while the Palestinians cannot. So, putting aside paranoia and fear of the dark and unknown, Israel should attempt the great feat of being the first and the most supple to make concessions.
A smidgen of empathy and maturity would help our right-wing government, but I am afraid that they are beyond the mental and emotional capacity of my government's lousy politicians.
So, in spite of politics and 'slinkyness' ,

חג סמח

Arieh Zimmerman

p.s. for a real laugh, you might peruse my blog:
http:/ariehzimmerman.livejounal.com


 

Sep. 3rd, 2010

In reply to an article uploaded to facebook by a friend. IMMIGRATION AND BIGOTRY

Free speech vs. anti-immigration hatred expressed freely...Liberals in a bind. My take is: speech is, and must be free, but free advertizing which sparks hatred should be priced out of the market.

Mona, thank you for up-loading the article.

I will admit that I have a problem with this subject, but it begins at home. It seems to me that the ultra orthodox Jews in Israel create a home grown problem for the the larger society. A great many of the men do not engage in income producing labor and are are financial burden on the rest of society; they produce extremely large families but not the wherewithal to care for them. The education of their many children is not such as to however slowly integrate their children or their children's children into the larger society. But that, for me is not the worst of it; they, (the blasted ever present "they"), vote en block according to their rabbi's instructions, always right-wing and thusly anti-peace.
While there is no perfect parallel between the problems created by Israel's ultra-religious and the Muslim population of Germany, as noted in the article you uploaded, the parallel to the degree that it exists is, again for me, not Muslims per se, and the larger German culture, (spelled kultur I suppose), but between the non-religious, or much less religious German majority and the much more religious immigrant population.

That is to say that while I am not anti-Islam any more than I am anti-Jewish, I am anti-Religion rather than anti-religious.
Seen this way, what I am calling the problem is a good deal more complex than simple and obnoxious racial hatred.
In the United States, specifically in New York, the ultra-orthodox Jews have successfully integrated with the larger population without assimilation, but they present a much smaller percent of the population the the immigrants in Germany and in Europe as a whole.
As a liberal, as an ultra-liberal, I see no clear resolution of the "problem", neither intellectually, nor emotionally.
But I would very much like to hear from those who have successfully found a solution where I have found none. As I stated in the beginning, it is a very uncomfortable position for a liberal.

Mona Eltahawy, Iwrote:

"Arieh - thank you. You present a fascinating parallel to consider. I too am a liberal who hates the calls for censorship or silencing of those abhorrent views of the right wing because I know here in the U.S. at least their rights stem from the same Constitution that gives the Park51 people the right to build their community centre and mosque there.

I know that not everybody who opposes Park51 is a bigot but I also know that many who do are using the cover of 9/11 sensitivities.

 Same with immigration debate - I know there are many good people, within and without the immigrant and the Muslim community who want to have a serious discussion about what the community itself has or hasn't done to help its integration and what the State has or hasn't done to help. But they remain silent because they don't want to associated with right wing, bigoted, racist, xenophobic, etc. political opportunists.

 Why did it take this Sarrazin person to write a book that started a debate Germany needed to have? And why is the book so antagonistic? Where are the good liberal, left wing think tanks and writers and why have they ignored these issues? We could go on..."

Aug. 25th, 2010

Deal with reality, leave your dreams on your pillow

Reality rules. When emotions boil over and blame is the focus of attention, nothing good can be accomplished for, or by either side.

What is the reality? Jews now occupy a certain portion of the land of Israel/Palestine; allow me to divide that land according to a usage which might be useful for diplomatic efforts toward a true and equitable peace.

1) Land allotted to Israel by the U.N. in1947.

2) Land within the 1967 armistice lines. 

3) Land currently occupied by the Hill Top settlers.

 

Palestinians currently occupy land as follows:

1) Gaza

2) That part of the West Bank not currently colonized by Israeli settlers.

3) The more than 4.5 million Palestinian refugees scattered, like the Jews of not all that long ago, over the entire world.  (note:  Bedouin in Israel currently occupy lands not yet taken from them by a government ignorant of cause and effect).

The reality is that the Israelis are by far the stronger economically and militarily; they will not be moved from within the 1967 borders.

The reality is that the forefathers of the Arab population began to occupy the land some short time after the Jews were sent packing by the Romans, something close to 50 generations. They will not be moved farther from their ancient lands , not even by the most virulent of Zionist fanatics. 

The current division of Palestinian land is a result of an Israeli land grab accomplished after the 1967 war. That land is the most fertile on the West Bank; the land and homes sites of the Palestinians are stolen property. One cannot imagine any Nation agreeing to theft of that nature; if Israel truly values peace over land, Israel must return that land.

One of the greatest problems facing Peace Makers is hardly ever discussed is to what degree are the West and the Arabian oil rich sheikdoms willing to bear the cost of:

1) Moving the Israeli settlers off Palestinian land to housing in Israel proper?

2) What will be the cost of moving the Palestinian refugees from the camps to a normal life, including decent housing, the possibility of work according to their education and talents, and a society and culture of their choosing? 

It is obvious that even together; the sums of money necessary are beyond the capacity of Israel and Palestine.

The reality is regardless of how in the end the land is divided, regardless if a one state or a two state solution is the final result, there must be agreement on several questions, or any eventual peaceful solution will not will not be ‘final’ for any reasonable length of time.

The land is dry, the summers are apparently becoming hotter and the water available for agriculture is increasingly limited. Even today, potable water for domestic use in Gaza is in seriously short supply.

In order for Palestine to become even partially independent of the Israeli economy, heavy investment must be made in the basic infrastructure, in services, in housing, and in all the basic amenities which normal people may expect in the modern world.

So many unaddressed questions remain to be asked, so many answers need to be satisfied before any real progress can be made, that the continual childish rants and raves made daily, even at the level of Facebook, serve only to unnecessarily lengthen the time of the hurt and deprivation of too many Palestinian citizens.

The Blame Game is a cop-out. What actions, based on an objective analysis of the situation on the ground, should be attempted. Emotional reactions to the stupid actions and reactions made by either side may be understandable, but they do not accomplish anything.
 


Aug. 13th, 2010

(no subject)


What it comes to in the end is that we are all individually responsible for our actions, or if inactive, we are responsible for that as well. 

The advancement of humanity in and for the human race is slow, excruciatingly slow, But we do advance…Slavery was largely understood to be "natural", until what, say 12 generations ago?

All the drives that caused men to slaughter one another, to dominate and subjugate women, to hate the "other", still exist. But more and more those drives are being subjected to cultural control; patriarchal societies like the Germany of old, Victorian England, pre-war Japan, and some present day Islamic countries are no longer the norm.

So, since we are responsible for our actions, we can choose sides. We can, if we are capable of it, choose to refuse to serve beyond the Green Line; we can choose to follow our own personal sense of ethics rather than rally round the flag hanging limply from the masochistic pole of nationalism. We can evidently choose, if we are women of conscience, to gather up Palestinian kids and give them the treat of a day by the sea. We can choose to leave the computer and demonstrate at Sheikh Jarrah.

For the moment, in my opinion, what we can do most importantly, is to try to revive the peace movement and what the Left once stood for. There are thousands of people doing just that, Israelis and, if you are ignorant of it, Google it!, Palestinians as well. Without a strong party of the Left the Bibi/Avigdor Axis will continue to control the State and drive the public towards even greater paranoia.

It doesn't matter on the personal level whether it is only a dream of a tired old liberal, on the personal level it really doesn't matter at all if in the end we fail. Realpolitik aside, only I am responsible for my actions, or inaction, and so are you friend.


BDS


As a rule I am against boycotts, BDS and the like, whether of Iran, Israel, Turkey or any other Nation is of no matter.

I think that if collective guilt cannot be shown, then collective punishment is not justifiable; it never seems to hurt the people who have earned the anger of the boycotters but only the innocent around them; collateral damage I believe it is called. On the other hand, the proposed Palestinian BDS of Jewish West Bank industry and produce is clearly aimed at the settlers whose theft of Palestinian land has earned them this absolutely appropriate response.

As for our Knesset legislating against individuals who propose actions against our homeland because they hold our government responsible for its stupidity and power mad application of force many times what is necessary, it is no more than any of us should expect from the worst government, minus the judiciary, since Saul tried to have David murdered. The application of BDS involves a ethical difference of opinion regarding punishing the innocent with the guilty; I do not agree with its application, but I can understand the frustration of Israelis, (and others), when faced with the moral blindness of most Knesset Members in regard to human rights of the Palestinian peoples. The thought of our politicians punishing anybody for bringing our nation into disrepute is farcical to the point of tears.


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