West Bank Horror

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on September 29, 2010

There is much hand wringing about Israel, Palestine, and the Peace Process. ( That is an opening sentence you can use at any time. It is almost like “these things too shall pass away”.)
A lot of this chatter misses the point. They talk about a threat to Israel if this or that happens, or does not happen. There are several things wrong here. To begin with, Israel has the unquestioning support of the United States. The PR battle in the USA is the most important fight Israel has.
A “freeze” in building settlements ended recently. The word settlement is so antiseptic and painless. Settlements are not built on empty land. The people living on the land were evicted, and their homes destroyed. As Juan Cole tells the story:
“The poor Palestinians of East Jerusalem have few assured human or civil rights. Anyone may do anything to them at any time, and they have little recourse. They can be thrown out of property they legally purchased after 1948, and made to live in tents in front of their former residences; and then the tents can be demolished by Israeli police. Aggressive, larcenous Jewish squatters continually attempt to effect a slow-motion ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, using fraud and sometimes force.
The 55,000 Palestinians of the Silwan area (formerly a village but now annexed to Jerusalem) are mad as hell and not going to take it any more. Three hundred militant settlers have been inserted in their midst on the basis of some fable that a legendary King David dwelled there in the 10th century BC (archeology has found Jerusalem largely uninhabited in that period and has never found firm evidence of a Jewish kingdom during that era or even that a David or Solomon existed; they are not mentioned in contemporary Assyrian sources).
It is as though hundreds of armed men showed up in front of your house and demanded you take your family and leave and give it to them because their ancestor was a king and he is buried deep under its foundations. But you have the same ancestors that they do! (Jerusalem was founded some 5000 years ago by the common ancestors of most Jews and Palestinians).”

Apparently, this has gone on since 1948. An article about Israeli Author Gideon Levy tells the story of his father, who left Germany in 1939, and wound up in British Mandate Palestine. His father was traumatized by the experience of being a refugee.
“Levy’s father never saw any parallels between the fact he was turned into a refugee, and the 800,000 Palestinians who were turned into refugees by the creation of the state of Israel. “Never! People didn’t think like that. We never discussed it, ever.” Yet in the territories, Levy began to see flickers of his father everywhere – in the broken men and women never able to settle, dreaming forever of going home.
Then, slowly, Levy began to realise their tragedy seeped deeper still into his own life – into the ground beneath his feet and the very bricks of the Israeli town where he lives, Sheikh Munis. It is built on the wreckage of “one of the 416 Palestinian villages Israel wiped off the face of the earth in 1948,” he says. “The swimming pool where I swim every morning was the irrigation grove they used to water the village’s groves. My house stands on one of the groves. The land was ‘redeemed’ by force, its 2,230 inhabitants were surrounded and threatened. They fled, never to return. Somewhere, perhaps in a refugee camp in terrible poverty, lives the family of the farmer who plowed the land where my house now stands.”

Many of those 800,000 wound up in the Gaza Strip. Their ancestors make up a large part of the population of Gaza. Mr. Levy tells another story, about Operation Cast Lead.
“He gives an example. During Operation Cast Lead, the Israel bombing of blockaded Gaza in 2008-9, “a dog – an Israeli dog – was killed by a Qassam rocket and it on the front page of the most popular newspaper in Israel. On the very same day, there were tens of Palestinians killed, they were on page 16, in two lines.”
But, morality aside, is this cruelty hurting Israel? Not on some esoteric level of the soul of the country, but on a practical level of survival. A blog called Unqualified Offerings makes a case that Israel has a long term plan to control the territories west of the Jordan River, and that they are winning. Israel is in a military position of strength, and might makes right.

“Viewed institutionally and leaving moral questions aside, it counts as a triumph of grand strategy. Israel bought off Egypt with Egypt’s own territory. It convinced Jordan to bow out, and plain beat Syria like a rodeo clown. Lebanon could be broken any time and was, and the Lebanese were always falling all over themselves to help. At this point, Israel has also destroyed the ability of the Palestinians to mount any consequential resistance of their own. Just as Hezbollah couldn’t occupy a single Israeli exurb in a trial of a thousand years, no Palestinian organization can stop Israel from planting its flag on any particular spot of the West Bank for so much as a week… Any large, political-military enterprise is going to have its ebb and flow. The Israeli conquest and consolidation of what we still quaintly call “the Occupied Territories” has involved tactical setbacks, occasional overreach and strategic withdrawals. The trick is not to get caught up in that. The long view is, Israel wanted control of all the territory west of the Jordan, Israel got control of all the territory west of the Jordan, Israel continues to cement its control over all the territory west of the Jordan. Everything else is details.
Turkey is not going to war for the Freedom Flotilla. It took all of a day for the United States to conclude a deal whereby Israel gets to investigate itself. The Iranians are either not trying to get nukes, or if they do get nukes will be very careful with them. The Iranians will fuck you up, but never at any substantial cost to themselves. Israel can levy a substantial cost on Iran any time it wants. The Palestinians can’t do more than annoy and neither can Hezbollah.
On the other side, frequently foreigners make sad faces. I am thinking that Israel counts this among the acceptable costs.”

Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.

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