After not posting for a bit I realize that jumping out of the chute with a piece on the Israeli "disengagement plan" that offers no context was a disservice to folks who stop by here and may not be well informed about the issue.
I offer this quote from Haaretz:
"The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace
process," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told
Haaretz. "And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a
Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and
Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with
all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this
with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the
ratification of both houses of Congress." Weisglass, who was one of the
initiators of the disengagement plan, was speaking in an interview with Haaretz
for the Friday Magazine."The disengagement is actually formaldehyde," he said.
"It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a
political process with the Palestinians.."
Read the full article.
For background explore:
Removing the Accidental Protection
Withdrawal means more indiscriminate violence in Gaza by Justin Podur
The Podur piece links to Disengagement??by Phyllis Bennis; Institute for Policy Studies.
I feel that Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom needs to be read for people to gain a perspective of the present Israeli reality. His "The March of the Orange Shirts"is pretty chilling, offering an 80+ years old Zionists perspective of the religio-nationalism that animates the settlers. The Moment of Truth speaks of various scenarios around getting the settlers out of their illegal settlements, and what Sharon may do next.
An interview with Illan Pappe really had me thinking; I am amazed that the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territory has gone on so long, been so bloody, yet the people of Israel and the West seem largely to accept it. Just as decent American accepts what they hear of it- and Abu Ghraib. Denial. A paucity of information and denial. From the interview Mechanisms of Denial:
Podur: You explained how this can happen last night in your talk. You talked
about what you called ‘Mechanisms of Denial’. Can you explain this?
The Palestinian case is paradoxical. The people who live there can see the
results of 56 years of continuous ethnic cleansing, discrimination, a whole
legal and practical apparatus that is the definition of apartheid. And yet
within the media, the academy, and even the public consciousness, Israel is ‘the
only democracy in the Middle East’. Nothing of this reality seems to reach
journalists, academics, and therefore the public. The reason is that our society
is very well protected by these mechanisms of denial. Even very good-hearted
Israelis who consider themselves to be part of the peace camp live in denial.
There are various mechanisms, going back historically.
One of them is
physical and has to do with place names. In the original ethnic cleansing of
Palestinians that took place in 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians
were expelled, the names of towns were changed. Towns were physically wiped out
and reduced to rubble, and then planted over with European pine trees. The idea
was at once to wipe out the past, to make it like it never existed, and
simultaneously to change a Mediterrenean, Arab village into a European forest.
Israeli archaeologists were consulted to select names from the Bible that
would correspond to the sites. But the names were selected even more
deliberately, and even more vindictively, than that. So the Palestinian village
of Lubia became the Israeli village of Levi. The names are similar, and they
were made that way on purpose. So that children growing up would think only of
Levi, but the Palestinians who were expelled would know. They would know, and
the name would be close enough to the old name that it would be a
It was the Jewish National Fund (JNF) that planted these pine
trees, to wipe out the memory of the place and Europeanize it. I was bewildered
in Toronto, seeing signs for the JNF, asking for support for the JNF as if it
was some kind of ecological organization dedicated to protecting whales. It is
not. It is a colonialist agency of ethnic cleansing.
And the mechanisms of
denial are not only about 1948. They were and are used and re-used to prevent
seeing Palestinians. There were Palestinians living in Israel under military
rule until 1967. These were the people who experienced the arbitrary rule of the
whim of a military officer, whose lives were in the hands of someone who knew or
cared nothing about them, long before the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza
in 1967. After that, the denial simply extended to the occupied
An even greater paradox is the denial that has gone alongside
the exposure of crimes in the past four years. For the past four years things
have gotten ever more horrendous. Daily killings of children, demolition of
houses, confiscation of land, the denial of the most basic rights and freedoms.
How is it possible that Israel succeeded in concealing that from its own society
and from the rest of the world?
Podur: It hasn’t been concealed, but even
when it is presented there is no impact.
Pappe: There are incredible
examples. Here is one. There is a music show that is on Israeli television,
called ‘Taverna’. It is Israeli music, which means it is Greek music with Hebrew
lyrics. After the Israeli Army committed the massacre in Jenin in April 2002,
the producer – another ‘leftist’ from the ‘peace camp’ – wanted to do a music
show in order to give some comfort to the troops in this trying time. So the
producers set up a stage in the zone of total destruction in Jenin. If you have
been to Jenin or seen films about it, you know there was a hole in the middle of
the camp – everything had been destroyed and reduced to rubble, people had been
killed, people were buried in the rubble. They set up a stage in the midst of
that rubble and had their music show. I talked to the producer afterwards, I
asked him – ‘don’t you see a problem with having the stage in the middle of the
hole’? He said: ‘no, the stage worked fine’ – as if my question had been about
the technical aspects of the stage rather than the macabre scene.
example: every so often there is a bold crew of Israeli journalists who will
film something. One such crew had heard that some of the Israeli soldiers at the
Erez checkpoint (Erez is the highly militarized checkpoint which is the sole
entry and exit point to the Gaza strip) were playing a game of roulette with the
lives of Palestinians. This was a time when a very small number of Palestinians
were being allowed to enter Israel through the checkpoint in order to go to
work. The gate at the Erez checkpoint is an electric fence, with interlocking
‘teeth’ that make a complete seal, controlled by remote control. The soldiers
would play a game to see if they could catch a Palestinian worker in the gate.
One worker had died this way. The film crew investigated and filmed the game
being played in secret. When the film was broadcast, the studio got hundreds of
letters – protesting that the crew should not have filmed this, that it was
helping the enemy and sapping the morale of our soldiers when they need support!
This is another way of denial, of not facing the barbarization of society. This
is very similar to the American public reaction to what happened in Abu Ghraib.
Read and consider for yourself. I see Mr Sharon as a butcher with his thumb on the scale of justice; but that is my time considered opinion. The best people want to believe in their leaders, they believe them to be just as decent and lawbiding as they themselves, the hoi polloi everyman and everywoman are. We on the whole tend to deny the painful truths about our leaders, our nation. Lately the Iraq War has given we Americans a taste of this.
Read, consider- you be the judge... Disengagement
Thanks to Bill for the Heads up on the informative Podur piece at ZNet