Palestine Papers: Israel skyder sig selv i foden

Efter den lækkede afsløring af de palæstinensiske forhandleres utroligt vidtgående tilbud til israelerne og den arrogance, hvormed de alle blev modtaget uden antydning af vilje til at gøre blot den mindste indrømmelse til gengæld, mener den israelske journalist Gideon Levy, at Israel har forpasset sin chance og nu tværtimod står til at miste det meste af de områder, de møjsommeligt har erobret og besat:

One upon a time there was a farmer who wanted to save on feed. Every day he would reduce the amount of food for his horse, see that it worked, and continue cutting and cutting until the horse had nothing to eat. The horse died.

This hackneyed tale has now been revived, emerging from the Palestine Papers leaked to the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera.

The Israeli farmer closed his hand, and the Palestinian horse was fit to die. One of them saved, the other expired. The Palestinians had already conceded most of their world, and greedy Tzipi Livni insisted: what about Har Homa and Maaleh Adumim?

Terror has stopped, they’re coordinating targeted killings to serve Israel. Selling their souls to the devil, they’re for the closure on Gaza. Mahmoud Abbas explains, like an Israeli propagandist, that the return of the refugees will destroy the state of Israel. Maybe 10,000 a year, they’re still trying – in vain. Livni doesn’t agree.

They conceded most of the settlements in Jerusalem, the Old City is also no longer exclusively in their hands, and nothing. Betar Ilit and Modi’in Ilit are ours, and that’s not enough for Israel, as if it has forgotten that the 1967 borders are the Palestinian compromise.

What more do we want? What more will Israel ask of the dying horse, a moment before it gives up the ghost? A Palestinian state in greater Abu Dis? Hatikvah as its anthem? And what will happen then, when the horse dies? A wild pony will emerge that will never agree to live under the conditions of the old horse.

Link: Israel will bever get a better deal than the one it rejected


Israel har netop fejret sin uafhængighedsdag, og i den anledning funderer Gideon Levy i Ha’aretz over den jødiske stats sammenhængskraft, eller rettere sagt, han fremmaner billedet af et nærmest på alle måder splittet samfund:

One-quarter of the Jewish state’s population is not Jewish, and one-fifth are members of the Arab nation. The language of the Arabs in Israel, their world, culture and viewpoints certainly do not allow them to be part of “the Israeli people.” Excluded, discriminated against, ostracized, alienated, and secluded in their towns and villages, they certainly are not part of the tribal campfire.

The same is true, but to a lesser extent, of the 1 million immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Among them, too, one can see trends of seclusion and sometimes even arrogance, alongside a measured integration by the second generation. They are all “Russians” rather than Israelis, and it’s doubtful whether this will change in the near future. Fact – even the “Mizrahim”, most of whom have lived here for around 50 years, are still a separate tribe. Possibly due to discrimination and other reasons, they have not found a respectable place in the country’s elite/

Don’t mention the exceptions, don’t talk about the two presidents, the two foreign ministers and the two chiefs of staff – the Jews of eastern origin, and in particular those from North Africa, have not made it here. They have not secured a place of equality two generations after arriving. Most of them live on the outskirts of large cities or in outlying development towns, and a there are still a great many more immigrants from North Africa in prison than in the top echelons.

Every Ashkenazi reader should ask himself how many of his friends are Mizrahim, and every Mizrahi Jew, how many of his friends are Ashkenazi. Let each of us examine whether it’s a matter of chance that we have not had a prime minister of Mizrahi origin. And how many members of the economic, defense, scientific, legal, media and cultural elites are Mizrahim?

The ultra-Orthodox Jews live in their own world, more so now than 50 years ago. You will barely see ultra-Orthodox families today in a secular environment. They have less in common with secular Jews than the secular Jews have with members of other peoples. A visit by a secular person to Mea She’arim is like an anthropological tour. The language, newspapers, customs, dress, culture and even the morals are different.

Levys konlusion? Perhaps not yet lost, but still 10 tribes.

Link: The 10 tribes

Gaza: Hvem har ansvaret?

Et gennemgående argument fra folk, der forsvarer Israels ret til at invadere Gaza og gøre stort set bare, hvad der passer dem i den forbindelse (og med 1200 døde, heraf mere end 400 børn, har de ikke lagt mange bånd på sig selv), er, at det er nødvendigt for at knuse Hamas og i øvrigt er det Hamas, der har tvunget dem til at agere på den måde ved deres raketangreb, som kun viser, at Israel lige så godt kunne have ladet være med at ophæve besættelsen af Gaza for et par år siden.

Alle disse argumenter er falske – besættelsen af Gaza er aldrig ophørt, og de seneste ugers omfattende invasion har tydeligvis ikke været i stand til at standse hverken det ene eller det andet raketangreb. Få siger det bedre end den israelske journalist og kommentator Gideon Levy, her i et svar til forfatteren A. B. Yehoshua:

It is as if the mighty, including you, have succumbed to a great and terrible conflagration that has consumed any remnant of a moral backbone.

You, too, esteemed author, have fallen prey to the wretched wave that has inundated, stupefied, blinded and brainwashed us. You’re actually justifying the most brutal war Israel has ever fought and in so doing are complacent in the fraud that the “occupation of Gaza is over” and justifying mass killings by evoking the alibi that Hamas “deliberately mingles between its fighters and the civilian population.” You are judging a helpless people denied a government and army – which includes a fundamentalist movement using improper means to fight for a just cause, namely the end of the occupation – in the same way you judge a regional power, which considers itself humanitarian and democratic but which has shown itself to be a brutal and cruel conqueror. As an Israeli, I cannot admonish their leaders while our hands are covered in blood, nor do I want to judge Israel and the Palestinians the same way you have.

The residents of Gaza have never had ownership of “their own piece of land,” as you have claimed. We left Gaza because of our own interests and needs, and then we imprisoned them. We cut the territory off from the rest of the world and the occupied West Bank, and did not permit them to construct an air or sea port. We control their population registrar and their currency – and having their own military is out of the question – and then you argue that the occupation is over? We have crushed their livelihood, besieged them for two years, and you claim they “have expelled the Israeli occupation”? The occupation of Gaza has simply taken on a new form: a fence instead of settlements. The jailers stand guard on the outside instead of the inside.

And no, I do not know “very well,” as you wrote, that we don’t mean to kill children. When one employs tanks, artillery and planes in such a densely populated place one cannot avoid killing children. I understand that Israeli propaganda has cleared your conscience, but it has not cleared mine or that of most of the world. Outcomes, not intentions, are what count – and those have been horrendous.

Gideon Levy er en af de meget få israelske kommentatorer, der tør gå mod strømmen og vise sit eget lands politik frem for, hvad den er – et nådesløst, langsomt og brutalt folkemord.  Måske klarsynet skyldes, at han som journalist ligesom kollegaen Amira Hass netop har specialiseret sig i forholdene i de besatte områder. I hvert fald er han altid et oplysende bekendtskab – således også her.

Israel: Værre end apartheid

Israels politik i de besatte områder (Vestbredden og Gaza) sammenlignes ofte med apartheid i Sydafrika, og denne sammenligning vækker ofte forargelse blandt Israels støtter – det kan man alligevel ikke, og Israels rare men håndfaste hyggen om den palæstinensiske befolkning kan på ingen måde sammenlignes med, hvad de onde, onde hvide sydafrikanere bedrev.

I denne uge har sammenligningen for alvor skullet bestå sin prøve: 21 menneskeretsaktivister fra Sydafrika, hvoraf flere har prøvet apartheidregimets metoder på egen krop, har besøgt Israel med det formål at undersøge forholdene i de besatte områder.

Deres dom er klar – der er ingen sammenligning overhovedet: Israels behandling af palæstinenserne i de besatte områder er mange gange værre, end apartheid-regimet nogensinde har været.

Gideon Levy rapporterer i Ha’aretz:

On Monday they visited Nablus, the most imprisoned city in the West Bank. From Hawara to the Casbah, from the Casbah to Balata, from Joseph’s Tomb to the monastery of Jacob’s Well. They traveled from Jerusalem to Nablus via Highway 60, observing the imprisoned villages that have no access to the main road, and seeing the “roads for the natives,” which pass under the main road. They saw and said nothing. There were no separate roads under apartheid. They went through the Hawara checkpoint mutely: they never had such barriers.

Jody Kollapen, who was head of Lawyers for Human Rights in the apartheid regime, watches silently. He sees the “carousel” into which masses of people are jammed on their way to work, visit family or go to the hospital. Israeli peace activist Neta Golan, who lived for several years in the besieged city, explains that only 1 percent of the inhabitants are allowed to leave the city by car, and they are suspected of being collaborators with Israel. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, a former deputy minister of defense and of health and a current member of Parliament, a revered figure in her country, notices a sick person being taken through on a stretcher and is shocked. “To deprive people of humane medical care? You know, people die because of that,” she says in a muted voice.

Lad mig gentage: Den sydafrikanske delegation var chokerede over, hvad de så, og gjorde det umisforståeligt klart, at Israels behandling af palæstinenserne i de besatte områder er meget værre, end apartheid nogensinde har været.  Dommeren Edwin Cameron udtrykker det således:

We came here lacking in knowledge and are thirsty to know. We are shocked by what we have seen until now. It is very clear to us that the situation here is intolerable.

Mondli Makhanya, chefredaktør af Sunday Times of South Africa, udtrykker det sådan her:

When you observe from afar you know that things are bad, but you do not know how bad. Nothing can prepare you for the evil we have seen here. In a certain sense, it is worse, worse, worse than everything we endured. The level of the apartheid, the racism and the brutality are worse than the worst period of apartheid.

Tag det fra hestens egen mund – en sammenligning mellem Israels politik i de besatte områder og sydafrikansk apartheid er hverken  “overdreven” eller uretfærdig – i hvert fald ikke mod israelerne.

Link – via Z Communications.