Here are several items that are right on the mark about the present situation here:
(1) Thanks to a link on Dion Nissenbaum’s blog, Checkpoint Jerusalem, one can find a gem of a paragraph posted on 30 March on Richard Silverstein’s blog, taking serious issue with what he calls a “fantasy” of Gershom Gorenberg, who tried in an article entitled “The Missing Mahatma” to conjure up the image of a Palestinian Ghandi who could solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by stopping the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory through non-violent resistence.
But first, a bit from Gorenberg, who is co-author of the South Jerusalem blog here, and who wrote about a non-violent march of Palestinians from Ramallah who were intent on passing The Wall to be able to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of East Jerusalem [ I don’t think this is a new story by Gorenberg. I remember reading it (or something quite like it) a while ago]: “They filled the road to Jerusalem, a long procession of men, women, and children wearing white robes to show they were on a pilgrimage and that they had no pockets in which to hide weapons … The river of marchers streamed forward. From the troops came the voice of another megaphone, proclaiming ‘Halt!’ in Arabic and Hebrew. Al-Masri answered, ‘We come in peace to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque, as is our sacred right’. Soldiers lifted their guns. The sound of the first volley was dull thuds. Tear gas canisters fell on the asphalt. The wind scattered the white plumes. Gasping, the marchers kept advancing. Again came thuds, and rubber bullets showered the marchers … Lying on the road, the sheikh whispered to a follower, who spoke through the megaphone. ‘We will fast here’, he said, ‘until we are allowed to go on. We will testify to our faith’ … The number of journalists grew almost as quickly as the number of soldiers. Provided a laptop from the Palestinian neighborhood next to the road, a young marcher began a blog whose address showed up in agency reports … Al-Masri, whispering on the air in Hebrew he’d learned in prison, demanded free access to Al-Aqsa as the first step toward Palestinian independence alongside Israel … [After international intervention at the highest levels] Early on the third morning, a Friday, the Israeli cabinet met. Afterward, the brigade commander got orders to let the march proceed. Trucks arrived with food. Al-Masri’s followers lifted him onto a stretcher. At Qalandiya checkpoint, where the road passed through the Israeli security wall around Jerusalem, soldiers stood aside, watching the procession pour into the city. It reached Al-Aqsa in time for the sheikh to speak at noon prayers. News websites reported that the Israeli prime minister would address his nation before Sabbath began at sundown, amid rumors he would offer to meet the wounded sheikh to begin negotiations”. Gorenberg then goes on to discuss Mubarak Awad, and his disciple Nafez Assaily, and his nephew Sami Awad, and more. Mubarak Awad advocated non-violence, then became an activist: “he agreed to lead the villagers in taking down the fence, if they agreed not to bring guns or throw stones and not to run away even if shot at or arrested … By one account, 300 people showed up, confronting armed settlers. ‘We refused to run. We turned numb. We were hugging each other’, Awad says, recalling the strange ecstasy of the moment. The military governor arrived–and allowed the Palestinians to remove the fence”. In 1988, Awad was deported. The Gorenberg “fantasy” then turns into an interesting analysis of the first and second Palestinian intifadas and the Iranian revolution and the early Fatah and the more. He concludes by writing that “The first Israeli reaction to his [the future Palestinian Ghandi’s] acts of defiance could well be massive force. Yet if he stuck absolutely to nonviolent means, he could awaken a political storm in Israel. Today’s radical Islamicists would attack him, but Islam itself could provide the language to move people. His greatest challenge would be to redefine what it means to be a Palestinian. In a time of despair, like the current time, that might be possible”. This story can be read in full here.
Silverstein in his post, wrote that Gorenberg’s “fantasy” doesn’t have “half a chance in Hell of coming anywhere close” to being true. He says that “There is unfortunately no longer (if there ever was) an Israeli conscience regarding Palestinian rights or ending the Occupation. The Israeli left is either dead or in suspended animation. The values it used to represent are no longer ones embraced (at least consciously) by most Israelis. In short, it is simply impossible to rouse Israel’s conscience to the justice of the Palestinian struggle. As hard as it is for me as a progressive Zionist to write this, such a non-violent march as the one described by Gorenberg would be met with massive and lethal force. Scores, if not hundreds would die. Demonstrators would be scattered to the winds. The Israeli government would call them rabble-rousing Arab scum who entered a closed military zone in order to deliberately provoke the IDF to act. They’ll say they got what they deserved. And hardly anyone but the usual suspects within Israel will raise a peep in dissent”. This rebuttal can be read in full here
In today’s Haaretz, Gideon Levy wrote that “Our own Barak, Defense Minister Ehud, who used to be considered at least as brilliant as Obama, told Etgar Keret in an interview with Haaretz yesterday: ‘Where does the [Palestinian nation] live? In a cage? A jail? A swimming pool?’ And Barak’s own answer to this question: ‘It lives in its country’. After the prime minister’s top diplomatic adviser determined that two states is a childish solution, along comes another statesman and determines that we’re all children. Stupid children, it must be said, to whom you can sell any bit of nonsense, including all the nonsense in that interview. The Palestinians, who cannot travel from one village to another without permission from Israel, who have no basic human rights and who have been trampled underfoot, humiliated and imprisoned without any sign of sovereignty, are already living as a free people in their country. If the defense minister really thinks so, then there is grave cause for concern: Mr. Security is deranged and has lost touch with reality. If he doesn’t think so, then he’s messing with us. Which is worse? … An attempted attack by Palestinians on horseback, or maybe muleback, is depicted in the media as a prevented mega-terror attack, a consequence of the smuggling of sophisticated and advanced Iranian weaponry through the tunnels, which we are being told about in horror day and night. El Al is apologizing for having called the fence a ‘separation wall’, as though it were a department of the Foreign Ministry; the prime minister is saying that the demand to freeze natural growth in the settlements is ‘not fair’, as though it were possible to talk about fairness when discussing the settlements … [And] Minister without Portfolio Yossi Peled (yes, he too is a minister) is proposing that Israel impose sanctions on the United States …” This piece can be read in full here.
And, in the Jerusalem Post, columnist Larry Derfner wrote, to an Israeli audience, ,in his latest “Rattling the Cage” column, that: “People want to know: What is the big deal about the settlements? Houses, neighborhoods, towns – are they hurting anybody? Do they kill anybody? How can anybody compare settlements to Palestinian terror or to Iranian nuclear weapons? How can anybody believe that Jewish families living in Judea and Samaria are an obstacle to peace? It’s a legitimate question. Let me try to answer it by asking you to imagine how you would feel if, instead of there being 300,000 Israelis who’d gone to live in the West Bank, there were 300,000 Palestinians from the West Bank who’d come to live in Israel. And imagine if they’d set themselves up over here the way Israelis have done over there. What would you say if, for the past 42 years, streams of Palestinians had continually crossed the Green Line and, under protection of Palestinian soldiers stationed in Israel, had established communities a few kilometers outside Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheba, Tiberias, Eilat, etc., etc. All over. Typically on hilltops looking down on you. There are about 125 Jewish settlements in the West Bank that exist because the IDF defends them; let’s say that instead, there were 125 Palestinian settlements in Israel that existed because Palestinian troops defended them. If somebody said to you, ‘These are just Palestinian families living in Palestine, they’re not an obstacle to peace’, what would you say? Imagine if, instead of Palestinians having to pass through IDF checkpoints to get from place to place in the West Bank, we had to pass through Palestinian Authority checkpoints to get from place to place in this country. Whenever we wanted to leave our town or city – to go to work, visit friends, go shopping, to take the family for a weekend drive. Whenever we left Jerusalem for Tel Aviv, or Hadera for Afula, or any town or city for another. An American who worked in the West Bank gave this impression to New York Times columnist Roger Cohen: ‘I think the most important word to repeat is ‘humiliation.’ Palestinians can be successful software engineers, they can have an espresso in a cafe and blog on their MacBooks, but they cannot hide from their children that they are powerless in the face of an Israeli teenager holding a gun who may or may not be in a good mood’. SINCE 1967, how many Palestinians passing through those checkpoints, or driving West Bank roads, or sitting in their homes, have seen their fathers or mothers humiliated by Israeli teenagers holding guns? What does it do to them? If you grew up seeing your father or mother humiliated by Palestinian soldiers, or any soldiers, what would it do to you? How would it be to grow up with such memories? And how would it be to know that the next humiliation for your father, your mother or yourself could be gestating in the bad mood or bad intentions of the next young soldiers you meet? You see, this is what it takes to maintain those neighborhoods and towns of Jewish families in Judea and Samaria. We Israelis don’t know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of it – only the Palestinians do. We can talk about all the Israelis the Palestinians have killed, but they can talk about all the Palestinians we’ve killed. We can argue over who was acting in aggression and who in self-defense. We can argue about history. The wars, and the stories of those wars, have two sides. But the story of post-1967 settlement and military rule is purely one-sided: We do it to them, they don’t do it to us. We are the strong one. We cross the Green Line and take over the land they call Palestine, they don’t cross the Green Line and take over an inch of Israel. Our soldiers rule over them, their soldiers don’t rule over us. They need our permission to do the simplest routines of day-to-day life, we don’t need their permission to do anything. We’re neighbors, but they live under us, we don’t live under them. We and the Palestinians kill each other, but in between killings, we’re free and independent, they’re not. We see to that. For years, the official Israeli line has been: ‘We do not want to rule over a foreign people’. I would like someone to explain how we can maintain 125 settlements across the West Bank, not to mention another 100-plus outposts, without ruling over a foreign people” … This article is posted here.
Is that enough? Or would you like to hear more?????