Archive for the ‘Palestine’ tag
Eyal Press’s review of a new film that premiered at Sundance is very good, but also stands alone as a story of how Israel came to support the interests of overzealous ultra-Zionists instead of international law.
The Ottomans, who had controlled Palestine until World War I, had used the term to designate land far enough from any neighboring village that a crowing rooster perched on its edge could not be heard. Under Ottoman law, if such land was not cultivated for three years it was “mawat”—dead —and reverted to the empire. “With or without your rooster, be at my office at 8:00 in the morning,” Sharon told Ramati, who was soon crisscrossing the West Bank in the cockpit of a helicopter, identifying tens of thousands of uninhabited acres that could be labeled “state land” and made available to settlers, notwithstanding the Geneva Convention’s prohibition on moving civilians into occupied territory.
(The fact that the film premiered and Sundance and probably won’t be available for normal people for over a year makes yesterday’s point all over again.)
You remember that thing I said about how much I love those deep, long country profiles in the book reviews? Still do.
Adam Shatz’s piece on Palestine is not short, but it’s a better portrait of what it’s like there now than you’d get from decades of news-watching.
Eric Calderwood thinks that while the network’s coverage is unquestionably biased, it’s not without merit.
But in a larger sense, Al-Jazeera’s graphic response to CNN-style “bloodless war journalism” is a stinging rebuke to the way we now see and talk about war in the United States. It suggests that bloodless coverage of war is the privilege of a country far from conflict. Al-Jazeera’s brand of news - you could call it “blood journalism” - takes war for what it is: a brutal loss of human life. The images they show put you in visceral contact with the violence of war in a way statistics never could.
World opinion diverges enough to shock Blake Houshnell. While the greatest number of people appear to believe that it was Al Qaeda, Israel and America also won big votes. Israel was most often blamed by Arabs, with Egypt showing 43%, Jordon 31, and Palestine a (mere) 19.
Curiously, Mexicans were the second most likely — at 30% of those polled — to blame the United States. Turkey (36%) was the first, Palestine third at 27, and Germany fourth at 23.
It’s not surprising that Israel’s 60th anniversary has gotten a lot more ink than the 60th anniversary of the coincident nabka (catastrophe). Yesterday, Elias Khoury wrote an Op-Ed adressing the latter.
Israel has depicted the problem as rooted in the Arab world’s refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist. But even after the majority of Arab states demonstrated their recognition of this right by supporting the Saudi peace initiative of 2002, nothing changed; in fact, things became worse. To Palestinians, the true problem lies in Israel’s rejection of the Palestinian right to an independent state, and in the prevailing Israeli culture’s refusal to recognize that Palestinians were themselves victims of forced expulsion from their lands.
Recognizing the sufferings of the victim, even if they are of the victim of a victim, is the necessary condition for an exit from this long and tragic tunnel. However, as the Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci suggests, it is difficult to maintain the optimism of the will in the face of the pessimism of the intellect.
Pessimism of the will is what we are living today in the Middle East. It is a pessimism that warns not only of the danger of recurring episodes of catastrophe as Arab societies break apart, but of the dismal prospect of an endless war that will provoke future tragedies in the 21st century.
The complexities of the Israel-Fatah-Hamas are often lost on me. But this I was heartened by:
However, Hamas is now attempting to sell the virtues of a ceasefire to a battered people accustomed to talk of “steadfastness” and “resistance”. A group of leading thinkers is to visit universities and hold symposia to convince Gazans that a period of calm will help lift the siege and rebuild their disappearing economy.
Though that hardly means that a resolution is suddenly within sight, I can’t see this as a bad thing.
The CS Monitor asks a question that should be answered quickly (and affirmatively).
The hand-wringing over talking to Hamas reflects a shift away from the black-and-white diplomatic approach of President Bush’s first term to a more realist and results-oriented tendency in the second. If the US can talk to archenemy Iran to get something it wants in Iraq, the reasoning goes, then why not explore what might be gained from someone sitting down with Hamas?
Speaking of war… Just to haunt your dreams, The Economist paints a vivid picture of quickly and easy the Hamas-Israel conflict could start a war to engulf the Middle East. Here’s hoping they’re wrong about this.
Ehud Olmert, Israel’s prime minister, finds he can no longer resist pressure to end the rocket fire, a job that military men say can be achieved, if at all, only by a ground invasion. But ground warfare against Hamas’s guerrilla fighters in the teeming confines of Gaza will certainly kill many Palestinian civilians. That will tempt Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah in Lebanon, to help his fellow Islamists by opening a second front from Lebanon.
Of course, to weaken Hizbullah, Israel sees a need to attack Syria as well. Remember that, for now at least, this is all fiction. It’s best for all of us if it stays that way.
Two points: (1) the BBC has some pretty good headline writers, hence I stole this one, and (2) this situation deserves more attention — and outrage.
The UK-based groups agree that Israel has the right and obligation to protect its citizens, urging both sides to cease unlawful attacks on civilians.
But they call upon Israel to comply with its obligations, as the occupying power in Gaza, to ensure its inhabitants have access to food, clean water, electricity and medical care, which have been in short supply in the strip.
“Punishing the entire Gazan population by denying them these basic human rights is utterly indefensible,” said Amnesty UK Director Kate Allen.
More bad news:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday suspended peace talks with Israel following a spasm of violence in the Gaza Strip that has left more than 100 Palestinians dead since Wednesday as Hamas has continued its campaign of rocket strikes.