O Palestine

Manifestos aren’t what they used to be. A new group in Gaza, Gaza Youth Breaks Out, starts their statement on Facebook with F*ck Hamas, F*ck Israel, …

We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community! We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16’s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this f*cking situation we live in; we are like lice between two nails living a nightmare inside a nightmare, no room for hope, no space for freedom. We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, homemade fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.

[via the Guardian]

Meanwhile in the conservative press, Lawrence Haas of the American Foreign Policy Council (who?) has written an opinion piece against recognizing Palestine as a state. It contains mostly unsupported and unexplained assertions, the main ones being that “a nation needs internationally recognized borders” (as if the borders of the U.S.–or any country in Europe, or Africa, or Asia–have never changed) and that recognizing Palestine would be “followed not by peace but, instead, by more conflict” (unlike the last 50 years of war, intifada, suicide bombers, proxy wars by Iran through Lebanon, and more intifadas). By Haas’ rules, only Switzerland would be allowed nationhood. Haas has not come up with very good reasons for denying statehood, but what are the real reasons conservatives seem to oppose it? Oh, and Haas thinks the existence of both the PLO ( in the West Bank) and Hamas (in Gaza) contending for power would make it hard to choose which one to throw the weight of U.S. official support behind. That to me is a no-brainer.

A Palestinian friend of mine was thrown in jail by Saddam Hussein around the time of Dessert Storm while working as a news service editor in Kuwait. He and a family member got out because they had a Jordanian passports, but the last I had heard (2001) some of his colleagues were still in jail because they lack passports and an official (Palestinian) state to speak for them.

So why, oh why, oh why is not Palestine a state already? How hard can it be? It’s a Nike thing. Just do it.


2 Responses to “O Palestine”

  1. canehan Says:

    That’s a very interesting position I hadn’t heard expressed before. The language is unfortunate and in fact will diminish the impact for the elder people who have to deal with the issue, I think.

    But I believe that a person using a swear word in another language, whoever well he speaks it, does not really feel the full impact of it because it is not “inside” his language thinking. I’ve found that frequently in fluent English speakers from France to Japan.

    On the major issue, nearly 40 years ago I was in Jordan, covering, among other things, the Kissinger shuttle diplomacy. He was trying to solve the problem by salami slicing it, hoping to get agrrment on each wafer-thin slice one after the other.

    But I said then, and still say, that you can slice as far as you like, b ut eventually you get to the two diamond-hard core issue – Jerusalem, and the right of return.

    I noticed that the other days, the Israelis suggested negotiations to solve all the other issues (!) settting those two things aside. The Palestinians rejected the idea.

  2. Nijma Says:

    Jerusalem might not be that hard. It is already divided, the east side being the Arab section. You can pretty much spend Jordanian dinars there. The inner walled city, the ancient city I guess, also has its Arab quarter. I read this (To Rule Jerusalem) once upon a time:
    and for some reason I remember that Israel controls the electricity for the Arab section of the city. Not that surprising, it’s a huge urban area. In fact, the whole of the West Bank is cut up by Israeli sections–“cantonments” maybe?–it looks like Swiss cheese. That’s probably the real Palestinian problem: lack of contiguous territory. I believe there’s an airport in east Jerusalem too.

    There’s already plenty of cooperation between entities in Jerusalem. When I visited the mosque complex in the ancient city, it was arranged during Ramadan through Arab friends. The guy’s daughter lent me her scarf, then he called a friend of his who was a guard at one of the Arab entrances. Just to be safe, his friend then called the Israeli security to let them know–what?–that there would be an American inside I suppose. In case we were discovered, they wanted the Israelis not to think they were trying to pull something. So there is cooperation at informal levels.

    Right of return–meh. I think the Palestinians want to keep the issue alive to keep some possibility of reparations for those who left. Unfortunately Jordan was the only country that gave Palestinians passports. The Palestinians may complain about their status in Jordan, but not Syria, not Lebanon, and certainly not Saudi have allowed Palestinians to become citizens. In those countries they still live in refugee camps, all of them. I have Jordanian/Palestinian friends in a refugee camp, and parts of it are quite nice, others not, depending on the wealth of the family; there are also many Jordanian-Palestinians successful enough to have left the camps and moved into town or bought their own villas in the countryside.

    As far as the Palestinians and Jordanians here in the US, I don’t have any sense of how many become citizens. Most of them go back to visit in August, and some stores close for a few months in the summer. There also seems to be a huge turnover in the shops. You don’t usually see the same people twice–they may go to a different city, or they may be pulled back home if they get involved in something harram.

    Wonder what Israel was willing to negotiate about. The only other issue I can think of is the settlements. Once Israel gets done building their wall, if they haven’t already, we may see them willing to make deals for the land they have already enclosed by the wall that is outside the 1967 greenline–or not.

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