i wrote this on the last entry by mistake - copied and pasted it on here.
November 26, 2002
I've been trying to catch "Riderless Horse," the Egyptian series based on the "Protocol of the Elders of Zion," now being broadcast. (Remember Henry Ford's idea that the Jews have a plan to take over the world?) It is broadcast at 2:30 in the morning – but now that it is Ramadan people are up late. Amazing that such an anti-Semitic program could not only be broadcast by a country with whom we've signed a peace treaty but appear freely in Israel. I understand that when Mubarak was asked about it he said it was not anti-Semitic propaganda but "history."
I'm afraid I've lost a bit of respect for Mubarak.
But this is always the problem – not knowing the 'other' leads to demonization of the other. I wish it were possible to meet him, to speak, to see if it is possible to humanize the relationship between Egypt and Israel.
Okay, I would find it hard to invite him to dinner – but that's only because I've become hysterical as a cook.
What a sap, I hear some of my right wing friends tell me. You think that if people got to know each other they would solve all their problems. All you need is love. Ha.
Actually I think it would work with right and left wing as well. Not that we would solve all our problems, but that we would have a CHANCE of solving SOME of our problems. You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket.
This is actually MY plan for taking over the world.
November 27, 2002
When I was small I remember very clearly reading that Arabs who left Israel when the State was form were reimbursed. It was always stressed that our efforts to negotiate the return of these Arabs were always humanitarian. When I moved to Israel I heard a few stories that suggested a greater encouragement to leave than I had originally known. The Israelis who had served in the army during the war of independence stressed that their lives had been in danger when they tried to fool the Arabs into thinking they were heavily armed (with sewer pipes) but that there was a bit of connivance. The other day I read on Naomi Regan's newsletter a letter from Gideon Kanner, Professor of Law Emeritus, Loyola Law School, who said "the land of Arabs who left the territory of Israel was assigned to an administrator of absentee lands, and under Israeli law the absentee Arabs could return and reclaim their land. Thousands of them did so (the figures I have seen are over 15,000). As to those absentee Arab land owners who refused to deal with Israel, their land was taken by eminent domain (called "compulsory purchase" in British law, or "expropriation" in European civil law), and they were paid fair market value plus interest.
"This is a story that for some reason has not received any publicity, an act of informational neglect that from the point of view of hasbara is positively criminal. This story should be told.
"Don't take my word for any of this," He adds. "Check it out with your Israeli sources. I believe that the Office of Administrator of Absentee Property still exists in Israel. Please check it out."
I would like to check it out and would appreciate any information on this.
November 28, 2002
I was about to write here around 1:30 in the afternoon but someone came into my office and interrupted me. If i had written then, it would have been an evaluation of the influence of Palestine on the elections in Israel and vice versa. Because there were a lot of speculations this morning about the Palestinian interest expressed in having the left elected here, Sari Nusseiba's recommendations in particular, and I was shoring up some optimism...
But then there was the attack in Beit She'an (Fatach) and the attack in Mombasa (El Keida) and all the dead and wounded. Who can think of individual efforts for peace when all the world seems bent on destruction...
11 killed in the hotel in Mombasa - 3 Israelis - after the same terrorists had already fired at an Arkia plane on its way back to Israel. And at least 4 in Likkud headquarters in Beit Shean in the middle of their primaries.
There is no room in my heart for speculation about peace. I remember the last attack in Kenya by El Keida - it seems endless. But the story around here is the Palestinians want Mitzna, so they want Netanyahu to win the primaries so he will lose to Mitzna. For Netanyahu to win, there have to be terrorist attacks.
(later that day)
And now it is clear that Bibi has lost the primaries – because all those Sharon supporters heeded the call of their leader to show the terrorists that they can't run our elections. I for one am not overjoyed at this. Not that I like Bibi. Today at the grocers we were reminiscing about the elections in which Bibi lost the premiership – the customers were reminding each other about the spontaneous shout of joy that went up in the crowds when the election results were announced, the visceral hatred of Bibi. I was one of those. But today I worry about the other two guys – Sharon who has never had any plan for peace, drags his feet about the wall, never talks to the Palestinians, and yet lets fall hints of his willingness to accept a Palestinian State. And Mitzna – who gives away his bottom line in negotiations even before he is elected. How bad is Bibi really?
November 29, 2002
Every time I write early in the day something happens that totally counters whatever i said. But i just got a letter from John Williams who reminded me that he lives in Liverpool not Manchester. A major faux pas.
Every item of our lives is somehow connected to the big picture. As I was checking the flight times to see when to pick Ezi up from the airport, the number of flights from Mombasa reminded me of the panic that is still going on there, the people who are hurrying home to 'relative' safety. The terrorists there, they say, had American passports - a man and woman - easy to blend into the atmosphere. You never know who your enemy is.
I found myself relieved that the horrible event in Beit Shean the day before did not end in a suicide bomb. The vet who killed the terrorists hit them in the nape so they couldn't activate their belts. So only six killed - and probably few if any limbs lost.
Now them's hard times - when these kinds of things comfort you. And when you say Hag Sameach - happy holiday - for Hannukah - you mean only that you hope nobody blows up.
I have been asked to explain my position on the fence and on the elections. They were two separate inquiries but i put them together becuase they are connected. I am for the fence if it is built by thoughtful, practical, humane people. I am for Mitzna. All my stutterings, questionings, wonderings - don't change those basic truths.
November 30, 2002
Before I begin the big birthday preparations for my son, it is early in the morning and nothin has happened yet - i think - so I return to yesterday and reactions.
Alan sent me this about the wall:
it seems to be one more way to create rage and depression, and will be ultimately futile. It's not the answer. It's another insult.
The £1m-a-mile wall that divides a town from its own land of plenty
Chris McGreal in Jayyous
Tuesday - November 26, 2002
The first the people of Jayyous knew of the wall was a piece of paper flapping from an olive tree. "It was a military order," said Sharif Omar, who has come to rue that day.
"It informed us we had to meet an Israeli army officer the next week and follow him to see the route of the wall. Hundreds of people turned out. We were shocked, very shocked, when we saw where it was going. People burst into tears. Some fainted."
That was in September. Since then, bulldozers have cleared a swath of land 50 metres wide through Jayyous's olive groves and within tens of metres of the western side of the town.
In a few more weeks, the concrete foundations of a wall eight metres high will be in place. A trench, barbed wire, floodlights, cameras and electronic detectors will follow. Jayyous does not yet know whether it will also get a military watchtower like neighbouring Qalqilya.
But, by the end of next year, the wall severing the town from much of its land will be just one link in a concrete barrier running 250 miles through the West Bank.
The Israeli government is spending £1m a mile to build this massive fortification, in the belief that it will keep the suicide bombers at bay. That, too, is what the Israeli public believes. Polls suggest that more than 70% believe that cooperation with the Palestinians has failed, so it is better to build barriers.
The government calls it the separation fence; the army, the security obstacle; and the Israeli right, the terror wall. The Palestinians compare it to the Berlin wall, and say it will turn the West Bank into the world's biggest prison.
In Jayyous, they are not so much worried about being shut in as shut out. The wall wriggles its way through the heart of Jayyous, leaving marginally more of the town's land on the Israeli side of the barrier.
The mayor, Fayez Salim, calculates that the town will lose access to 80% of its 18,000 olive trees and about 50,000 citrus trees. It will be cut off from dozens of large greenhouses and thousands of jobs will be lost during the annual harvest.
Crucially, Jayyous will be separated from its seven wells and the Israelis have forbidden the drilling of new ones.
"We've told the Israelis about this. They don't reply. They say it's an order of the military. They don't speak to us. They just hung the notice on a tree," Mr Salim said.
Among those facing calamity is Mr Omar, one of the wealthiest landowners in Jayyous. He has 20 hectares (49 acres) of olive groves, citrus orchards and two sprawling greenhouses stuffed with tomatoes. The wall will separate him from all but 2.5 hectares.
"The green line is more than five kilometres from here," he said. "Why is the wall only 40 metres from our houses? Why do they need to build it so close?"
The Palestinians say the wall serves a dual purpose: to cage the West Bank's residents just as the people of Gaza are locked behind security fences; and to lay open yet more of their land to seizure as Israel continues its creeping colonisation through the expansion of Jewish settlements.
Although the wall loosely follows the 1967 border - the green line - it deviates considerably in places, such as Jayyous. That is in part because the government says it did not want "the obstacle" to become a de facto border which would be used to weaken its hand in negotiations over a Palestinian state.
But this is precisely the problem. It is not whether there should be a wall that is the issue, but where, how, but what means, in conjunction with whom and by whom. Ideally a simple border, decided upon by 2 peoples. Less ideally, a border decided upon an enlightened, humane government, after at least attempts at negotiations. Undesirably, a wall determined by the military to keep one people from murdering another because the end result is suffering for both people. So it's not whether or not a wall should be there, it is how a border should be negotiated. I don't think anyone would disagree that if there is to be a Palestinian State along side an Israeli state there should be a border.
And a single state, at this point in history, with two peoples who have no idea about each other, would be insane.
December 1, 2002
A quiet day. A few funerals. A few attacks. Nothing special. It is painful how we have become inured to the pain of daily life here but so it is
As i was thinking about one of my pet complaints today - the lack of group awareness - I heard our Minister of the Interior, Shlomo Ben Izri (of Shas), being interviewed on the radio. The interviewer wanted him to talk about the fact that he had once been a soccer player, but he quickly shifted the subject to his teaching. Instead of watching the game, he prepared a lesson, he said, and found himself pleased by the fact that in this activity both sides benefited. He would have liked to develop this idea of mutual benefit and went into the anxiety and lack of mutuality in competitive sports, the emnity of recent years and the damage caused in recent years by fans, and how our own society has enough competitiveness, but the interviewer skimmed over his words and went on to something else (how we have enough troubles in our country...).
Now I am not usually a fan of Shlomo Ben Izri. His fascist rulings in the ministry of the interior have caused a great deal of controversy here - his ideas of who is a Jew( and therefore in our group) and who isn't (and therefore not entitled to humane behavior) have driven me up the wall. (Especially cases like the refusal to grant citizenship to a woman whose son is Jewish and injured the army...). It's a case of how you define the group. I like to define is as humanity and he defines it basically as Oriental Jews.
Nevertheless I think I have mentioned the fact that I have been increasingly troubled by the lack of community organization in neighborhoods in Israel. The religious community has an automatic community - the synagogue, headed by the rabbi, the gabbai, the leaders. They can shape the people into a mutual aid society, a lobby group, or whatever they choose. The non-religious community, however, has frequently spurned the concept of community, relishing the concept of freedom because they have been 'organized' enough by the army and an autocratic educational system. So everyone goes their own way. It is usually a good system, but I think today we are in need of each other. First of all, I think we ought to be organizing together to plan for disasters - earthquakes are the least of my woes, but we live on the Syrian African rift. Wars. Terrorist attacks. Someone in the apartment building should be responsible for learning and/or polishing first aid. A telephone chain should be arranged. Our apartment building is well, but informally organized, but there's a lot to do on a larger community basis.
Since money for Scouts has been cut so drastically, a whole generation of kids don't know what community activity is, and since volunteer civil defence groups have been cut, we have no control and involvement in the safety of our neighborhood. The result is we all believe in and rely upon professionals. But we shouldnt'.