The week in brief, 4th-10th October – a summary of recent postings
A mixed bag this week. Heart-warming stories on the non-violent resistance front: Iyad Burnat tells the history of the resistance at Bil’in; the film ‘Budrus’ is launched in the US and the UK giving a wonderful account of the villager’s struggle against the Wall there and featuring its Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, and women like Iltezam Morrar coming to pay a leading part in the struggle; Physicians for Human Rights-Israel sharing the “alternative Nobel prize” for its work, which includes helping Palestinians, migrant workers, and refugees; and Breaking the Silence (BTS) nominated for the annual Sakharov prize by the Greens and European United Left groups in the European Parliament.
But the usual horror stories as well. Two reports of life under occupation: (a) Amira Hass writes that “Behind a modest desk with a view of Beit Jala sits a nameless Shin Bet security service officer who is very pleased with himself. He has just saved the Jewish people in Israel from yet another grave security risk by preventing a 47-year-old woman, for five weeks now, from going abroad for urgent medical tests…” and (b) a précis of Israeli violations during September 2010. Not much happened – 12 Palestinians (incl 2 children) killed; 450 Palestinians arrested and hundreds of prisoners beaten up; tens of thousands refused access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound during Ramadan; settlers on the rampage; increased pressure on Palestinians in the Jordan valley; Palestinian journalists attacked and beaten… As we said, not much happened…
We’ve heard a lot about the blockade to Gazan having been eased since June. But it would seem that prosthetic aids have been put on the list of dangerous goods, joining cement, fishing nets, horses and donkeys as security risks, to be kept out of Gaza at all costs. At the same time, as Fred Abrahams reports, the Palestinian Authority is showing itself indifferent to the suffering of the people of Gaza and is effectively arguing to put the Goldstone report on ice.
Abe Hayeem, chair of Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine writes of Ariel and more generally that: “Architecture and planning are instruments of the occupation, and constitute part of a continuing war against a whole people, whether as a minority within Israel’s green line, or in the occupied territories…”
The New Israel Fund in the States has come out strongly against the proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act which demands that new citizens pledge loyalty to a “Jewish, democratic state.”
Does Israel want peace? Peace could threaten the economic privileges of Israeli Jews in many ways, writes Jonathan Cook as he considers the many groups in Israel, the settlements, the construction industry and the military who would suffer materially from a peace agreement… And Rachel Gai of Jewish Peace News introduces an article by Hasan Abu Nimah, former Jordanian ambassador at the UN, showing how ‘judicious distortion of language, based on “imported terminology, often crafted in Israel and disseminated by influential Western media, officials and think tanks, and by some Arab quarters and media under their influence”, has distanced people from real understanding of what the Arab-Israel conflict is about…’
On a more personal note, Stevie Krayer reflects about how a trip to Israel Palestine in 2002 as part of an international Quaker working party put her back in touch with her Jewish roots and Jewish sense of justice…