JSalloum on 1 Nov 2000 20:43:48 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] news clips + an Israeli perspective on the context of rascism

from yesterday's news (10/31/00):
Shadi Uda, 17, Khazzam Abu Def, 22, Muhammed Khilis, 23 and Mahmud Abu 
al-Hir, 20, were killed in clashes with the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza, 
while Ta'ir a-Zid, 17,was killed by IDF gunfire in Ramallah. Two more 
Palestinians were pronounced clinically dead after being shot by IDF gunfire. 
The Palestinian Red Crescent organization reported that some 89 people 
sustained injuries from live gunfire, rubber-coated bullets and tear gas in 
the territories yesterday.

from today's news (11/1/00)
Israel will step up its responses if Palestinian violence continues, Prime 
Minister Ehud Brak warned Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat 
recently. Barak called Arafat last Thursday and demanded that he stop the 
violence, the source said. 



The mirror does not lie, 
By Amira Hass

Ha'aretz (Israeli Daily Newspaper)

November 1, 2000 (Hesvan 3, 5761)

How perfectly natural that 40,000 persons should be subject to a total

curfew for more than a month in the Old City of Hebron in order to

protect the lives and well-being of 500 Jews. How perfectly natural

that almost no Israeli mentions this fact or, for that matter, even

knows about it. How perfectly natural that 34 schools attended by

thousands of Palestinian children should be closed down for more than

a month and their pupils imprisoned and suffocating day and night in

their crowded homes, while the children of their neighbors - their

Jewish neighbors, that is - are free to frolic as usual in the street

among and with the Israeli soldiers stationed there.How perfectly

natural that a Palestinian mother must beg and plead so that an

Israeli soldier will allow her to sneak through the alleyways of the

open-stall marketplace and obtain medication for her asthmatic

children, or bread for her family. (Sometimes Israeli soldiers do have

the guts to disobey orders, although, generally speaking, when

encountering such situations, they order the woman to return to her


How perfectly understandable that the Israel Defense Forces is seizing

control of an ever-increasing number of rooftops atop the homes of

Palestinians in the Old City of Hebron and that Israeli soldiers

positioned on those rooftops from time to time open fire on other

Palestinians, while, down below, at street level, the Jewish settlers

are free to show over and over again - at the expense of the

windshields, windows and tires of the parked cars of Palestinians -

who's really the boss. How perfectly natural that a Muslim house of

prayer like the Ibrahim mosque should be shut down and declared

"off limits" to thousands of Muslim worshipers.

The ease with which a curfew has now been imposed on Hebron and the

perception of that curfew as a completely natural occurrence are not

the products of the past few weeks. (Incidentally, the residents of

the village of Hawara, in whose vicinity and on whose lands the Jewish

settlement of Yitzhar was built, have also been placed under curfew;

their curfew was imposed more than three weeks ago.)

After the massacre carried out by Baruch Goldstein in the Ibrahim

mosque, also known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the ones who were

punished were the Palestinians, with the punishment taking the form of

curfews, closures, "disengagement," the shutting-down of entire

streets and the continual, hostile supervision by Israeli soldiers and

police officers. And there was an additional punishment that was meted

out to the Palestinians: economic disaster.

However, Hebron is only a microcosm, an illustration of the general

picture. The protracted curfew imposed on Hebron and the way that this

curfew has been accepted in Israeli eyes as such a natural event

convey, in a nutshell, both the entire story of the Israeli occupation

of Palestinian land in general and the essence of the kind of Israeli

thinking that has developed in the shadow of obvious military

superiority. The curfew in Hebron and the ease with which it has been

imposed only illustrate the entire story of discrimination and

uprooting that the Palestinians have suffered at the hands of the

Israelis - a never-ending story that unfolded as far back as the Oslo

era and the period of the so-called "peace process."

Jews live in Hebron today either because of "ancestral rights" or

because they can show proof of Jewish ownership of a given property in

the not-too-distant past. It is so perfectly natural that Jews should

be able to live wherever they want in the Land of Israel - on both

sides of the Green Line. It is so perfectly natural that a Jew who was

born in Tel Aviv should be able to move to Hebron or to Yitzhar.  And

it is so perfectly natural that Palestinians cannot enjoy that right

and cannot move to Tel Aviv or to Haifa - even if their families own

lands and houses there.

It is so perfectly natural that, to this very day, Israel is

developing and expanding the Jewish community in Hebron, just as

Israel is developing all the Jewish settlements in the

territories. And it is so perfectly natural that, to this very day,

the Palestinians must deal with various limitations imposed on any

planned development for their own communities, because most of the

lands on the West Bank - which is their primary land reserve - are

under Israeli administrative control.  No, the Palestinians do not

need the kind of legroom that Israelis do.

It is so perfectly natural that Palestinians have to obtain a travel

permit from the Israeli authorities (only a minority of the applicants

are granted the permit) in order to enter East Jerusalem or the Gaza

Strip, within the context of Israel's closure policy, which was

launched in 1991 and which continues until this very day. On the other

hand, Jews are free to travel from the West Bank to Israel and back,

using well-built highways that have been constructed on lands that

have been expropriated from Palestinian villages.

During the summers in Hebron, sometimes days, even weeks go by without

running water in the faucets of Palestinian homes. On the other hand,

the Jewish neighbors of Palestinian Hebronites - in the Old City of

Hebron or in the nearby Jewish quarter of Kiryat Arba - experience no

problems or shortages as far as their water supply is concerned.

The same situation prevails in many Palestinian communities throughout

the West Bank: Whereas the Palestinians have no water, the residents

of the Jewish settlements enjoy green lawns. The reason is that Israel

has, in effect, imposed a quota on the water that the Palestinians are

allowed to consume - that is, on the right to use water resources that

are supposed to be jointly accessible for both Israelis and

Palestinians in the single land they share.

This is a tale that must be recounted over and over again - almost to

the point of exhaustion - because it depicts a situation that is so

self-understood in the eyes of Israelis that they cannot even see that

there is any problem whatsoever. How perfectly easy to regard the

Palestinians as a violent and cruel people and to ignore the cruelty

that has accumulated day after day for 33 long years and which has

been directed during that long period toward an entire community. This

is the kind of cruelty that is characteristic of every occupation

regime.  This is a cruelty that intensified during the Oslo years

because of the gap between the fine talk about a "peace process" and

the reality.

The curfew in Hebron and the fact that this curfew is regarded as a

completely natural phenomenon in the eyes of Israeli society reflects

the twisted sort of thinking that developed in the minds of Israelis

during the Oslo years. According to this warped thinking, the

Palestinians would accept a situation of coexistence in which they

were on an unequal footing vis-a-vis the Israelis and in which they

were ranked as persons who were entitled to less, much less, than the

Jews. However, in the end, the Palestinians were not willing to live

with this arrangement.

The new Intifada, which displays the characteristics of both a popular

uprising and a quasi-military one, is a final attempt to thrust a

mirror in the face of Israelis and to tell them: "Take a good look at

yourselves and see how racist you have become.

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