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Monday, February 09, 2009


Two fascinating articles on Israel and Palestine

First, an article from someone who had been to Israel 70 (!) times, was there once more on a trip exploring the possibility of "aliyah" (emigrating to Israel), and discovers the unbelievable racism permeating Israel:
[My experiences] reinforce my primal fear that Israel is losing its soul. There is an indifference to death that is not only chilling but an anathema to the faith I learned as a child. My grandfather was Irgun and he became emotionally torn apart from the death of British soldiers and innocents that he was responsible for. He was so conflicted by his activities that he could not live in an Israel born of the death of innocents. As a result he moved to America several months before Independence. I no longer see that kind of concern by a significant portion of Israelis'.

Like my grandfather I dream of a Jewish homeland. But year by year I see that dream slipping away. Our own decision on Aliyah will be made after the election results but frankly the current Israel is one I hardly recognize and am not sure I want to be a part of. This morning my heart is still yearning but my sadness cannot be masked.
Second, an article by Ben Wedeman, CBS' long-time correspondent in Israel, visiting the West Bank and discovering the extent of the despair permeating the Palestinian community. Once more, after decades of never being mentioned, the "one-state" solution features centrally in the article:
When Palestinians look back over the last 15 years since the Oslo Accords were signed, they've seen their lot only go from bad to worse.

As a result, more and more Palestinians are convinced the only way to beat the Israelis is to join them, to discard failed attempts at creating a Palestinian state in an ever smaller, ever more economically unviable territory, and go for what is known as the one-state solution.

That would mean Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza relinquishing their dream of an independent Palestinian state, and instead insisting on equal rights in the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, an area that is, for all intents and purposes, under Israel's control anyway.

The one-state solution is an anathema to many Israelis, who are well aware that, with their higher birth-rate, Palestinians (those living within Israel proper, plus Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza) could well become a majority within a generation.

Israelis increasingly worry the national struggle between Israel and the Palestinians will be transformed into an internal struggle, for equal rights for all those living within historic Palestine.

Those fears prompted Israel's current caretaker prime minister, Ehud Olmert, to warn as far back as November 2007 that if Israel doesn't move quickly to achieve a two-state solution, it will be in a position not unlike South Africa during the apartheid area, whereby a minority -- in this case Israeli Jews -- rules over a restive majority -- the Palestinians -- by means of force, repression and discriminatory laws.

Many Palestinians argue that is already the case, citing Israeli restrictions on movement, residence, and work.
Both very much worth reading.

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