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Starless and Bible Black - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
May 28th, 2003
01:00 am

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Starless and Bible Black
A minor news item published today reminded me of the hell I live in. The scoop was ynet's, but here's an English version from Ha'aretz.

It's so depressing, the state this society's in. I am sick to my stomach.

Current Mood: furious

(23 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:ukelele
Date:May 27th, 2003 06:54 pm (UTC)
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That's funny (in the "strange", not the "ha-ha", sense) -- one of the first things I encountered this morning was Sharon actually using the word "occupation" and saying it was a bad thing. I knew that couldn't be all there was to it :/.

It's like that citizenship law, but strangely, I don't feel myself in the presence of a Pericles.

(Though if Israel wants to go sticking columns and friezes on stuff, I doubt I'll object.)
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From:ijon
Date:May 30th, 2003 06:00 am (UTC)

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Yeah, everybody is talking about this slip-of-the-tongue-or-was-it of Sharon's. I recognize its importance as a precedent, but I am still quite certain that Sharon is not interested in peace now, but in minimizing the territorial "cost" of any future arrangement.

The thing is, I've quite despaired of hoping for a victory of human values over zealotry regarding the occupied territories, and am trying to focus on the Israeli society, which I feel is dying by degrees of moral decay. That's an exercise in futility, because the two domains are inextricably entwined, and too few people are interested in examining Israeli society and healing it while there's a war going on. Normally I would agree, and the war is more important than any one social issue, but I feel that the Israeli society is truly falling apart -- "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold"; if we wait until the war is over (and with things being as they are, who knows when the war would end?), who knows how much further downhill Israeli society would tumble?
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From:ukelele
Date:May 30th, 2003 10:06 am (UTC)
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There's a neat trick, slouching toward Bethlehem when you're already *at* it.
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From:yggdrasil_
Date:May 27th, 2003 10:03 pm (UTC)
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Even more depressing than the article itself are the comments to it, on yNet. On most political columns you have a wide variety of clashing responses. Unless it's a truly controversial piece, you usually have a balance of opinions. Here, however, most of the 200-odd commends there are SUPPORTIVE of this law, stating each and every possible cliche in its support - from blind ignorance to all-out prejudice.
THAT is the depressing bit.
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From:ijon
Date:May 30th, 2003 06:08 am (UTC)

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Yes, the ynet (so spelt) comments are sickening. But I knew that, and I try not to read them. Occasionally I do anyhow, and it is perhaps for the better: an occasional reminder of the bottom of the Israeli political barrel.

Again and again, I find that the only effective countermeasure to all this is education. The Minister of Education is that lowly, brutish woman, Livnat, and she only makes things worse. The Ministry itself, and the public education system, is growing worse rather than better, and nobody seems to care enough to do anything about it.

Well, some friends of mine do; I might be joining them.
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From:ukelele
Date:May 30th, 2003 08:37 am (UTC)
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Are you thinking of going into teaching, or what?

(My chances of teaching in my public education system took a dramatic upturn yesterday, so I'm especially interested in that sort of thing.)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 28th, 2003 05:00 am (UTC)

Do you think this is a response to the "roadmap"?

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Am I still off-base with my comparisons?

Dena
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From:ijon
Date:May 30th, 2003 06:13 am (UTC)

Re: Do you think this is a response to the "roadmap"?

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I don't know; how could I tell whether it's a response to the roadmap? Does its being or not being a response to the roadmap matter?

I'm not sure I remember the specific comparisons you mean. Want to remind me?
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From:shunra
Date:May 30th, 2003 08:42 pm (UTC)

Re: Do you think this is a response to the "roadmap"?

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Yes, being a response to the roadmap means that Sharon is trying to balance out the progress with some reression of rights, in order to mollify those people who would be delighted to have Israeli citizenship reserved only for Jews-by-halaxa.

Otherwise, it's just plain evil, not intended to mollify anyone.

My comparison: what advice would you give a young man seventy years ago, in a place sliding into inextricable evil?
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From:ygurvitz
Date:May 28th, 2003 10:37 am (UTC)

I disgaree

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Given that we are in a state of war with the Palestinians, I don't see any reason to grant Israeli citizenship to any Palestinian, political exiles excepted. Nor do i think that marriage with people who are de facto enemy subjects should be allowed.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 28th, 2003 11:14 am (UTC)

Muddy thinking?

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Israel is *NOT* in a state of war with the Palestinians, unless you consider a civil war a war. Israel is, in fact, holding most of their former territory, and has imposed military rule upon them.

The idea that marriage with the people who are de facto enemy subjects assumes the existence of a government to which these subjects are subject. Could you point to it?

Moreover, in a situation such as the civil war Palestine/Israel is in, with the extent to which the populations are intermingled (I know, I know, Israel's trying to Jewify the Galilee... ...but it hasn't succeeded), the idea of forbidding marriage is blatantly racist. I can imagine forbidding entry to a citizen of an enemy country despite marriage to an Israeli. But Palestine isn't an enemy country, it's occupied territories. (Reoccupied, in fact.)

The equivalent to your suggestion re: marriage would be the South African situation, forbidding marriage between whites and coloreds or blacks.

Anyhow, you've got facts on the ground to deal with: even if you forbid any NEW marriages, you've got all the ones that came about between 1888, when the Zionists began their colonization campign, and the arbitrary date at which you start your ruling. What do you do about these?

The Haaretz article reveals that the suicide bomber in Haifa was actually a Jew by Israeli and Jewish laws. His parents were married (or not) waaaaaaay earlier than the anti-marriage laws. What do you do about him? fight the tide?

Dena

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From:ygurvitz
Date:May 28th, 2003 12:27 pm (UTC)

Re: Muddy thinking?

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Israel is *NOT* in a state of war with the Palestinians, unless you consider a civil war a war.
Well, the facts are that a. there is a Palestinian people with b. san elected government (led by Arafat and Abu Mazen) who has c. led an unending series of murderous attacks against Israeli civilians.

Granted, there is no Palestinian State per se, but there are two warring people. And according to all polls taken in the last 24 months, an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the blowing to bits of Israelis.

Which is reason enough for me to decide that, as an enemy people with overt hostile intentions, I do not want to allow them Israeli citizenship.

As for racism, you are completely off the mark. I don't care whether the Palestinian in question is Arabic, Armenian, or for all I care Danish in extraction. All I care about is that he is a subject of a regime who is in war with my country. As for marriages that were made as of this date - I don't see how or why they should be revoked, but the state should not recognize any new ones (as of today, as far as I am concerned, but had serious thought been given to the matter in time, since October 2000, when the Palestinian authority unleashed the current round of this war).

I fail to see the difference between enemy territory and occupied territories. I would disapprove of any German asking and receiving American citizenship dsuring WWII, unless he was patently anti-Nazi, i.e., a political exile.
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From:ukelele
Date:May 28th, 2003 04:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Muddy thinking?

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The Geneva Conventions see a substantial amount of difference between enemy territory and occupied territory -- to wit, the amount you're allowed to blow up and the responsibilities of the occupiers vis-a-vis the occupied population -- which is why an Israeli head of state's use of the word "occupation" was an international news event yesterday, and why "disputed territory" is the more usual parlance. Hawkish Israeli politicians must maintain the distinction between the two terms, or they risk painting their policies as violations of international law.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 28th, 2003 08:28 pm (UTC)

The point you're missing is...

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...that the territories in dispute are not limited to what the Israelis occupied in '67 nor even to what the Israelis occupied in '48.

The territories in dispute are the ones the United Nations gave to the Zionists - basically, giving land away from under the feet of the Palestinians.

In '48, the Zionists performed an ethnic cleansing, depopulating 420+ Arab villages, the population of which became refugees. These refugees, and their "right of return" are the prime question of the entire "peace" process. Israelis do not want a majority of Palestinians in the territory currently controlled by Israel - but if they let the refugees (and their descendents) return to the mini-version of the state of Palestine, they'll find themselves with 9 million Palestinians (plus 1.2 million "Israeli Arabs", who are the ones who didn't get tossed out in '48 and survived the military regime forced on them between '48 and somewhere in the sixties [I think, not sure when it ended]) - as compared to the 4.8 million Jewish Israelis (which include somewhere between 300,000 and 1 million non-Jews, imported as a desperate attempt to keep the demographics skewed in favor of the Jews.)

Untenable, say the Israelis. Right, say the Palestinians. Stalemate. Still metim, in this case.

I propose that the two options (enemy territory and occupied territories) ignore the truth of the matter, which is that that since possession is 9/10ths of the law, the territory currently known as the State of Israel plus Occupied Territories is actually, in practice, one country under terrible governance, and those of you who are there had better hurry up and improve the situation before y'all bleed to death.

Dena

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From:ygurvitz
Date:May 29th, 2003 12:28 am (UTC)

The 1949 borders are not open to debate

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They have been internationally recognized. Ethnic cleansing went both ways during 1948, a fact you seem to either be unaware of.


The Israeli Palestinians suffer from persecution, but the way to change that is not to join their brethern from across the somewhat invisible border.

There is simply no way a single, multinational state can exist here. That will indeed lead to a civil war (and the current war isn't: Palestinians were never considered Israeli citizens, were never offered it, and the vast majority would reject it.) There is only one tenable solution: complete withdrawal from the OTS, turning over the settlements to the Palestinians, recognizing their statehood, and building a sturdy wall between Israel and Palestine.

After 20-30 years, maybe there'll be a point of talking about opening the borders and allowing trade. But the generation that has seen the explosions of cafes and the shooting of demonstrating children will have to pass.

No peace in our times, I'm afraid. A tense cease-fire will have to do.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 29th, 2003 10:07 am (UTC)

Not debating your position here

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I've come to the same conclusion - no peace in our times.

The reason for it, though, is that the people who have any other kind of vision for the place have given up - or think that someone else (maybe Bush?) should extricate them from the quagmire.

I think the two-state solution is unlikely to succeed, due to the 1949 problems. At the moment there are two realities, superimposed upon each other, and the tension between these two realities makes living there an exercise in frustration (see Ijon's mood and comments).

As to a multinational state: it's multiethnic, and it's there, whether you like it or not. The people living there are given or denied rights and privileges based on ethnic derivation, some of the people are fighting others of them, but the 9 million or so people currently residing in territory controlled by Israeli tanks are all there, all living, and relatively intermingled. I do not see any way of disentangling that, INCLUDING the two-state pipe-dream.

What's a better way? consider the Belgian example. Bloodthirsty lot, the Belgians, and they actually have a king, ignored by all equally. But they've found a modus vivendi. The key word here is the "viv-" prefix.

Dena
(watching from a distance)

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From:ijon
Date:May 30th, 2003 06:33 am (UTC)

Re: Not debating your position here

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I think the Israeli and Palestinian populations in the OT can hardly be said to be "relatively intermingled". Interspersed is as far as I would go. The settlements themselves are strictly ethnic, and there is great (and justifiable) hostility between the two groups, which "intermingled" sort of whitewashes.

Unless some sort of "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" can be had, and I sincerely doubt that, there is no way a one-state model could be established. The alternative is what Yossi suggested above -- complete withdrawal from the OT, a big wall, etc. But that just doesn't have enough support. And so, as you said: stalemate. More blood must be shed.

And that's what breeds despair.
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From:ijon
Date:May 30th, 2003 06:23 am (UTC)

Re: The 1949 borders are not open to debate

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I agree. But the solution you and I would prefer simply lacks a majority in the Israeli voting populace. When we explain democracy to our children, these days, ימים אין חפץ בם, would make a good case study.
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From:ijon
Date:May 30th, 2003 06:20 am (UTC)

Re: The point you're missing is...

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You think the two-state model is unrealistic, but you urge the two sides to "improve the situation" towards a one-state model. What makes you think that a one-state model is tenable? I don't think it is: the Israeli society would simply collapse -- upper- and middle-class people would emigrate en masse, the industry and business sectors would be shattered, and that would be the end of the Israeli dream. I doubt life in the new Israel would be worth living, for those who knew better times.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 30th, 2003 12:33 pm (UTC)

Urging both sides...

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As it goes, the collapse of Israeli society will be prevented by - what? Right now, what sane reason is there to remain in Israel, for someone who sees the next 50 years as bleakly as the previous ones? "It's the only thing I know," doesn't cut it, I'm afraid. And where will people find the energy to maintain and promote projects for social change, which is /desperately/ needed if Israel is to remain a democracy.

I completely agree with you about the truth and reconciliation a la South Africa. I cherish the hope that the Palestinian civil disobedience campaign will grow to the point of being noticeable. This may require some changes in the structure of reporting in Israel and the US - Europe has at least glimmers of what's going on there.

What hope has Israel when its very finest sons and daughters see it as a warcamp?

Dena
(getting an LJ account set up as we speak)
(and thanks!)
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From:ukelele
Date:May 30th, 2003 12:36 pm (UTC)

Re: Urging both sides...

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*raises hand* I'm in the US, and I don't know what you're talking about, but it sounds interesting -- want to report it to me?
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From:shunra
Date:May 30th, 2003 07:55 pm (UTC)

Re: Urging both sides...

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Uh... are you asking about civil disobedience in the OT?

Have you heard of the International Solidarity Movement? Their role (among others) has been to stand in front of houses that the Israeli army wants to demolish, under the assumption that while the army might run their bulldozers over Palestinians, it won't run them over Americans or Europeans. They've also brought in vitamins, medications, and used clothing for the people of the OT (where some large percentage of the population is subsisting on $1-2 a day.) Of course their coordination is closely linked with Palestinian groups and individuals - otherwise, there would be no cooperation with them!

Let me know if you want to hear of otehrs.
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From:wildernesscat
Date:May 29th, 2003 07:36 am (UTC)

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Oh dear... The old man has gone bananas (not only on this issue).
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