Ma’ale Adumim: Annexation and the Architecture of Apartheid

maaleadumim
Ma’ale Adumim (Photo: Tess Scheflan/ Activestills.org)

Today we came away stunned, shocked and almost numb from our trip to East Jerusalem with Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. And when I say we, I mean my family—my wife and two children, 19 and 21. We have spent the last 10 days trying to get into Gaza from Egypt; demonstrating against the Gaza siege and joining demonstrations in Israel at the Erez crossing and protesting the evictions in the Sheikh-Jarrah area of East Jerusalem. But nothing and I mean nothing prepared me for today and our trip through East Jerusalem and to Ma’ale Adumim, a city a few kilometers away. It was not the Palestinians we met, although each had heart breaking stories. Rather it was our seeing first hand the deliberateness of the Israeli annexation project and its seeming inevitability. If you want to be made almost speechless stand at the edge of East Jerusalem and look out at a vast construction project on someone else’s land. Look out at the commission of a monstrous crime, open and notorious. As one of my children asked, “Why have the countries of the world done nothing to stop this?” I said, “It’s worse, the U.S. and others have aided and abetted this crime.”

Today we traveled with Jeff through East Jerusalem and to what some, at least in the media in the U.S,. refer to as the settlement of Ma’ale Adumin. It is not a settlement, but a new city of 50,000 Israeli Jews, soon to be expanded to 70,000. Ma’ale Adumim, built on a hilltop, will ultimately be, or is already, part of the expansion of East Jerusalem into a wider municipality that is called by some the “Jerusalem envelope.” Before we drove through the valley to get to Ma’ale Adumim, Jeff showed us a bit of East Jerusalem. He pointed out the Israeli Ministry of Interior, the police headquarters and the courts, all now in East Jerusalem; all a means of asserting Israeli control over the area and its Palestinian inhabitants. Then we went close to the 25 foot high concrete separation wall which will ultimately lock out Palestinians from Israel, Jerusalem and many cities, towns and settlements in the occupied territories. On a knoll above that particular piece of wall we saw a prison and an interrogation center for Shabak, the Israeli internal security agency.

Jeff then drove us to a viewing site at the edge of East Jerusalem where we overlooked what is called by Israel area E1. It was a valley with roads criss-crossing it, a few houses and trees and on the distant other side, there it was, Ma’ale Adumim. While I had heard of area E1, I never understood what was meant. I think I understand it now. It is, at least the valley area I was looking at, the road system and land that will link Ma’ale Adumim to East Jerusalem and other settlements. Area E1 will also cut off Palestinians traveling north and south; they will be forced to make circuitous routes from one Palestinian area to another. And remember all of this land is in occupied territory including all of East Jerusalem. Israel’s actions are in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions.

As we drove toward Ma’ale Adumim Jeff took us to what are known as Areas A, B and C. Area A is where there is full Palestinian control; B is where there is joint Palestinian and Israeli control; and C is where there is full Israeli control. It is in the C area of East Jerusalem where many of the house demolitions are occurring—another story for later. We also went to the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem where some 35,000 Palestinians live in poverty with no municipal services. We drove past small sheet metal shacks of Jumalat Bedouins who, like many Palestinians, are facing eviction. We saw field after field of olive tree stumps, 100 year old trees that once belonged to the Bedouins that had been cut down by the Israelis—insuring that Bedouins could not stay in or near East Jerusalem. We passed an almost completed road with a high metal wall separating two concrete strips; one side was for Palestinians and the other Israelis. Finally, we began our drive up to the city on the hill, Ma’ale Adumim.

treelinedstreetmaaleadumimAn uprooted Palestinian olive tree now stands in the center of a traffic circle in the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. (Photo: Interfaith Peace Builders)

What first strikes one is the color. The city is green and lush. There is grass everywhere and palm trees lining cleanly paved concrete roads. This is all in an area where water is almost non-existent and many Palestinians have no water. In the center of each of the roundabouts on the way up is an olive tree, but not just an ordinary olive tree, but a wide squat one that is perhaps 400 or even 500 years old, likely an olive tree likely taken from Palestinian land. At the entrance to the city is one of the more incongruous and Orwellian monuments to erect in this stolen city: a huge white metal sculpture of two doves with wings unfolded sheltering a globe and inscribed on its base with the word—and it seems like a nasty joke—“Peace.” Peace, apparently defined, as the dismembering of the Palestinian people. As we continued our ride up we pass a suburban shopping mall with some big box stores, stores that are part of international chains that hopefully will become targets of the BDS movement.

We finally stop at the end of a street that could come out of any middle class suburb in America: neat houses and apartments with small yards. Ma’ale Adumim is called a dormitory community or as we would say, a bedroom community. Its residents work in Jerusalem. They live here rather than in Jerusalem because of price (half that of Jerusalem) and lower taxes, not because of religious ideology. It is a secular community that can shop at the mall and will be able to drive to work in a few minutes on segregated roads. We went to a lookout over the E1 area and toward Jerusalem. As we looked down the hill we saw a construction site for a huge swimming pool—a swimming pool in this parched land where only the select have water. Across the valley we saw the building of the architecture of apartheid: the segregated roads and separation walls. I could have been standing in a white only town in South Africa, but I was standing in an Israeli Jewish only town in the occupied territories.

Michael Ratner is a human rights attorney and the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 61 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Chaos4700 says:

    Israelis consume five times as much water as Palestinians, and most of the water used (and wasted) by Israel originates from outside the Green Line.

    Israel cannot survive without military conquest — at this rate, even the water sources they’ve stolen will become depleted.

    However, it is the 21st century, and Israel will not be allowed to survive on military conquest.

    Enjoy it while it lasts, Israelis.

    • Look out at the commission of a monstrous crime, open and notorious. As one of my children asked, “Why have the countries of the world done nothing to stop this?” I said, “It’s worse, the U.S. and others have aided and abetted this crime.”

      Mr. Ratner, please tell your children that SOME countries, and their leaders, HAVE tried to do “something to stop this” — Iran’s leaders, from Ayatollah Khomeini to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have attempted to draw the world’s attention to “this crime.”
      For their pains, the nations of West, goaded by Israel, have demonized Iran relentlessly, stolen assets in the West that belong to Iran, threatened Iran with massive financial destabilization to the point of starvation and death.

      Israel’s crimes do not stop in East Jerusalem or even in Washington, DC; they reverberate throughout the world.

  2. Kathleen says:

    I have been reading about these confiscation of Palestinian lands, demolition of homes and then building of illegal settlements and illegal structures for decades. My dear friend Art Gish who used to be with Christian Peace Maker Team and now with the International Solidarity movement has been going to Israel and the Occupied territories for at least 15 years walking with Palestinian children to school, standing in front of Israeli tanks about to destroy Palestinian homes and living and working with Palestinians shepherds out in the fields. He has shared stories like this and more about the devastation, the humiliation that the Palestinians have been suffering for decades under the apartheid government of Israel. Your child ask a great question why have so many let this horrific situation go on for so long?

    Well most of us know. I I lobby holds our congress in check. And the crimes keep being repeated. Our media is complicit still. Rachel Maddow, Keith Olberman, Ed, Chris Matthews and the rest of the MSM will not shed any light on this situation. Hell the so called progressive blogs barely touch the issue.

    Thank you for sharing your story and for being witness.

  3. I could have been standing in a white only town in South Africa, but I was standing in an Israeli Jewish only town in the occupied territories.

    This hits the nail on the head. A very moving piece.

    • Mooser says:

      The bit about the stolen olive trees being watered with stolen water in the Jews-only traffic circles shocked the hell out of me!
      So those are the people we should be in a “battle of ideas” with? And then we go on to the lower-rent advantages of secular Jews living in a settlement. I don’t think ideas mean a whole lot to these people.

      • potsherd says:

        Dr Yaakov tells us those trees were grown in kosher nurseries. Where else could they have come from?

        • tree says:

          Where else could they have come from?

          I know you are just kidding, potsherd, but for anyone who’s interested in documentation about the theft of Palestinian olive trees and their replanting in Jewish settlements and elsewhere, here is a reprint from a Yediot Aharonoth article from November 2002:

          As I documented this industry of olive-looting at the heart of Samaria, two Yedioth Aharonot reporters – Meiron Rapoport and Oron Meiri – did some market research on olive trees at nurseries in the heart of Israel. They discovered a different brand of looting there, no less ugly. It seems that contractors building the “separation fence” have been uprooting thousands of trees belonging to owners of the land that has been confiscated from Palestinians. The price of such a tree runs between 600 and 25,000 shekels (!). But instead of transferring the tree for its owner to another spot to be replanted (explicit orders of the Ministry of Defense), some of the contractors sell it to nurseries within Israel. Entire olive groves have been erased this way, hundreds of thousands of easy shekels, all cash – net profit under the auspices of the civil administration.

          More at the link.

          link to ccmep.org

          and there is also this, from Haaretz in January 2006:

          “Five years ago, when I started to deal with Tzurim Valley,” says Eviatar Cohen, who has made the parks in East Jerusalem his baby, “there were a few hundred olive trees here, some of them in a state of clinical death. They were dried out and the earth was not plowed, it was as hard as iron. We brought at least a thousand trees here.”

          The word is that the trees you received had been uprooted elsewhere in order to make way for the separation fence.

          “Yes, that is true. We had a small number of trees that we received through the Defense Ministry or the Jewish National Fund. Then we were told that there were trees and [were asked] if we would be willing to take them and rehabilitate them. Relatively speaking, they were not in good condition; many of them were dried out and it was hard to save them. But most of the trees we brought there were from tree nurseries – a lot of work.”

          “A small number” is a relative matter. A person who until recently worked in the Jerusalem District of the Nature and National Parks Protection Authority quotes a senior official in the authority as telling him that they would be receiving “a few hundred” trees from the route of the separation fence. That is indeed “a small number” compared to the tens of thousands of olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers that were uprooted along the fence.

          According to the Defense Ministry’s “Security Fence” Web site, in the northern section of the fence alone, between Jenin and Qalqilyah, about 60,000 olive trees were uprooted (see link to securityfence.mod.gov.il). The Palestinians say there were twice as many, at least. The Defense Ministry obligated the contractors who built the fence to transfer the uprooted trees to their Palestinian owners, but some of the contractors could not resist the temptation of the market price- about NIS 1,000 per olive tree – and preferred to trade in the stolen trees.

          Eviatar Cohen does not know exactly how these trees reached the park he established in East Jerusalem in order to give it the character of a “primeval landscape,” but it is almost certain that they got here without the consent of their owners. It is not just a question of beauty or even of morality, however. The “primeval landscape” in Jerusalem has become the center of a political dispute. In the name of that landscape, the Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) now wants to prevent the residents of Isawiyah and A-Tur, two East Jerusalem neighborhoods, from expanding their built-up areas.

          More….
          link to haaretz.com

          In this second instance, the olive trees uprooted and stolen served dual anti-Palestinian purposes: the destruction of Palestinian land and livelihood from where they were taken as well as the blocking of the expansion of a Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood.

        • tree says:

          Where else could they have come from?

          I know you are just kidding, potsherd, but for anyone who’s interested in documentation about the theft of Palestinian olive trees and their replanting in Jewish settlements and elsewhere, here is a reprint from a Yediot Aharonoth article from November 2002:

          As I documented this industry of olive-looting at the heart of Samaria, two Yedioth Aharonot reporters – Meiron Rapoport and Oron Meiri – did some market research on olive trees at nurseries in the heart of Israel. They discovered a different brand of looting there, no less ugly. It seems that contractors building the “separation fence” have been uprooting thousands of trees belonging to owners of the land that has been confiscated from Palestinians. The price of such a tree runs between 600 and 25,000 shekels (!). But instead of transferring the tree for its owner to another spot to be replanted (explicit orders of the Ministry of Defense), some of the contractors sell it to nurseries within Israel. Entire olive groves have been erased this way, hundreds of thousands of easy shekels, all cash – net profit under the auspices of the civil administration.

          More at the link.

          link to ccmep.org

          and there is also this, from Haaretz in January 2006:

          …“Five years ago, when I started to deal with Tzurim Valley,” says Eviatar Cohen, who has made the parks in East Jerusalem his baby, “there were a few hundred olive trees here, some of them in a state of clinical death. They were dried out and the earth was not plowed, it was as hard as iron. We brought at least a thousand trees here.”

          The word is that the trees you received had been uprooted elsewhere in order to make way for the separation fence.

          “Yes, that is true. We had a small number of trees that we received through the Defense Ministry or the Jewish National Fund. Then we were told that there were trees and [were asked] if we would be willing to take them and rehabilitate them. Relatively speaking, they were not in good condition; many of them were dried out and it was hard to save them. But most of the trees we brought there were from tree nurseries – a lot of work.”

          “A small number” is a relative matter. A person who until recently worked in the Jerusalem District of the Nature and National Parks Protection Authority quotes a senior official in the authority as telling him that they would be receiving “a few hundred” trees from the route of the separation fence. That is indeed “a small number” compared to the tens of thousands of olive trees belonging to Palestinian farmers that were uprooted along the fence.

          According to the Defense Ministry’s “Security Fence” Web site, in the northern section of the fence alone, between Jenin and Qalqilyah, about 60,000 olive trees were uprooted The Palestinians say there were twice as many, at least. The Defense Ministry obligated the contractors who built the fence to transfer the uprooted trees to their Palestinian owners, but some of the contractors could not resist the temptation of the market price- about NIS 1,000 per olive tree – and preferred to trade in the stolen trees.

          Eviatar Cohen does not know exactly how these trees reached the park he established in East Jerusalem in order to give it the character of a “primeval landscape,” but it is almost certain that they got here without the consent of their owners. It is not just a question of beauty or even of morality, however. The “primeval landscape” in Jerusalem has become the center of a political dispute. In the name of that landscape, the Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) now wants to prevent the residents of Isawiyah and A-Tur, two East Jerusalem neighborhoods, from expanding their built-up areas.

          More….
          link to haaretz.com

          In this second instance, the olive trees uprooted and stolen served dual anti-Palestinian purposes: the destruction of Palestinian land and livelihood from where they were taken as well as the blocking of the expansion of a Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood.

          Note: I had to remove a link in the Haaretz article to get past moderation.

  4. sammy says:

    Thanks Michael, you have a way with words. For a while, I was right there, feeling what you are seeing.

  5. Shmuel says:

    I’d like to add my thanks, Michael – for your plastic description of the parts, but especially of the whole. All too often, the parts are excused as matters of security, demographics, the actions of an incontrollable few, or weakly condemned as unhelpful or not conducive to peace. The reality, as you point out, is a concerted plan of violence and displacement, a system of discrimination that cannot be reduced to its possibly excusable – or at least understandable – isolated components. This is the crux of changing hearts and minds in the West, the formidable obstacle we must overcome.

  6. To the Mondoweiss community,
    This will be my one and only comment on this website.
    As a regular reader of Mondoweiss, I have long since resigned myself to the spite and the malice which are its main fare. Indeed, one reason I regularly visit is to keep updated on the themes and argumentation of the enemies of my nation. Perhaps someday we will manage to make peace with our Palestinian neighbors: I certainly hope so, having lost far too many of my friends in wars with them, and wishing them better than what they’ve got.
    We will never be able to make peace with the sort of people who write at Mondoweiss and frequent its comment sections, however, since the source of your enmity is irrational, it’s resistant to facts, and there’s no common ground from which to begin a discussion. Ask yourselves a simple question: is there a theoretical interpretation of the facts as they seem, which might lead you to a different understanding of the reality; is there any explanation of Israel’s actions which might weaken the template always used here at Mondoweiss? Not: Do we agree with that interpretation, simply: could it exist?
    One of the oddest things a regular reading of Mondoweiss demonstrates is that the Mondoweiss community has not the slightest interest in the Israelis as human beings. There is never any honest attempt to understand who they are, how they see their world, and how this understanding informs their actions. Yet odder, however, the exact same thing holds also for the Palestinians. The Mondoweiss community loves the Palestinians, automatically sees them as beautiful people and wonderful, but never sees them as human beings. There is no slightest interest in who they are, how they see their world, and how this understanding informs their actions.
    The Israelis are cardboard figures of evil, devoid of any real life. The Palestinians are cardboard figures of virtue, devoid of any real life. It’s weird.
    Dr. Yaacov Lozowick,
    Jerusalem

    • Citizen says:

      Dear Dr. Yaacov Lozowick:
      Please apply your test, the theoretical interpretation of the facts as they seem, to your own
      black and white comment summary of the sort of people and their thinking contained in the comments of the people who write at Mondoweiss. You need to start reading from something besides your own fantasy comic book. Try using a few more crayons too–get the big box of Crayolas. I’m sure you can get a free box confiscated at the border
      gate to Gaza, or try the crayons taken from the Free Gaza boats.

      • Citizen says:

        And, Dr. Yaacov,

        Here’s some of those “weird” comments (from AreaMan) posted today on Mondoweiss:

        “The Germans, Russians, and Chinese who were dislocated or relocated in the 1940’s have built new lives in the their new locations. Only the Arabs insist on deliberately magnifying their troubles by waging hopeless wars and imprisoning each other in so-called “Refugee” camps.

        The difficulties of the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank, while milder than many others in this world, are caused by their own addiction to mindless violence.

        The land in question is Jewish land. Jews were given complete “national rights” in Palestine by international law, from the river to the sea.”

        Fit your template, or no?

    • potsherd says:

      Dr Yaacov obviously hasn’t been reading the site recently, as he seems to have missed the current series of profiles of Jewish Israelis and their feelings about Zionism.

    • I’ve seen YOUR website, DOCTOR Lozowick; the hate, it reeks.

      don’t let the door hit you on the wayout of Mondoweiss.

    • Oscar says:

      Dr. Lozowick, I respectfully disagree. This website has had a lively exchange of ideas and debates for several years, and this is not an anti-Israel website. The most passionate posters on the Mondoweiss website believe that the Palestinians are victims, and that the occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal. They are outraged by Israel’s unblinking support of the death of 1,400 citizens of Gaza in Operation Cast Lead, and appalled by the use of white phosphorus weapons on women and children. The participants on this website are exceptionally well-read and conversant on Middle East history, and have no tolerance for hasbara.

      The majority of participants on this site believe a religious-driven, Zionist movement to ethnically cleanse Palestinians (by destroying their homes, livelihood, dignity, and families) and drive them into the arms of Egypt and Jordan is an ongoing violation of the Geneva Convention. They believe that the Goldstone Report has some troubling findings that require further investigation.

      I disagree with your statement that Mondoweiss has no interest in understanding the Israeli perspective. I’d wager that 90% of the participants read either JPost.com and Haaretz.com on a daily basis, and a good percentage of those read both. I certainly do.

      • Mooser says:

        There is no question but that Mondoweiss has gone to extraordinary lengths to try and understand the Israeli perspective. But in case Mondoweiss has not gone far enough, I suggest we adopt the Zionist method for understanding their opponents.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Meh, if we’re lucky this really is a one-off posting stunt to try to get attention to himself, ala Richard Witty. I’d really hate to have another pseudo-academic coming here, accusing all of us of racism and then promptly leaning on every hateful Arab stereotype in the book. As if we don’t hear shouts of “Hudna! Hudna! Hudna!” from our regular Zionists.

      Incidentally, what part of the Holy Land does a name like “Lozowick” originate from, out of curiosity? It’s funny, because as it happens I have Polish ancestry and funny enough, that phonetic structure seems awfully familiar…

  7. You got that a little bit wrong, Chaos. Much of Israel’s water comes from the springline between the Green Line and the Wall. They are taking out the water from underneath the West Bankers’ feet. link to images.search.yahoo.com

    • Richard – does Israel use Lebanon’s Litani River resources? I thought that securing that river region was one of Israel’s objectives in their 2006 war on Lebanon.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Was I inaccurate? I said that most of Israel’s water originates from outside the Green Line. That’s exactly what you are pointing out too. At any rate, thanks for the clarification.

  8. Citizen says:

    It’s interesting to juxtipose the picture painted here of the factual architecture of apartheid and annexation with this abstract reasoning asserting the disparate “flavors” of Zionism, justifying the very
    architecture of the state\mental conditions of Israel–discrimination is, as discrimination does:

    link to ameinu.net

  9. Pingback: RATNER: Ma’ale Adumim – Annexation and the Architecture of Apartheid

  10. AreaMan says:

    Mr. Ratner ignores the warfare that led to the current situation. He also is making stuff by assuming where the olive trees come from and what the condition of the land was a hundred, or fifty, years ago.

    The Germans, Russians, and Chinese who were dislocated or relocated in the 1940′s have built new lives in the their new locations. Only the Arabs insist on deliberately magnifying their troubles by waging hopeless wars and imprisoning each other in so-called “Refugee” camps.

    The difficulties of the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank, while milder than many others in this world, are caused by their own addiction to mindless violence.

    The land in question is Jewish land. Jews were given complete “national rights” in Palestine by international law, from the river to the sea. The Arabs have “civil” and “religious” rights in Palestine, and national rights in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordon.

    • sammy says:

      The land in question is Jewish land. Jews were given complete “national rights” in Palestine by international law, from the river to the sea. The Arabs have “civil” and “religious” rights in Palestine, and national rights in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Jordon.

      I’m sorry but you’re deluded. Palestinian rights are covered by UNHCR [basic right to live on indigenous lands]. “Jewish” rights do not exist. The UN has no jurisdiction or legal right to give any indigenous land to foreign immigrants, for any reason whatsoever.

    • potsherd says:

      Another hasbara victim with a mind stuffed full of lies.

      It’s like having a Flat Earther show up and insist that the flights to the moon were all filmed on a sound stage.

      • sammy says:

        I feel more pity than anger towards them. They are so dreadfully brainwashed into myth over facts.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          I wish I had that much mercy, sometimes.

        • I’ve been studying Reinhold Niebuhr and his critique of Gandhi — that Gandhis’s non-violent resistence was not really non-violent if it was carried out while harboring hate. He challenged MLK to used Gandhi tactics but while following the ultimate of Jesus’s injunctions: Love your enemy.

          When you think about it, it not only the “Christian” thing to do, it’s good politics.

    • Citizen says:

      Yep, that’s the ticket–the root source of the Palestinian problem is that the Palestinians are all addicted to mindless violence, and oh yeah, always magnify their own self-induced problems and imprison themselves. Got it! Thanks for sharing
      your insight, AreaMan.

      For the rest of you alighting here who find AreaMan’s a tad historically and philosophically unpersuasive –turn on CSPAN Washington Journal right now and listen to Michael Scheuer and the calls coming in he is addressing: It’s 10:09 AM EST, a repeat of the segment from earlier this morning.

      • sammy says:

        Thanks, I was waiting on the video, I didn’t know it would be repeated

      • you know, I went to an event hosted by a Jewish Community group in my area at which Dr. Izzeldin Abu Laish was the featured speaker. Dr. Abu Laish is the Palestinian physician/peacemaker who was being interviewed by an Israeli newscaster at the moment he received word that his daughters had been killed by IDF in the Gaza assault last year. In a subsequent interview in an Israeli airport, a Jewish woman verbally assaulted Dr. Abu Laish, blaming him for the attack on his home; the crowd around the Israeli woman amplified her verbal abuse. Izzeldin put his head in his hands and moaned, “They do not want to know the truth.” (There is video of the latter event, but it is very hard to find.)

        At that Jewish-hosted event, before a capacity crowd, not one, not two, but four of the seven persons from the audience who had the opportunity to ask questions of Dr. Abu Laish — four of them attacked Abu Laish and blamed the Palestinians for their misery, with just the same logic as areaman’s.

    • Cliff says:

      The difficulties of the Arabs of Gaza and the West Bank, while milder than many others in this world, are caused by their own addiction to mindless violence.

      Compelling and rich analysis. They’re ‘addicted’ to violence! This is so fail, even for hasbara standards.

      Please, re-read the Hasbara Handbook again carefully and try again.

      • has anyone been able to obtain a copy of the more recent Hasbara handbook? The 2002 version is available online, link to middle-east-info.org but I saw Jewish college students with a newer version at a 2008 talk by the Syrian ambassador to the US. Interested to see what new thuggery zionists are using to indoctrinate their young.

      • Mooser says:

        Typical anti-Zionist trick, Cliff! You advise them to read the Hasbara handbook, but you refuse to give a link to said handbook! Well, here it is:

        “How to Make the Case For Israel- and Win!”

        link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

        Everything any Zionist needs to defeat a blog like this is in that article. Such a hit you’ll give those Cossacks, after you’ve mastered the simple principles of Israeli apologetics!

  11. Sorry to derail, but on a side note, Mondoweiss makes its way to the top 20 global media figures for 2009:

    link to pulsemedia.org

  12. Hollow Lands: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation link to amazon.com

    A groundbreaking exposé of Israel’s terrifying reconceptualization of geopolitics in the Occupied Territories and beyond.

    Hollow Land is a groundbreaking exploration of the political space created by Israel’s colonial occupation. In this journey from the deep subterranean spaces of the West Bank and Gaza to their militarized airspace, Weizman unravels Israel’s mechanisms of control and its transformation of the Occupied Territories into a theoretically constructed artifice, in which natural and built features function as the weapons and ammunition with which the conflict is waged. Weizman traces the development of these ideas, from the influence of archaeology on urban planning, Ariel Sharon’s reconceptualization of military defense during the 1973 war, through the planning and architecture of the settlements, to contemporary Israeli discourse and practice of urban warfare. In exploring Israel’s methods to transform the landscape itself into a tool of total domination and control, Hollow Land lays bare the political system at the heart of this complex and terrifying project of late-modern colonial occupation.

    when I posted an excerpt from one of Avigail Abarbanal’s essays a few days ago, someone on this forum questioned whether what was true on an individual basis could be applied to the general (Israeli) population, and how that could come about (very loosely interpreted/paraphrased, from memory not reference).

    I referred that commenter to other of Abarbanal’s essays, which discuss how the Israeli system of education and civic indoctrination nearly compels the individual to subsume his/her identity in the Jewish Israeli narrative of eons-long victimization, with Israel the sole survival mechanism.

    Hollow Land describes how the very landscape — the ground a Jewish Israeli walks on, the sights his/her eyes commit to their brains — are deliberately envisioned and constructed to enforce the same narrative.

    Ultimately, Jewish Israelis are tragic people destroyed by their own hate and propagandization of that hate; Ahmadinejad was, in the last analysis, correct. The best we in the US can hope for is to attempt to deal with our American Jewish neighbors as compassionately as possible, and to demand that our American government extirpate itself from its complicity in the Jewish Israeli psychosis.

  13. Apparently in response to this post, a Zionist blogger tried to post a comment bashing the whole Mondoweiss community. For some reason, the comment hasn’t yet appeared. Although the most likely cause is a problem with the registration process, this blogger is now moaning about “censorship” at Mondoweiss. Feel free to visit his blog and explain to him what MW is about.

  14. Mooser says:

    Dear Dr. Yaacov Lozowick:

    Are you going to leave poor Richard Witty all alone, as the only voice of reason and sanity in the Mondoweiss cesspool? Why don’t you join in and help him? It should be simple, if you both consult and adhere to the basic and consistent pronciples which undergird Zionism, huh?

    Look folks, I’ve been a Jew all my life, so I am competent to translate Dr. Lozowick’s prose into English. Here’s a quick rendering:
    This website scares the hell out of me, and if I post, I’ll quickly be exposed as an intellectually impotent, and morally repugnant bigot, (and both of those in such a petty, vicarious way) so I’ll just cast a few aspersions and run like hell

    • Shmuel says:

      Excellent translation, Mooser. There was a British comedy that used to call this sort of thing “Captain Subtext”.

    • sammy says:

      @ Mooser: I just read your post chez Yaacov and sputtered all over my keyboard. :D

    • yonira says:

      Translate Mooser prose into English:

      If you don’t agree %100 percent with us you are a fraud, and we will try to alienate you as much as possible.

      • Shmuel says:

        You stick around and take the flak, Yonira, and even concede points from time to time. You have to admit that the good doctor’s hit and run group-scolding was begging for a little “Captain Subtext”. I think Mooser actually went easy on him.

  15. Mooser says:

    “One of the oddest things a regular reading of Mondoweiss demonstrates is that the Mondoweiss community has not the slightest interest in the Israelis as human beings. There is never any honest attempt to understand who they are, how they see their world, and how this understanding informs their actions.”

    Gosh, I think the Israelis have made it more than plain.

  16. yonira says:

    Mondoweiss is not a welcoming community for anyone who doesn’t believe in a bi-national solution to the I/P problem.

    • sammy says:

      And it shouldn’t be, if the movement was about segregating Jews in America, where would you stand?

      • yonira says:

        I am vehemently against segregating anyone in America. My point was it alienates everyone who has an opinion which is someone different than yours. I consider myself a pretty moderate Zionist. I believe in the Nakba, I hate the occupation, I don’t support Cast Lead. My only problem is I believe a two-state solution is the answer, not a bi-national one and for this I am called a Nazi repeatedly on here(although its been a good week since that has happened thank you Mondoweiss commenters!).

        • sammy says:

          Well I don’t see you as an extremist, so you won’t find me making the same arguments against you as I do against Witty, for example. But I think anyone who supports the two state solution, knowing how Israel has behaved towards the Palestinians without any change in policy over the last 60 years, is simply consigning all Palestinians to a semi-existence that will be characterised by a Cast Lead every so often. Thats not something to wish on any people. So in my mind, anyone who supports a two state solution is signing up for the genocide of the Palestinians.

          Thats the way I see it.

        • Shmuel says:

          You’re playing the innocent, yonira, and it doesn’t become you ;-)

          Most of the abuse you get here (which is quite a bit, I admit) is for playing the apologist – trying to explain and defend things, even you don’t agree with, or attacking positions you actually do agree with. If it were only a matter of 2-state vs. 1-state (even without treating Palestinians as true equals) you’d get a lot more respect.

        • sammy says:

          I think he is just young. When I was in the US, I used to attend pro-Israel demonstrations armed with facts and figures in a list and ask the young people who held up “I support Israel” posters, which policies they supported most. Blocking school supplies, sending in 9 trucks of food over two weeks as compared to 500 a day, not allowing cancer sufferers access to medical aid, strip searching and rooting around the anal cavities of holocaust survivors, etc.

          There were some interesting conversations. :-)

        • Shmuel says:

          There were some interesting conversations. :-)

          I was once helping to man a left-wing stand in one of Jerusalem’s main squares. When I showed up for my shift and asked the fellow before me how his shift had gone, he said it was fine “except for this one guy who tried to choke me – but I deserved it”. He then explained that the guy had been spouting fascist anti-Arab propaganda and had a French accent, so he called him “Le Pen”.

    • Donald says:

      That’s mostly true, though not entirely. In theory I prefer the bi-national solution since it’s the fairest, but in practice I’d be afraid it might blow up into civil war. You could have the majority in both communities wanting to live in peace and still have this happen. People haven’t jumped on me when I stated this, presumably because I’m also a pretty harsh critic of Zionism.

      I do think the blog comment section would be improved by the addition of some liberal Zionists who favor the two state solution but don’t make excuses for Israeli crimes. It won’t be easy for such a person, of course.

      In general, you expect a blog on a topic like this to end up with people having heated arguments and if one side prevails in numbers, it’s going to be unwelcoming to the other. I don’t think bi-nationalists are going to be welcomed at “pro-Israel” blogs.