On the West Bank, the mood is resigned, edgy

I was in Bethlehem when word came of the Israeli assassination in Gaza — “this is very bad news,” my friend said, looking at her phone — and then spent the rest of the night in the West Bank, and the only word for the mood here is, Resigned.

The people were quiet, even if they had one ear turned to radios screaming news of the killings. The checkpoints were mostly empty. The squares in Ramallah were jammed with police and young men, but the mood was reserved. A friend at the restaurant where I ate dinner described a march of 100 demonstrators in downtown Ramallah– but said it was largely restrained. No one was raucous, no one was outwardly angry. No fires were burning in the streets. In another room of the restaurant someone was smoking dope. “Welcome to hell,” a friend said, arriving, taking off his jacket. 

Here we go again– that was the feeling. The passivity and uncertainty of military occupation envelop the place. So Israeli is killing again in Gaza — what else is new? No one with any power is going to say anything. The Israelis have smashed any resistance again and again. And where is our leadership? Nowhere. 

The electricity in the restaurant went out for 5 minutes and the place was suddenly anxious. “Did you hear that?” It sounded like a double explosion. Edgy silence. Just like the feeling on the bus I rode into Ramallah two hours before when it broke down. People were nervous, afraid to leave their seats for ten minutes, before a couple of drivers got it going and people sat back.

And though there is talk of demonstrations at all the checkpoints, Qalandiya was dead when I came back into East Jerusalem at 11 o’clock. No one wants to be caught outside on a night like this; and people impose their own curfews. You don’t know what the Israelis will do. 

At that point The Dersh had tweeted with savage irony: People were worried that Obama was going to get hard on Israel, but they are murdering Palestinian men, women and children with impunity once again. 

So Gaza was Israel’s gift to Obama before his inauguration, and now upon his reelection. “Obama do you enjoy when Israel takes a [expletive deleted] in your lap after you win election to the most powerful office on Earth?” Scott Roth tweeted, while Ian Bremmer reported the inevitable news from the president’s news conference:

 
They hear America loud and clear in the West Bank, and it is the sound of indifference; and the bully goes wild once again.  

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

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

  1. Hostage says:

    Here we go again– that was the feeling. The passivity and uncertainty of military occupation envelop the place. So Israeli is killing again in Gaza — what else is new? No one with any power is going to say anything. The Israelis have smashed any resistance again and again. And where is our leadership? Nowhere.

    Just in case the news hasn’t reached the West Bank, you’re next:

    Israel should topple the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, if he presses ahead with a request for recognition of the state of Palestine by the United Nations general assembly in two weeks’ time, the hardline foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has urged.

    In a draft paper distributed to the media, Lieberman argued that overthrowing the Palestinian leadership was Israel’s only viable option, faced with the certainty of an overwhelming vote in support of the Palestinian bid.

    “A reality in which the United Nations recognises a Palestinian state according to a unilateral process will destroy all Israeli deterrence and completely harm its credibility,” the paper said.

    link to guardian.co.uk

  2. ● RE: “No one [Palestinian] wants to be caught outside [in the West Bank] on a night like this; and people impose their own curfews. You don’t know what the Israelis will do.” ~ Weiss

    ● FROM ALISTAIR CROOKE, London Review of Books, 03/03/11:

    [EXCERPTS] . . . It was [Ariel] Sharon who pioneered the philosophy of ‘maintained uncertainty’ that repeatedly extended and then limited the space in which Palestinians could operate by means of an unpredictable combination of changing and selectively enforced regulations, and the dissection of space by settlements, roads Palestinians were not allowed to use and continually shifting borders. All of this was intended to induce in the Palestinians a sense of permanent temporariness. . .
    . . . It suits Israel to have a ‘state’ without borders so that it can keep negotiating about borders, and count on the resulting uncertainty to maintain acquiescence. . .

    SOURCE – link to lrb.co.uk

    • ● P.S. ALSO, FROM WIKIPEDIA [Learned helplessness]:

      [EXCERPT] Learned helplessness is the condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly, failing to respond even though there are opportunities for it to help itself by avoiding unpleasant circumstances or by gaining positive rewards. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.[1] Organisms which have been ineffective and less sensitive in determining the consequences of their behavior are defined as having acquired learned helplessness.[2]
      The American psychologist Martin Seligman’s foundational experiments and theory of learned helplessness began at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967, as an extension of his interest in depression. Quite by accident, Seligman and colleagues discovered that the conditioning of dogs led to outcomes that opposed the predictions of B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism, then a leading psychological theory.[3][4]

      Experiment
      Summary
      In the learned helplessness experiment an animal is repeatedly hurt by an adverse stimulus which it cannot escape.
      Eventually the animal will stop trying to avoid the pain and behave as if it is utterly helpless to change the situation.
      Finally, when opportunities to escape are presented, this learned helplessness prevents any action. The only coping mechanism the animal uses is to be stoical and put up with the discomfort, not expending energy getting worked up about the adverse stimulus. . .

      SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

      ● P.P.S. “FREE DON” SIEGELMAN PETITION – link to change.org

      • Kathleen says:

        “maintained uncertainty” and “learned helplessness” sounds like these are well studied techniques that the Israeli’s have pulled from a Nazi handbook. And what are Israeli’s learning…. collective domination and psychopathic cultural norms? Way out there on the very creepy edge of the sick and twisted spectrum.

  3. jewishgoyim says:

    Why Olmert did what he did before Obama’s inauguration is quite clear and proved to the world Obama would be Israel’s poodle as he said nothing as president elect and the offensive stopped right before he became President.

    Now why this offensive would happen more or less four years later is quite a mystery to me. Is Obama less likely to protest at this time of his mandate? Why?

    Does one need to “mow the lawn” every four years? (some Israeli said that about the last Gaza war)

  4. Les says:

    May I recommend something positive coming from Britain:

    link to youtube.com

    November 12, 2012 Interview with Ilan Pappe, Ghada Karmi and John Rose

    • Kathleen says:

      Thanks Les. Watched… Awareness has grown but the situation on the ground has and is getting worse for the Palestinians. So depressing. Can not imagine how this reality eats away at the Palestinians. Just what Netanyahu and the rest of the Israeli psychopathic thugs want. That vote at the UN can not come fast enough. Time to call in these thugs (even though they will not come) to the International Criminal Court

      • Les says:

        Ghada Karmi made the point that Palestinians like her are forced to make their cause a profession, something that will not go away and can only grow. Israel, as does our media, treats Palestinians as squatters, which contributes to the unreality. Whatever can be done to help ignorant Americans see that Palestinians will not disappear helps.

    • MHughes976 says:

      The situation is the second item on BBC teletext news, with emphasis on Israeli casualties. Prompted by Kathleen I looked over the news stands this morning and as far as I could see only one mainstream UK paper, the Guardian, had made it the main headline. There was a weird variety of other things considered more important, such as falsification of police statistics and internal subversion of the government’s imaginary ‘Green Agenda’, the latter from the paper I normally read, the Independent. As a second leading article they offer Israel mild reproaches. The old sheet of ice covering these terrible events is showing a few cracks over here but no icebergs are breaking away.

  5. Kathleen says:

    Great post Phil could feel the fear, resignation, silence. “They hear America loud and clear in the West Bank, and it is the sound of indifference, and the bully goes wild again” Sad to say you nailed it. Not a peep on Hardball have not watched the other MSNBC programs tonight but we know there was not a peep. Rachel Maddow is such a human rights phony. Hell nothing up at Juan Cole’s, Huff Po still has Romney 47% horseshit up on the front page. Israeli brutality has been normalized for decades. But the silence is getting even louder.

    When ever Israel attacks the Palestinians I always feel I am watching some woman or wife get beat to a bloody pulp by her abusive husband. Been going on for years and the neighbors barely hear it. She comes out in the morning eyes blackened, lips with cuts, bruises on her arms and everyone just looks away. Oh that again. Just so sick sick sick

  6. Kathleen says:

    What percentage of the West Bank has Israel stolen over the last 20 years? Phil are you still convinced one state is the only solution at this point. One state, one person one vote?

  7. “At that point The Dersh had tweeted with savage irony: People were worried that Obama was going to get hard on Israel, but they are murdering Palestinian men, women and children with impunity once again.” — Phil

    Seriously?! The Dershbag is one sick, twisted bastard. He needs to just STFU and “self-deport” already.

    Please, stay safe Phil. FWIW, my agnostic ‘prayers’ are with Palestine.

    • Sumud says:

      ‘The Dersh’ is a parody twitter account (but right on the money):

      link to twitter.com

      • seafoid says:

        Alan Dershowitz‏@TheDersh

        I have it on good authority that Netanyahu has finally called Obama to concede.

        Alan Dershowitz‏@TheDersh

        All you who worried that Israel’s ability to murder Palestinian men, women &
        kids with impunity would be restrained if Obama won, eat crow!

        Alan Dershowitz‏@TheDersh

        I find it weird that Hamas opts for inaccurate rockets instead of just using their tanks, jets, warships, white phosphorous & nuclear bombs.

  8. Kathleen says:

    I learn more from visual time lines. Phil know you are a busy guy but wondernig if you, Annie, Adam etc could put together some sort of timeline with this latest Israeli attack on Gaza. What came before the Gaza militants attacking the Israeli jeep allegedly in their own territory? How much fire power did Israel use in response to that incident in particular. Then the Gaza rockets into Israel. I have read 110 Ok have been out of the loop. Took a few days away from the media after working like so many of us on the election.

    Will start by going back through all of the post here at Mondoweiss. If there is any wider scope to be looked through at this latest tragic events it will be here. All of the articles I have read so far in the MSM start at the Gaza militants attack on the Israeli jeep. Anyone else need a visual timeline?

    That UN vote can not come soon enough as Annie has so clearly pointed out

  9. ” The Israelis have smashed any resistance again and again. And where is our leadership?”

    Bought, paid for, and cowering in the dark corner of a conscience long since compromised.

  10. Citizen says:

    Where is the Palestinian Anne Frank’s diary? Where is the latest version of To Kill A Mockingbird? Media tech has grown but yet not either? No Frank Capra but AIPAC’s legions?