An E1 without a people for a people without an E1

Israel/Palestine
on 40 Comments

Under the “Active Stills” byline at +972 are sharp comments on a recent NYT piece about the E1 corridor in the West Bank. The first two paragraphs below, there’s more at that link:

A recent New York Times article ran under the misleading headline, “West Bank Land, Empty but Full of Meaning”, referring to the E1 area where the Israeli government recently announced new settlement building in spite of international opposition. Strangely, the photo appearing in the online edition underneath that headline pictures a Bedouin man who owns land in E1.

The Times headline is especially troubling for its resonance with the Israeli national myth that the land was “empty” before the Zionists came and “made the desert bloom.” Such language reinforces decades-old misconceptions to the casual reader, while the disconnect between the headline and the photo illustrates the internal contradictions of Nakba denial and Zionist mythology: there was no one here, and they all need to leave.

Update:

Amnesty International has tweeted on this very question:

AmnestyInternational‏@amnesty .@NYTimes wrong to call #WestBank E1 area “empty.” 2,300 face eviction from E1 + Ma’ale Adumim http://owl.li/gcdTv @StevenErlanger @rudoren

40 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    December 21, 2012, 10:46 am

    2300 face eviction from E1? People? Or Palestinians? You have to exercise judgment and discernment (discrimination), here, or you’ll be out of a job. Now that you understand, you see it IS empty.

  2. American
    December 21, 2012, 11:03 am

    The E1 threat may be a fake threat. Look at where else Israel continues to build. But if it’s a fake threat Netanyahu shot himself in the foot with it considering how the EU is all up in arms over it…just adding to Israel condemnation around the world.
    This is an interesting article, although it has some wishful thinking in it I believe. However earlier this year I did speculate that Obama might be acting ‘indirectly” thru Europe on Israel. Lately Beinart and others are also suggesting that he might be using Europe to pressure Israel. I don’t really see how ‘indirect’ is going to work well though or fast enough to prevent a blowup when the US continues to use it’s UN veto for Israel and continues aid and continues to replenish it’s weapons stock every time it attacks Gaza and provide it bunker busting bombs.

    link to original.antiwar.com

    Are the US and Israel Heading for a Showdown?
    No One Thinks So, But It Just Might Happen

  3. Hostage
    December 22, 2012, 8:30 am

    Are the US and Israel Heading for a Showdown? No One Thinks So, But It Just Might Happen

    It’s doubtful, but they will eventually have a showdown with the Palestinians. On Thursday the US blocked Security Council efforts to issue a joint presidential statement and resolution condemning construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. link to haaretz.com

    On Wednesday Nimir Hamad, an adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas, had told Ma’an that the Palestinian government would go to the UN Security Council in order to prevent Israel from implementing its new settlement plans. He said if that didn’t work, the leadership would head to the International Criminal Court to put an end to settlement expansion. link to maannews.net

    • American
      December 22, 2012, 10:59 am

      “President Mahmoud Abbas, had told Ma’an that the Palestinian government would go to the UN Security Council in order to prevent Israel from implementing its new settlement plans. ”

      Where the US will veto it. Go to the ICC now on the settlements Israel has ‘already’ done.
      I see no point in Palestine playing the ICC ‘threat game’…..it just gives Israel more stally-talky time …..they need to go ahead and do it.
      Two US congressmen, Wexler and another one actually went to the ICC before to defend Israel’s Wall…so let Palestine put them in that position again….let that be added to growing ‘buzz’ in the US and in the world about US abdication of e.v.e.r.y US t.h.i.n.g to the criminal state of Israel.

      • Hostage
        December 23, 2012, 8:23 am

        “President Mahmoud Abbas, had told Ma’an that the Palestinian government would go to the UN Security Council in order to prevent Israel from implementing its new settlement plans. ”

        Where the US will veto it. Go to the ICC now on the settlements Israel has ‘already’ done.

        I already noted that the Palestinians said they were going to the Security Council on Wednesday and that the US blocked a joint presidential statement and resolution on Thursday.

        FYI, the Palestinians already have filed a complaint with the ICC as a third party state in connection with the Article 12(3) declaration, but they haven’t joined the Court yet and no member state has made a referral. I assume that Palestine will do that in order to make the necessary state party referral itself in accordance with article 14 of the Rome Statute. Other states, like Jordan, Comoros, Tunisia, Djibouti, have been very reluctant to step forward and make one, since the US and Israel consider it an act tantamount to a declaration of war. Comoros is a member of the Arab League and the flag state of the Mavi Marmara. They should have made a referral, but the Prosecutor could have acted without one in the case of a crime committed on a vessel flagged by a member state.

  4. Elliot
    December 22, 2012, 10:23 am

    That 19th century colonial canard is alive and well today. In American Jewish education, for example, the Land of Israel is depicted as empty of people. The Biblical landscape, the olive trees and archeological ruins are often shown as devoid of present-day human activity. This establishes an essential separation between “the Land” and whichever people happen to be living there right now. Jews, on the other hand, are free to project themselves on to this empty canvas. Mainstream Jewish education is built on this metaphysical bond. You have to conceptually kick out the Palestinians to make room for the Jewish myth.

    • Klaus Bloemker
      December 22, 2012, 3:01 pm

      Elliot,
      the myth well told. But that’s why Israel is not conceived as a traditional colonial project. – The Israel-Zionism critics on Mondoweiss like to apply conventional concepts and terms with a negative connotation to Zionism like ‘colonialism’, ‘racism’ etc. But that’s wrong. – The crititcs don’t get at the uniqueness of the Zionist project which is rooted in the concept of a unique (devine) people.

      Colonialism and racism are superficial concepts that don’t really apply.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 22, 2012, 10:13 pm

        The crititcs don’t get at the uniqueness of the Zionist project which is rooted in the concept of a unique (devine) people.

        Colonialism and racism are superficial concepts that don’t really apply.

        what a relief! i was beginning to think racism was related to believing one people was superior to others. if ‘devine’ is unique to jews, what pray tell..are the rest of us? are you finished digging a hole for yourself klaus?

      • Mooser
        December 23, 2012, 12:38 pm

        “are you finished digging a hole for yourself klaus?”

        Annie, every time I look at that multi-billion dollar tunnel-boring project on the Seattle waterfront, I shake my head. And all they would have had to pay for was a plane ticket (Fust Cless, why nut?) and a laptop.
        Sit him down, click over to “Mondoweiss” and point him towards the Space Needle.

      • Elliot
        December 23, 2012, 12:23 am

        @ Klaus, as Annie said.
        I can’t think of a religion or denomination that doesn’t have an element of divine chosenness to it. Ditto for civilizations. And ditto again for secularized religions such as nationalism.
        Yet, in your critique of Zionism, you buy into this myth.

        American settlers thought of the land west of the Mississippi as empty. European colonialists throughout the world thought of the natives as insignificant. The natives needed the White administration and the land needed colonial developers.

        It all sounds familiar. You haven’t shown why Zionism is any different to any other colonial-nationalist project.

      • Mooser
        December 23, 2012, 12:41 pm

        “I can’t think of a religion or denomination that doesn’t have an element of divine chosenness to it. Ditto for civilizations. “

        Say what? What about the humility and self-sacrifice involved in Germany’s pacific attempt to bring the benefits of National Socialism to the rest of Europe, and some of Asia and Africa, too? Maybe they called their mission “devine”, but they conceived of it as “chosen to serve!
        Right Klaus?

  5. Avi_G.
    December 23, 2012, 1:23 am

    Of course it’s empty.

    Surely, the NYT bothered to check all the land deeds and verify that no one has any ownership to the land.

    Hey kids, it’s a fire sale and it’s all up for grabs. Yayyy.

    The NYT is so pathetic. It’s amazing what passes for journalism these days.

    Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, Palestinians have for centuries invested in lands because next to gold, land is the BEST investment. And 20 or 30 years down the road, Palestinians will pass that land on to their children so that they, too, can build homes for their families and live on the land.

    But along comes the NYT and claims, “What’s the problem here, all you whiners? The land is empty.”

    For full effect the NYT should have printed a photo of a Palestinian herding a few goats, because no report in the Western media is complete without the stereotypical goat-herder image.

  6. Klaus Bloemker
    December 23, 2012, 7:11 am

    Elliot, Annie –
    Netanyahu said this before the American Congress last year:

    “In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel to which Abraham brought the idea of one God.”

    – Is this the argument of a settler-colonialist developing a wasteland?
    – Is this the argument of racial superiority of the coloniser over the natives?

    It’s a unique argument based on a unique narrative. – When you have a unique phenomenon, there are of course no general terms to describe it, one uses conventional terms and concepts that fit more or less like ‘colonialism’ and ‘racism’.

    • Shmuel
      December 23, 2012, 8:54 am

      How shockingly original, Klaus: divine sanction as justification for colonialism, expropriation and violence. What a shame no European monarch has ever come up with the idea of divine right (Dieu et mon droit?). It would have made internal and external conquest and rule so much easier, so much more coherent.

      As a famous “explorer” once wrote:

      As I know that you will be pleased at the great victory with which Our Lord has crowned my voyage, I write this to you. from which you will learn how in thirty-three days, I passed from the Canary Islands to the Indies with the fleet which the most illustrious king and queen, our sovereigns gave to me. And there I found very many islands filled with people innumerable, and of them all I have taken possession for their highnesses, by proclamation made and with the royal standard unfurled, and no opposition was offered to me. To the first island which I found I gave the name San Salvador, in remembrance of the Divine Majesty, Who has marvelously bestowed all this; the Indians call it “Guanahani.” To the second I gave the name Isla de Santa Maria de Concepción; to the third, Fernandina; to the fourth, Isabella; to the fifth, Isla Juana and so to each one I gave a new name.

      —From S. Greenblatt, Marvelous Possessions (Chicago: 1991), p. 52

      The specific mythology or rationale employed is not important. What matters is that we have done no wrong, but merely taken what is ours by (divine) right.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        December 23, 2012, 9:46 am

        Well Shmuel –
        there is a similarity between Netanyahu’s speech and the letter of the Spanish conquistador. – But there is also a small difference:

        – The letter was written to the Spanish king in or around the year 1525.
        – Netanyahu spoke to the Congress of the US republic in the year 2011.

      • Shmuel
        December 23, 2012, 10:32 am

        - The letter was written to the Spanish king in or around the year 1525.
        – Netanyahu spoke to the Congress of the US republic in the year 2011.

        That would make it anachronistic, not unique. Besides, the religious excuses for colonialism certainly did not end in the 15th century (the letter is dated 15 February, 1493). As an Israeli acquaintance of mine used to say: “It’s not fair that colonialism stopped being OK just when we got around to it.”

      • Klaus Bloemker
        December 23, 2012, 12:46 pm

        “That would make it [Netanyahu’s statement] anachronistic, not unique.”
        ——
        Shmuel – let’s call it a ‘unique anachronism’.
        Or is it rather an ‘anachronistic uniqueness’?
        (I opt for the second version.)

      • Shmuel
        December 23, 2012, 1:12 pm

        let’s call it a ‘unique anachronism’.
        Or is it rather an ‘anachronistic uniqueness’?
        (I opt for the second version.)

        You were expecting a comparison to contemporary colonialism? Zionism is anachronistic, because it is overtly colonialist.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        December 23, 2012, 3:33 pm

        “Zionism is anachronistic, because it is overtly colonialist.”
        ——————
        Well Shmuel –
        The ‘return to the land of our Biblical forefathers’ is anachronistic but it’s not a traditional (anachronistic) colonial concept. – It’s a rather modern, turn of the 20th century, ‘colonial’ invention of Zionism. Something new and unique.
        ————-
        Your Israeli aquaintance used to say – and he is right but not quite to the Zionist point when he said: – “It’s not fair that colonialism stopped being OK just when we got around to it.”

        Anyway, nice arguing with you. After all, you/your parents did ‘return’.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        December 23, 2012, 6:30 pm

        Shmuel –
        I said that both conventional concepts of ‘colonialism’ and ‘racism’ don’t really fit Zionism. – Let me say something on Zionist ‘racism’.

        Traditionally, the concept of race was based on physiognomy; complexion, facial features, color of hair, build etc. – that’s what the ‘scientists’ of race measured. – And they concluded that there is a connection between physiognomy and superior and inferior civilisations and then ranked the races accordingly. – Has Zionism/Judaism that kind of conventional racism?

        – I doubt that Zionism’s racism towards the Palestiniens is based on that.
        – The physiognomical distribution amomg Israeli Jews is too broad for that.

        There is racism towards the Palestiniens. But I don’t really know what it is.
        It got to be also some ‘unique racism’, as there is unique Zionist colonialism.

      • Shmuel
        December 24, 2012, 5:30 am

        Klaus,

        Your argument that Zionist racism is unique is as weak as your argument that Zionist colonialism is unique. Is all racism “scientific”? Is anti-immigrant racism based on a “ranking of races”? Is north-south racism rooted in “physiognomy”? Is Islamophobia the product of cranial measurements? Is anti-Semitism today the exclusive province of those who believe that Jews are members of a distinct “race”?

        I hope you aren’t going to play purist semantic games. If Zionist racism (which historically also had it’s “scientific” elements – when such views were all the rage in Europe) isn’t racism in the “traditional” sense, then most racisms today aren’t “racist” either. In any case you have not proven uniqueness.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        December 24, 2012, 7:41 am

        “In any case you have not proven uniqueness.”
        ——-
        No, I haven’t. There is probably nothing unique. Racism generally must be rooted evolutionary in kinship. Simply in endogamiy and in-group out-group relations. Your in-group – which is your extented family – is of course better than the out-group. Since there is no special Zionist endogamy rule it would be nonsense to assume a special Zionist racism. There is a Jewish endogamy rule and Jews generally are the ‘extended family’, the in-group.

      • Shmuel
        December 24, 2012, 8:17 am

        Since there is no special Zionist endogamy rule it would be nonsense to assume a special Zionist racism.

        Zionism is an ideology, not an ethnicity. The Zionist in-group is the Jewish one – defined by criteria of religion, culture, history, pseudo-history, mythology and endogamy. Zionism is not identical to the in-group, but an ideological-political movement within it, no different from ethnocentric movements within other national, religious or “racial” groups. Still no uniqueness.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        December 24, 2012, 8:46 am

        ” The Zionist in-group is the Jewish one.” – That’s what I said.
        “no uniqueness” – That’s what said.
        ————————
        Shmuel – you must have misread, misunderstood what I wrote.

      • Shmuel
        December 24, 2012, 9:07 am

        you must have misread, misunderstood what I wrote.

        Indeed I did. I must have been thrown off by your previous argument that Zionism is unique and does not fit ordinary paradigms of colonialism and racism.

      • Chu
        December 24, 2012, 9:57 am

        it’s not fair that colonialism stopped being OK just when we got around to it.

        What a crock. Sounds like a typical Israeli comment. More excuses for their illegal actions.

      • Klaus Bloemker
        December 24, 2012, 10:05 am

        OK Shmuel – Buona Natale!

        [Chu – it’s both a joke and the truth.]

      • Shmuel
        December 24, 2012, 10:41 am

        And a fröhliche Kwanzaa to you, Klaus.

      • Mooser
        December 24, 2012, 12:13 pm

        “I hope you aren’t going to play purist semantic games.”

        Shmuel, if Klaus is known for anything, it’s being philo-Semantic.

      • Mooser
        December 24, 2012, 12:15 pm

        Since when does “racism” mean “endogamy”. It never did, and it often means mass rape.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 23, 2012, 9:21 am

      heavens, netanyahu gave a speech before congress based on a unique narrative, therefore it cannot be racist or colonialist to steal anothers land.

      and we all recognize how unique it is to claim ‘god spoke to me’ or god said to do it, or i prayed to god and he sent me this message. actually this sort of rings a bell. it does make me wonder tho what else god claimed for the jews. oh, that reminds me:

      from jpost, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages and a senior Sephardi adjudicator.

      The Goyim were only created to serve us. If that wasn’t the case they [Goyim] would have no place in the world.

      …Jews earn eternal life in the days of the messiah. Goyim don’t. Like all people, they must die. But they earn long life. Why? Think about someone’s donkey. If it dies, he loses it, the money. The same with a servant [ or “the one who serves you”]. You also lose money [when he dies]. That’s why Goyim are given long life so they may work well for the Jews.

      …Why do Goyim exist? So that they work [for Jews]. They thresh, they plant, they harvest, while we [Jews] sit like effendi and eat [our fill]. That’s why Goyim were created.

      link to richardsilverstein.com

      now that’s what i call unique, therefore..if the situation were reversed, we wouldn’t even consider calling it anti semitism..now would we?

      i have to remember this ‘unique narrative’ defense klaus. it’s a new angle, i’ll give you that.

      • Mooser
        December 23, 2012, 12:33 pm

        “That’s why Goyim are given long life so they may work well for the Jews.”

        Oh, what nonsense! Everybody knows the reason Gentiles live long, healthy lives is, they have Jewish doctors!!

      • American
        December 24, 2012, 10:21 am

        “Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the head of Shas’s Council of Torah Sages and a senior Sephardi adjudicator……

        The Goyim were only created to serve us. If that wasn’t the case they [Goyim] would have no place in the world”>>>>>

        Oh, so it’s Rabbi Yoset’s Goyim as servants belief that drives the US Zios?
        Let’s have a slave revolt!
        100 acres and a Mercedes to every African American and Native American Indian who joins us!
        And a free Christmas tree every year for 10 years for all veterans!…LOL

      • Mooser
        December 24, 2012, 12:18 pm

        “it’s a new angle, i’ll give you that.”

        No, it’s the Zionist angle. Think about it.

      • sardelapasti
        December 24, 2012, 6:36 pm

        “Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, … senior Sephardi adjudicator”

        Stop calling him that. He isn’t more Sefardí than your pet hamster. He’s a Baghdadi. Arabic-speaking. Stop mixing everything.

    • Hostage
      December 23, 2012, 10:28 am

      “In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel to which Abraham brought the idea of one God.”

      That claim is no more convincing than Mr. Mileikowsky’s connection to the “seal of Netanyahu” signet ring he pillaged with the assistance of the Department of Antiquities. It conveniently overlooks the fact that “the Jews” kept themselves busy in ancient times libeling the ancestry of the People of the Land (Am ha’aretz) and most especially the inhabitants of Samaria. The Jews under the Maccabees took credit for destroying the Samaritan Temple and waged a series of military campaigns against them.

      What Zionists seem to overlook is that:

      Almost all of the people living today are distant cousins to a common ancestor who lived some three thousand or so years ago, geneticists estimate.

      –Jon Entine, Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity, and the
      DNA of the Chosen People, Hachette Digital, 2007, page 61.

      AND

      The forces of genetic mixing are so powerful that everyone in the world has Jewish ancestors, though the amount of DNA from those ancestors in a given individual may be small. In fact, everyone on earth is by now a descendant of Abraham, Moses, and Aaron – if indeed they existed.

      –Steve Olson, Mapping Human History: Genes, Race, and Our Common Origins, Houghton Mifflin, 2003, page 114.

      I’ve noted elsewhere that studies show that carefully selected subjects with four Jewish grandparents from the same community, still find individuals with as much as 60 percent of their DNA from European (Gentile) sources.

      • Hostage
        December 23, 2012, 10:42 am

        That should have said “I’ve noted elsewhere that studies which employ carefully selected subjects – with all four Jewish grandparents from the same community – still discover individuals with as much as 60 percent of their DNA contributed from European (Gentile) sources.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 23, 2012, 10:49 am

        an OT request hostage. there’s an argument being made here we just had on some other thread recently
        link to mondoweiss.net

        can you recall where we recently decimated this argument? i don’t really have the time to go look right now as i am sort of in a crunch zone this morning. if you could post the (old thread) link for me over on this more current chuck hagel thread i would appreciate it. thank you.

      • Mooser
        December 23, 2012, 12:31 pm

        ““I’ve noted elsewhere that studies which employ carefully selected subjects – with all four Jewish grandparents from the same community – still discover individuals with as much as 60 percent of their DNA contributed from European (Gentile) sources.”

        ♫ Oh, who’s makin’ love, to your old lady,
        While you was out, making love? ♫

    • Elliot
      December 23, 2012, 9:22 pm

      Klaus –
      And here’s another of many precedents that may, or may have not, have inspired the Zionist ‘God narrative.’ The American colonists used the God narrative to justify limiting citizenship rights to Protestant colonizers. Apparently, God did not extend British rights to Catholics or native Americans.

      Samuel Adams on the Rights of Colonists (1772):

      “All persons born in the British American Colonies are, by the laws of God and nature and by the common law of England, exclusive of all charters from the Crown, well entitled, and by acts of the British Parliament are declared to be entitled, to all the natural, essential, inherent, and inseparable rights, liberties, and privileges of subjects born in Great Britain or within the realm. ”

      “…there shall be liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God to all Christians, except Papists, inhabiting, or which shall inhabit or be resident within, such Province or Territory. ”

      link to history.hanover.edu

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