‘If we lose the West Bank, we lose everything’: An evening with a liberal Israeli

Israel/Palestine
on 34 Comments

I had just traversed much of Jerusalem, a good deal of it on foot. Coming from Ramallah, I had experienced the slow agony of the Kalandia checkpoint, was let off at the East Jerusalem bus station, then went to my hostel in the Old City and then on to the YMCA in West Jerusalem, where I was to meet my Israeli work colleague, who I’ll refer to as David. As I was rushing with brisk footsteps across the Old City and up the rather steep hill towards the Y, in the back of my mind, I wondered if I would excoriate Israel? I’d just spent my second full day in the West Bank, visiting the Aida refugee camp, Bethlehem, Abu-Dis, Ramallah, Jericho, the windy, hilly roundabout roads whose travelers are forced to defer to the apartheid wall and, lastly, Kalandia, where I experienced some difficulty getting through. Additionally, throughout Green Olive tour I was on that day, a Chinese American evangelical pastor was continuously interrupting the Palestinian tour guide, insisting that neither Palestinians nor Palestine existed. Suffice to say, this was all fermenting in my brain as I went to meet with my Israeli colleague.

David and I had exchanged a couple emails when I was back in the States: after my boss had heard that I was traveling to Israel/Palestine, she suggested that I meet up with him. David was in his late forties but life had weighed on him in such a way that made him look like he was in his mid-fifties. He was a balding divorcee, with two children that his wife was raising in Israel. While his family roots were in Scotland, David had spent time living in Belgium and South Africa before moving to Jerusalem for “religious reasons.” But he had since become a less devout Jew in the seventeen years that he lived in the city.

When I reached the West Jerusalem YMCA, David was already there waiting. He spoke in a jovial watered-down Scottish brogue that reflected his laid-back, friendly and likeable personality. Compared with other Israelis I had met thus far on the trip, he seemed far warmer.

“Where would you like to go?” he asked after we exchanged greetings, mostly out of courtesy, knowing that I was a visitor to the city and probably had little idea of good places for dinner.

“Anywhere – wherever you think,” I responded.

So he led us to an outdoor restaurant on a popular West Jerusalem street where there were several people walking about on this Wednesday evening.

While I was extremely curious about his attitude toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I didn’t want to jump right into the subject nor did I want it to dominate our conversation. Thus, we talked quite a bit about how our respective work departments functioned. As he was the manager of an Israeli subsidiary of the company that I worked for, the subject served well in ‘breaking the ice’.

After we ate our dinner, we sat back leisurely, sipping on beers and chatting as we watched the many a passerby’s engagements in the West Jerusalem nightlife. I couldn’t get over how much life seemed completely normal in West Jerusalem, just like a Western city, despite all we hear about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

David must’ve seen me make eye contact with a woman who passed by, because he looked at me and smirked, “We have beautiful women in this country!” he exclaimed.

I nodded, “Yes, you do.”

“We have some Russian beauties, but my favorite are the Ethiopians!” he said with a grin.

I smiled and we continued to watch the people passing on the darkening nighttime street.

“So, what do you think about the conflict here, with Palestinians?” I asked in a casual manner.

“I’m really not into politics,” David responded.

“Well, that’s that,” I thought to myself, somewhat disappointed.

“…but…” he continued about a half a minute later, “I don’t think Israel is under an existential threat anymore.”

I couldn’t help reflexively thinking to myself “How flagrantly Schopenhauer and Nietzsche’s existentialism is used these days! Would they or Camus even recognize how the term is so often used today?”

“And I do think that the security guards at checkpoints should not act so violently against Palestinians,” David commented, then looked to me for my reaction. I said nothing and began to wonder if he was also against the occupation.

“You see,” he went on and began adding terminology like ‘social conditions’ commonly applied in our mutual work environment into his analysis, “These checkpoint guards come from underprivileged social conditions and also they tend to be minorities. The frustration from their daily life culminates, sometimes, into the abuse of Palestinians trying to cross at the checkpoints.”

This immediately called to mind what some in the U.S. use as a means of excusing or explaining the violent actions of criminals, taking away personal responsibility and agency, so as to potentially mitigate their prison sentences following conviction. However, those who abuse Palestinians at checkpoints are rarely, if ever, penalized by the Israeli justice system.

 

The waitress came to our table and asked if we wanted another beer; we’d each had two or three thus far.

“Are you having another?” he inquired.

“Sure!” I responded and the waitress smiled as she left to get our order.

“What do you think about the occupation?” I asked bluntly, as the alcohol mixed with our conviviality had reached a point where this question felt appropriate.

He took a long pause to answer and seemed a bit hesitant to do so. In my impatience, I suggested a possible compromise for Israel “Do you think that if Israel was allowed it to keep the Golan Heights – which doesn’t seem to be as contested – that Israel would give the West Bank back to the Palestinians?”

David turned towards me and, catching my eyes, responded “Strategically, the Golan Heights is important due to its height and because it borders Syria and Lebanon, letting us to see what they’re doing.” He then looked at me with intense, solemn eyes, “But, if we lose the West Bank, we lose everything.”

“And this is from a seemingly ‘liberal’ Israeli!” I thought, swilling down the rest of my beer and hoping that the other one would come soon. The waitress was quick and returned with our freshly-poured brews. “Whose it to lose?” I wondered silently, taking a large gulp of the new beer.

There was a silence for a bit and we enjoyed the nice outdoor night.

Then, I asked, “Have you ever been to the West Bank?”

“I’ve lived here for seventeen years and I never have been…well, that’s not quite true. One time, when I first moved here, I got lost and I suddenly realized that I was in the West Bank. I drove around aimlessly for a while before finding my way back to [West] Jerusalem. But that’s the only time I’ve been there.”

Again, there was a silence until he changed the subject and asked, “How is your relationship with your girlfriend? Do you think you guys will end up together?”

“I really have no idea. We’ve only been together for six months and we fight quite a bit, so things could go either way.”

David grinned slightly, “It seems like you’re pretty lukewarm about the whole thing?”

“Yeah, well, right now I just don’t know how things will turn out…” I paused and pictured the two of us fighting on the night before I left. “…she actually wanted to come here, but she can’t get in because she’s Bangladeshi.”

“Really, she can’t get in the country? Why not?” he asked, looking a bit confused.

“Bangladesh doesn’t recognize Israel and so Israel won’t allow her into the country.”

“Hmm…” he muttered in response.

We finished our beers and walked down the street to an underground bar with overwhelmingly brown furnishings where we had a couple shots of bourbon and a couple more beers. I couldn’t get over how much this bar seemed exactly like one I would find in America – it was imbued with a 1990s ‘alternative’ style.

Then we departed, saying we’d keep in touch. And for about a half year we did – even during the massacre of Gazans in the 2014 summer. I emailed him, expressing my hope that he and his family were safe. He said they were safe and secure and, of course, like almost all Israelis during the war, they were.

 

Instead of walking back to my hostel, I got a cab to the Old City’s gates.

The driver and I exchanged pleasantries.

“How do you like living here?” I asked, trying to strike up conversation.

“Well, I’m Palestinian,” he responded, feeling little need to add more, but then added, “It’s not good. I come from outside Jerusalem to work.”

I nodded and looked upwardly ahead, to the ancient walls of the contested city.

 

He dropped me off at Jaffa Gate. Almost immediately after getting inside the gate, an Israeli soldier questioned me: where was I from; where was I coming from just now; and what was I doing in the Old City. Not more than fifty yards ahead another Israeli soldier stopped me and asked similar questions. Hadn’t he seen the last soldier who questioned me?

It was nearly midnight and all the shops in the Old City were closed, causing the streets to appear very similar to an outsider. I walked in circles for a while before finally finding my hostel. As I lay my somewhat-inebriated head down in my small Spartan-like room, I mused, “Even a liberal Israeli thinks ‘if we lose the West Bank, we lose everything’…Much like a thief carefully guarding his purloined jewels.”

About Peter Crowley

Peter Crowley is an M.S. student in the Northeastern University Global Studies’ Conflict Resolution program. His writings can be found in Boston Literary Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, Green Fuse Press, Student Pulse and a periodical publication of the Brookline, MA Historical Society.

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34 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    January 26, 2016, 10:15 am

    “If we lose the WB we lose everything.” A fine phrase if you like phrases. What did it mean to the man who said it? What might it mean in general (to Israeli Jews)?

    My own anti-Zionist association with it is this.

    Israel was created by a process of terrorism (to evict the British) and terrorism-cum-war to evict the Palestinians. It followed up the initial major theft by a continuation over the years 1948-1966, during the military governorship of the Palestinians, by a process of further small incremental land-thefts based on an Ottoman law that allowed the State to acquire farm lands upon failure for 3 years (as I recall) of Palestinian owners to farm such lands — which happened when access to such farm lands was denied to the farmers by Israeli declaration of “closed military area” and so forth, in short, a continuing, smooth process of theft.

    Then came 1967 and the entire theft process, step by smooth step, but in (or chiefly in) the newly occupied territory, continued without interruption.

    So it appears to me that to any Israeli mind, any stop to the process of continuing incremental theft is a sort of termination, a death, to the most important underlying Zionist process, the further acquisition of land (to repair the unsatisfactory terribly small 78% of Palestine, and much of it privately owned by Palestinians, that Israel got from the 1948 war).

    So, losing the WB is (in my reading) a sort of “death”. But since the process of theft has been on-going since 1948 (and continues inside Israel-48 as with the destruction of “unrecognized” Bedouin villages), if the process of theft were ever to stop, something would have had to be strong enough to stop it, and that something might regard the continuous theft as a sort of “crime”. Why else stop it?

    And if there were to appear upon the scene something (a “power”) strong enough to stop Zionist theft and willing to exercise that strength, that “power” might wish to roll-back all that theft, as a court might roll-back the illicit proceeds from a long-ongoing process of theft even after a “limitations period” had expired on earlier aspects of that long-continuing theft.

    So, to conclude, if a “power” could take the WB away from Israel, it could roll-back the entire Zionist land-grab, roll things back to 1947. And that is what it might mean to an Israeli Jew to say that “By losing the WB Israel would lose everything.”

    • MHughes976
      January 26, 2016, 2:47 pm

      I agree with that – Zionism demands control, in accordsnce with Biblical tradition, of all Plalestine. If some of the land goes the principle is frustrated.
      It won’t happen any time soon.

    • Marnie
      January 27, 2016, 6:00 am

      That’s right. They will cede absolutely nothing out of fear of appearing weak and therefore lose everything else. They only see things in terms of “all” and “nothing”. They can’t be trusted and I’m sure would rather self destruct than give one inch. Jerks.

  2. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    January 26, 2016, 11:26 am

    We’re always told that ‘most Israelis are against the occupation’. Probably that’s what they tell pollsters. However, it’s well-known that people tend to tell pollsters not what they actually believe, but what they think people want them to believe (even in anonymous surveys). My guess is that deep – or not so deep – down, the vast majority of Isrealis are like this guy. They may have no ideological attachment to the occupation, but they see no real reason to ‘relenquish’ the West Bank.

    For starters, what would they do with the half million ‘settlers’ – a good number of them armed and fanatical? These people are not going to simply fold their tents and ride into the sunset. If Israel atempted anything approaching a ‘two state solution’, there would be civil war, especially as the army has become more and more alligned with the settler movement in recent years. Even if one considers it to be a worthwhile goal, the ‘two state solution’ simply isn’t going to happen. Israel – aided by ‘liberal Israelis’ and the outside world – has made it impossible, while at the same time telling us there is no other solution.

    So now what?

    • pabelmont
      January 26, 2016, 11:52 am

      MDM: I imagine that all agree that Israel will not alter status quo unless forced (or adequately pressured) by an outside agent, call it BDS. Without that pressure, apartheid 1SS. With that pressure, so slow to appear, who knows? Settlers return to Brooklyn? And if so, checking their guns at the door? I’m not holding my breath on the appearance of that deus ex machina. But every once in a while EU seem to get antsy. If severe economic pressure is merely talked about with sufficient seriousness, perhaps the big-money-boys in Israel will get busy and the situation will turn around a bit. Who knows whether and who knows when. Maybe the deus ex machina could be young American Jews. One can always hope.

      But motion away from status quo cannot be expected to come from within Israel itself.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        January 26, 2016, 2:15 pm

        “But every once in a while EU seem to get antsy.”

        “antsy” is a good word, because unfortunately that’s all it is. As I’ve said before, it’s instructive to contrast the mere hours it took for the EU to agree on a boycott of Russia – a move which damaged several EU economies – with the literally years it took them to agree on what is nothing more than a symbolic slap on the wrist.

        ” If severe economic pressure is merely talked about with sufficient seriousness, perhaps the big-money-boys in Israel will get busy and the situation will turn around a bit. ”

        Perhaps. That is the hope of BDS, and I certainly support it. But as I said below, I suspect that a ‘solution’ will more likely come in a less peaceful manner and will not be in Israel’s favour. It’s possible that with pressure, ‘liberal Israelis’ will decide that the settlements just aren’t worth it. It’s equally possible that it could simply exacerbate the trend towards extremism which we now see in Israel.

        “But motion away from status quo cannot be expected to come from within Israel itself.”

        That is certainly true.

    • Sibiriak
      January 26, 2016, 12:35 pm

      MDM: If Israel atempted anything approaching a ‘two state solution’, there would be civil war, especially as the army has become more and more alligned with the settler movement in recent years.

      ——————————

      1) That may be the situation now. But what’s at issue are the possibilities in a totally different situation quite far in the future– a situation where Israel has been put under crippling economic sanctions, boycotts and divestments; a situation where international governmental and popular opinion about Israel is vastly more negative than it is today; a situation where there has been a sea change in diaspora Jewish attitudes; a situation where Palestinian resistance has risen to a whole new level of intensity. Under such unprecedented circumstances , it’s impossible to say with any certainty how Israeli elites’ calculations might change, or what the popular social dynamics would be.

      2) If Israel atempted anything approaching a 1S1P1V there wouldn’t be a civil war, there would be a popular overthrow of the government, since the overwhelming majority of Israelis would oppose Zionist suicide.

      Any way you look at it, giving up the entire Zionist dream will be far more devastating for Israeli Jews than giving up just a part of it.

      So, following your logic, one could just as well say, “even if one considers it to be a worthwhile goal, the ‘1S1P1V solution’ simply isn’t going to happen.”

      But both negative assessments would be highly questionable speculative predictions about a radically different future situation the dynamics of which are really not at all predictable.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        January 26, 2016, 2:07 pm

        “So, following your logic, one could just as well say, “even if one considers it to be a worthwhile goal, the ‘1S1P1V solution’ simply isn’t going to happen.” –

        You make some very good points.

        However, I don’t think the endgame here is going to be subject to what Jewish Israelis want or will concede to. I think that at some stage, a solution is going to be imposed on them by force, just as Israel was forced onto the Palestinians without their consent.

        If you ask me how or when this will happen, I couldn’t tell you. But I do believe that just as Israel was ‘born’ in catastrophe – the catastrophe aof WWll and the holocaust – so too it will end in catastrophe. The Middle East is in a state of upheaval now, and I expect will remain so for some time to come. Who knows how it will end, but I doubt it will end in a way favourable to Israel. Israel has survived thus far not out of its intrinistic features – as its apologists claim – but because world and regional politics have been almost entirely in its favour. That will not remain the same, because things never remain the same. Again, I couldn’t tell you how things will work out, but I do think the endgame in Israel will not involve a South African style situation where the oppressors realised that the benefits of apartheid were outweighed by the drawbacks.

      • Sibiriak
        January 26, 2016, 10:15 pm

        MDM: However, I don’t think the endgame here is going to be subject to what Jewish Israelis want or will concede to. I think that at some stage, a solution is going to be imposed on them by force
        —————-
        I’ve said that myself in post after post.

        The pressure is definitely building right now–for two states:

        Ban Ki-moon calls Israeli settlement expansion an ‘affront’ to the world

        link to theguardian.com

        Can you envision a scenario where international sanctions are imposed on Israel conditioned on Israel dismantling itself and merging with the already-recognized state of Palestine in Gaza/West Bank ? A Jewish-majority state compelled to merge with an Islamic-majority state? As opposed to international sanctions being conditioned on Israel conforming to international law and UN resolutions, all of which call for Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967 and a solution based on two states?

        Can you envision a scenario where military force is used to dismantle the Israeli government and forcibly create a single democratic state? As opposed to military force being used to enforce international law and UN resolutions, perhaps to secure the West Bank at Palestine’s request and/or break the blockade of Gaza?

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        January 27, 2016, 8:22 am

        “The pressure is definitely building right now–for two states”

        If ‘pressure’ builds at this rate, we’ll be waiting a million years!

        Where is the payback for Israel if/when it continues expanding its ‘settlements’? I see no mention of it, because there won’t be any payback. People refer to the EU labelling decision as a major step, but as I said above, it’s really only a symbolic gesture. The EU isn’t boycotting Israel – it opposes that – it isn’t even boycotting the ‘settlements’. The US is still donating billlions of dollars a year to Israel. Sure, Bibi and Obama hate each other, but the latter will be out of office in under a year, and the former may soon be replaced by a ‘moderate’ who will keep the same policies but put a more pleasant face on apartheid. So I see no likliehood for any serious pressure on Israel any time soon.

        “As opposed to military force being used to enforce international law and UN resolutions, perhaps to secure the West Bank at Palestine’s request and/or break the blockade of Gaza?”

        I see zero chance of any Western military action (which would have to actively involve the US) being taken against Israel, for any reason. Why would countries which have at best ignored and at worst assisted Israel’s policies over the space of decades, suddenly turn against them?

        And when I say ‘by force’, I don’t mean by Western force of arms. What I see is Israel destroying itself from within (we’re already seeing that happen) and a rearrangement of the entire region which will not be in Israel’s favour. Arguably we’re already seeing that, with the rise of Iran and the decline of the Saudis. It will take more than that, of course, but I don’t think anyone can doubt that the region is in for a massive shake-up. Most of the countries in the Middle East didn’t exist a century ago, and I suspect that most of them – including Israel – will not exist a century from now. If you had told anyone in the mid 19th century that there would be a ‘Jewish state’ in Palestine, they’d have laughed at you. Like I said above, Israel has benefitted massively from an international and regional balance of powers that has been almost entirely in their favour. That will certainly change.

        I know my answer is vague andtherefore not very satisfactory, but I simply do not see a ‘two state solution’ as a realistic option. It will be all or nothing.

      • Sibiriak
        January 27, 2016, 9:08 am

        Maximus Decimus Meridius: “The pressure is definitely building right now–for two states”
        If ‘pressure’ builds at this rate, we’ll be waiting a million years!

        ————–

        What I meant was: what pressure there is (it’s not much!) is aimed toward the international two-state consensus.

        Actually, if the pressure continued to build at a steady even if slow rate, the pressure would be enormous in a short time. But that continuous ratcheting up is not happening, we all know.

        ———————
        see no likliehood for any serious pressure on Israel any time soon.

        Indeed, that’s why I spoke of a different situation “ quite far in the future

        ——————–
        And when I say ‘by force’, I don’t mean by Western force of arms. What I see is Israel destroying itself from within (we’re already seeing that happen) and a rearrangement of the entire region which will not be in Israel’s favour. Arguably we’re already seeing that, with the rise of Iran and the decline of the Saudis.

        It’s not clear to me how Israel “destroying itself from within” stands in relation to your prediction that “a solution is going to be imposed on [Israel] by force.

        Are you saying that Israel will be so weakened internally that Iran or ?? will be able to impose by force a single-state solution on Israel and its many international backers? Zionist Israel goes down in some kind of regional conflagration?

        What kind of regional rearrangement could lead to a complete collapse of Zionism and a single democratic state in Palestine?

        —————–

        I simply do not see a ‘two state solution’ as a realistic option. It will be all or nothing.

        I don’t buy the “all or nothing” logic, especially when talking about a relatively distant future when many unforeseen options may appear.

        Two states may well NOT be a solution, but just a step forward in an ongoing historical process. I mean we may well end up with a highly truncated Palestinian state with major settlement blocs annexed by Israel, no effective right of return etc. That’s pretty much where the “international consensus” is at this point actually.

        I think that kind of “1.5 state” option is widely rejected by many anti-Zionists not so much because it is truly unrealistic, but because it is so morally objectionable.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        January 27, 2016, 10:29 am

        “What I meant was: what pressure there is (it’s not much!) is aimed toward the international two-state consensus. ”

        Sure. But firstly – as I said – the ‘pressure’ is mostly empty words. Secondly, the countries most responsible for giving lip service to the ‘ international two-state consensus’ are those very same countries – namely the EU and US – who have done the most to ensure that ” international two-state consensus” will never happen, because of the blind-eye, if not outright support, they have given for all of Israel’s wars, occupations and sieges. I see the current ‘pressure’ more as personal peeves with Bibi for his general obnoxiousness rather than a principled objection to Israel’s behaviour. Let’s not forget that France, like the US, is coming close to banning any pro-BDS voices, and the EU, in the same statement where it announced the momentous (not!) move of labelling ‘settlement’ goods, said that they are actively opposed to boycott. So I just don’t see this ‘pressure’. Let the Israelis vote in a ‘moderate’ next year, and it will all dissolve and we’ll be back to ‘peace process’ and ‘painful sacrifices on both sides’.

        “What kind of regional rearrangement could lead to a complete collapse of Zionism and a single democratic state in Palestine?”

        I don’t know about ‘single democratic state’. However, to repeat: Zionism has ‘succeeded’ thus far not on its own merits, but because it has had pretty much everything its own way. The European and especially US elites are very pro-Zionist (maybe not out of principle but out of fear of losing bribes/accusations of ‘anti-semitism’), Israel’s ‘natural enemy’ the Arab world, has been disunited and in any case, most of the countries which count are allies of Israel, overtly or covertly. This isn’t out of any love of Zionism, but because the major players in the region (the Gulf states, Egypt and non-Arab Turkey) are very much a part of the Western power system in the region and therefore it benefits them to be friendly with Israel.

        There are signs, however, that the pro-WEstern status quo in the region is dissolving and the Middle East is rearranging itself. This will not be peaceful and will likely take decades to sort itself out. However, it’s most unlikely that the results will be as favourable to Israel as what we have seen thus far. The rise of Iran and the relative fall of the Gulf monarchies is one of the more positive signs. Couple this with the fact that most Israelis – as Dana has said – are rather ‘soft’ and perhaps likely to flee when the going gets tough (especially as many have at least one other passport), and with the fact that, as I’ve mentioned, any forced explusion of hundreds of thousands of fanatical ‘settlers’ will lead to civil war in Israel, then Zionism’s own internal contradictions may not stand up to any genuine (as opposed to fabricated) threats.

        Again, I am aware that all of this is very vague. But I just cannot see Zionism being capable of doing what other colonial movements have failed to do in comparable circumstances. I see the complete defeat of Zionism as being a question of ‘when’ and ‘how’, not ‘if’.

    • echinococcus
      January 26, 2016, 1:04 pm

      So now what? So now, MDM, looks like not only all good men should come to the rescue of the Party –all good mwen should also be praying, no matter if they are godless, for the Zionist entity to be forced to evacuate settlers. I really think that should be a major line of attack, precisely because as you say it will very probably mean a civil war, short of which it’s hard to imagine a relatively swift defeat of the Zionist project.

      • Theo
        January 27, 2016, 1:49 pm

        The attack must come from where the zionists in Israel never expect it, from the USA and certain EU countries. Sweden already made the first very tiny step.

        We all know that Israel cannot survive without american and EU political, financial and military support, so we must hit where it hurt the most.
        MW could, instead of publishing all the little occurances in Israel, concentrate on our political base. Practically all politicians swear allegiance to Israel, visit that country before elections to get instructions, and pay lip service to that land all through their official time, as if not american, but israeli voters elected them.
        We should attack and ridicule our leaders, flood them with e-mails and publish all their wrong doings, (and they are many). Ask them how much did they receive to sell their country, etc., demonstrate in front of homes of congressmen and senators. I am sure MW readers could suggest many other way to harrass them.
        As I already mentioned earlier, writing blogs will never free the palestinians and the BDS is a very small, two edged sword.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 27, 2016, 3:11 pm

        enough with the coulds and shoulds theo, nothings stopping you. organize something, just do it. go stand in from of your congresspersons house.

      • Mooser
        January 27, 2016, 5:43 pm

        “I am sure MW readers could suggest many other way to harrass them.”

        Harassment is illegal in the US. Really not a good idea to say you are out to “harass” anybody.

      • echinococcus
        January 27, 2016, 6:19 pm

        Aww Mooser, don’t be such a spoilsport. Nothing forbids you to harass and call it something else. “Lobbying” is a good name, I suppose. Or “reminding”.

      • Mooser
        January 27, 2016, 8:59 pm

        “Aww Mooser, don’t be such a spoilsport.”

        You are right, Theo is determined to help, and I shouldn’t quibble.

      • echinococcus
        January 27, 2016, 11:21 pm

        Theo,

        You are right in principle, but not about one specific group or site. Each one does what it can do; as the French used to say in more sexist days, the most beautiful girl only can give what she’s got. If Americans Knew, for example, is geared to obtaining the kind of action that you describe, while it is fiercely opposed by minority tribals like JVP. So, as Annie observed, whenever we think an action is right, up to us to go ahead and start doing it by ourself.

      • RoHa
        January 28, 2016, 3:47 am

        “Nothing forbids you to harass and call it something else.”

        “Raising consciousness” is a good one.

      • Theo
        January 28, 2016, 8:24 am

        Annie and Mooser

        Theo already did his duty to humanity!

        I am pushing 80, live in Germany well over 40 years, and my daily language is german, so I may make mistakes in the english language. This childish critic of my, and also others, choice of words may be fit for 12 years olds, but pityful with college educated persons. On the other hand I speak, read and write three languages and get by with two others, I wonder if my critics can surpass that!! Or even match it!

        I have the feeling that MW is an exercise in shadow boxing, we do things, but do not want to hurt anyone! The tribe may fight, but will not scratch out eachothers eyes, therefore it is a secret to me how do you want to free the palestinians. I am not blinded with a feeling to any group of people or religion, therefore I can see clearly the problem. Israel was founded in a bloodbath and will sink the same way, most professionals agree with this theory.

        Apropos, I did my duty to Israel. During the early 1960s we cought two female communist spies from eastern Europe, spying on our military. Usually after interrogation we turned them over to the germans, however one was jewish, so special treatment was required. She was turned over to the Mossad, was spirited out to Israel and may have ended up in the USA.
        There are people who plan and carry out successful actions, and there are ones who discuss and write about it.

    • Danaa
      January 27, 2016, 12:12 am

      MDM: “They may have no ideological attachment to the occupation, but they see no real reason to ‘relenquish’ the West Bank.”

      I kind of agree with Sibriak, at least in part. My take is that indeed for now at least, israelis can’t and won’t imagine life without the West bank, even if they never go there. many secular people for example really do believe that t is theirs as a “spoils of war”, a time tested argument with much historical antecedence. one often hears the typical zionist refrain – “if they did, why can’t we?” Where “they” can be any power in the West, be they the American colonizers or the british in Australia and canada, or the french in north Africa, etc. etc. this refrain is most often followed by the equally infamous line “why are we being singled out?”, implying deep-seated anti-semitism etc.

      The religious of course believe the land is thereirs because it was promised to Abraham, no doubt through a legal deed of trust crafted by a a well known historical figure, namely, god, an unchallengable authority in all matters, legal tenders included.

      But underlying these convictions, which all israelis share to some degree or another, there are other attributes israelis have. For one thing they are a rather self-serving people to an almost narcissistic degree. By self-serving I mean collectively – even as any one individual may be a paragon of selfless virtue, at least when directed to his “own” people. They are also deeply materialistic, something that some of the settlers encountered by Phil in his travels, actually were riled up about. most of the ‘coastal” israelis are rather attached to their lifestyles and material comforts, so if there was a credible threat to their economic well-being of the country, there would indeed be some serious backlash.

      In fact, I believe that were there substansive economic sanctions on israel, it would produce some near- miraculous cost-benefit re-evaluations. Among other things, the west bank would suddenly not seem all that important to keep, at least to an increasing number of people. Articles would be written about how much it’s costing the country to maintain. Even more articles will be written about how awful it is to be a disliked country and a disliked people. Yes, lots of israelis would pack up and leve no sooner that conditions get a bit tough, and the increase in emigration would produce loud wails of Oy vey. Lots of israelis are already leaving (those who can, basically) and many are clearly unhappy about being disliked, even if they refuse to see the reasons for the antipathy they generate.

      Will such re-evaluations be sufficient and will it change the political picture in israel? That’s hard to call because the addiction to the west bank and the desire to maintain Gaza as a ghetto is so entrenched in their psyche. And yes, the settlers, in their misplaced idealism would be a hard nut to crack. But even they, were they to lose material and spiritual support inside israel, may come to see their enterprise as somewhat doomed, and quite a few will leave and go back inside the green line if life became a lot less materially comfortable (again not speaking of the die-hard religious ones). All in all, about half the settlers may be willing to leave in return for some material enticement. As for the remaining half, OK, that’s a difficult question, but it’s not all that difficult to make them rethink a few things, and perhaps come up with a few compromises.

      I guess what I am saying is that israelis are not like iranians. The modern israeli, even a fairly religious one, will not willingly make the kind of material sacrifices that iranians made, without it causing a near-revolution. My guess is that israel may feel like a nation, but the israelis did not really gel into one, the way the citizens of some countries have (this BTW is my theory, based on my own experiences, observations and speculations. I am eager to find out whether I am right on this one, so bring on those sanctions, please!).

      But all this is hypothetical. Depending entirely on strong and pain-inflicting economic and cultural sanctions. If those could be brought about, I think there may be hope for some kind of acceptable arrangement for both people.

      If only the global will was there!

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        January 27, 2016, 8:34 am

        “I guess what I am saying is that israelis are not like iranians. The modern israeli, even a fairly religious one, will not willingly make the kind of material sacrifices that iranians made, without it causing a near-revolution. ”

        That’s a good point. It’s often been said that despite their macho self-image, Israelis are actually a ‘soft’ people. We see this in their many ‘wars’. They dont’ care about how many civilian casualties they inflict, but have a very low tolerance for their own casualties. That is a large part of the reason why Israel, despite having gone to war 4 times in the last decade, hasn’t actually won one since 1973. They can give, but they can’t take.

        So it is indeed possible that most Israelis – considering themselves very much a part of the Western world and all its comforts – would respond to sanctions if they were severe enough. On the other hand, it could bring out the ‘us against the world’ victim mentality which is so much a part of the Israeli psyche. It’s very hard to know unless it’s tried, which is why I’m all in favour of trying.

        “Articles would be written about how much it’s costing the country to maintain.”

        Is the occupation really costly for Israel though? Sure, keeping millions of people under your thumb isn’t cost-free, but then, remember that Israel also steals the land and resources – including, most importantly, water – from the occupied territory. An Israel reduced to its legal borders wouldn’t have much going for it. Then, aside from the material cost, there’s the fact that any real two-state solution – as opposed to a Bantustan ‘solution’ – would involve the eviction of all or almost all of the half million ‘settlers’. If even 10% of these are armed fanatics (and I suspect it’s considerably more) then Israel will have a war on its hands, especially bearing in mind that the ‘settlers’ now have a lot of influence in the military.

        So I don’t think dismantling the occupation will be cost-free for Israel at all. Quite the contrary.

  3. Jackdaw
    January 26, 2016, 12:03 pm

    The ‘I/P vortex’ claims another soul.

    • Mooser
      January 26, 2016, 12:41 pm

      “Even a liberal Israeli thinks ‘if we lose the West Bank, we lose everything’…Much like a thief carefully guarding his purloined jewels.”

      Well, when your first experience in this vale of tears is a jewel robbery, you get cautious! (Ezekiel 23:26, you bet)

  4. diasp0ra
    January 26, 2016, 4:06 pm

    ““These checkpoint guards come from underprivileged social conditions and also they tend to be minorities. The frustration from their daily life culminates, sometimes, into the abuse of Palestinians trying to cross at the checkpoints.”

    Oh, that must be it.

    And Zionists coming from Europe committed ethnic cleansing in 1947+ because they weren’t getting along with their wives at the time.

    I’m sure it has nothing to do with ideology, colonialism or the bunker mentality that Israeli governments have been so careful to encourage.

    So simple.

    The guy has never even been to the West Bank, but he wants it somehow, why?

    Because reasons.

  5. James Canning
    January 27, 2016, 1:01 pm

    Israel does not “own” the West Bank, and thus is not in a position to worry about “losing” the West Bank.

  6. dsowd
    January 27, 2016, 1:08 pm

    As for the author’s bio, I don’t believe there’s any such school as “Northern Eastern University.” Did you mean NORTHEASTERN University?

  7. eljay
    January 27, 2016, 6:35 pm

    … He then looked at me with intense, solemn eyes, “But, if we lose the West Bank, we lose everything.” …

    “I have my health, a good job and a nice house…but if I lose the victims I have chained in my basement, I lose everything.”

    Poor David. He and his Zio-supremacist co-collectivists have realized Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” within Israel’s / Partition borders…but that’s just not enough for them. It’s never enough for them. :-(

    Zio-supremacists are truly hateful and immoral people.

  8. JLewisDickerson
    January 27, 2016, 9:43 pm

    RE: “…but…” he continued about a half a minute later, “I don’t think Israel is under an existential threat anymore.” I couldn’t help reflexively thinking to myself “How flagrantly Schopenhauer and Nietzsche’s existentialism is used these days! Would they or Camus even recognize how the term is so often used today?” ~ Peter Crowley

    MY COMMENT: All the world’s a stage in The Theatre of the Absurd! ! ! Or, am I just being too “Aspergery”?
    Enquiring minds mimes want to know!™

    FROM WIKIPEDIA.COM [Absurdism]:

    [EXCERPT] In philosophy, “the Absurd” refers to the conflict between (1) the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and (2) the human inability to find any. In this context absurd does not mean “logically impossible”, but rather “humanly impossible”.[1] The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the Absurd, but rather, the Absurd arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.

    Accordingly, absurdism is a philosophical school of thought stating that the efforts of humanity to find inherent meaning will ultimately fail (and hence are absurd) because the sheer amount of information as well as the vast realm of the unknown make total certainty impossible. As a philosophy, absurdism furthermore explores the fundamental nature of the Absurd and how individuals, once becoming conscious of the Absurd, should respond to it. The absurdist philosopher Albert Camus stated that individuals should embrace the absurd condition of human existence while also defiantly continuing to explore and search for meaning.[2] . . .

    ● “Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” – Isaac Asimov

    ● “I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist.” – Jorge Luis Borges

    ● “All systems of morality are based on the idea that an action has consequences that legitimize or cancel it. A mind imbued with the absurd merely judges that those consequences must be considered calmly”. – Albert Camus

    ● “The Theatre of the Absurd … can be seen as the reflection of what seems to be the attitude most genuinely representative of our own time. The hallmark of this attitude is its sense that the certitudes and unshakable basic assumptions of former ages have been swept away, that they have been tested and found wanting, that they have been discredited as cheap and somewhat childish illusions.” – Martin Esslin

    • JLewisDickerson
      January 27, 2016, 9:56 pm

      P.S. ■ Arturo Ripstein’s discourse regarding Buñuel’s “The Exterminating Angel” (1962)

    • JLewisDickerson
      January 31, 2016, 2:50 pm

      P.P.S.
      The Theatre Of The Absurd (ebook)
      by Martin Esslin

      Published 1980
      Usage Public Domain Mark 1.0
      Topics Absurdism, Drama, Martin, Esslin, Theatre, Samuel Beckett
      Identifier TheTheatreOfTheAbsurd

      “In 1953 Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot premiered at a tiny avant-garde theatre in Paris; within five years, it had been translated into more than twenty languages and seen by more than a million spectators. Its startling popularity marked the emergence of a new type of theatre whose proponents – Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, Pinter, and others – shattered dramatic conventions and paid scant attention to psychological realism, while highlighting their characters’ inability to understand one another. In 1961, Martin Esslin gave a name to the phenomenon in his ground-breaking study of these playwrights who dramatized the absurdity at the core of the human condition.” “Over four decades after its initial publication, Esslin’s landmark book has lost none of its freshness. The questions these dramatists raise about the struggle for meaning in a purposeless world are still as incisive and necessary today as they were when Beckett’s tramps first waited beneath a dying tree on a lonely country road for a mysterious benefactor who would never show. Authoritative, engaging, and eminently readable, The Theatre of the Absurd is nothing short of a classic: vital reading for anyone with an interest in the theatre.”–BOOK JACKET.

      Year 1980
      Language English
      Collection opensource

      TO DOWNLOAD PDF, KINDLE, EPUB, ETC. – link to archive.org

  9. jaspeace2day
    January 28, 2016, 11:11 am

    The way to liberate Palestine is to cut off the head of the snake and that snake resides in congress, senate and the donors and lobby’s like AIPAC. Once we take back our government we can set to work on Palestine. Here a great article regarding Palestine as the main focal point of all aggression in the Middle East.
    link to aljazeera.com

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