The only certainty regarding Trump’s Jerusalem declaration is that people will die

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on 22 Comments

“Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic point of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.”

–W. H. Auden, September 1, 1939

I think, first and foremost, of Najmi. I haven’t seen her in months, We used to work for Yesh Din. She’s shy, soft-spoken, with a keen, sharp mind. She lives in East Jerusalem. Will she be alive in two days? How about Muhaned, fierce and unbowed?

Dammit, will I? I already dodged two suicide attacks. And for all the jokes about the Petah Tikva being the equivalent of Nebraska in its non-existence, several attacks took place here. Are we back to 2001-2002?

As these words are written, I have no idea just what sort of proclamation Trump will issue today regarding Jerusalem. But the signs are not good. He is likely to proclaim Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, making no distinction between the West and East cities, not knowing that you can easily discern them: the streets without pavements are those where the Palestinians live.

But I do know the State Department issued warning to its embassies in the Middle East, and I know the IDF is on high alert. And I know the police confidently said there are no reports of planned violence. And I remember that the 30th anniversary of the First Intifada is in three days.

There was no warning then, either. Nor was there one when the Second Intifada broke out. Our secret police prides itself on its penetration and fragmentation of Palestinian society; but while it may be good at identifying any formimg Palestinian attack squads (one reason we see so many solitary attackers – it is simply too dangerous to form a cell), it has a particularly lousy record when it comes to predicting events.

So, I don’t know what will happen tomorrow and the day after that. But, frankly, I’m afraid. Perhaps it’s the traumatic legacy of the Second Intifada: of the years of endless terror, when you went to work silently calculating the odds that this bus ride will be it, that it may be time for you ticket to be punched; when you prayed in the morning for the sun to set, and at night for it to rise again. (And yes, I know: Palestinians had it much, much worse; but while I can know and understand it, even relate to it, I didn’t feel it.)

We can do the whole megillah of the tormented history of modern Jerusalem, of the 1947 resolution which is still in force which sees the city as corpus separatum. We can mention the mystic numbers 181 and 242 and mumble them as an incantation; when all is said and done, whatever Trump says tonight, there will be blood. Innocent people will die. Some are walking among us, still not knowing that there’s already a bullet (or a bomb fragment, or an artillery round) with their names on it. And oh, our gunmen are so much better at killing people when given an excuse.

My government is about to be given a surprise gift by Trump, and it does not care that dozens are likely to die. One does not conquer the mountain, goes the old Irgun song, unless there’s a grave dug downhill. They think those stones and a presidential proclamation is worth it. There’s actually no discussion. The myth of the “united Jerusalem” is so strong, even the opposition supports Trump’s move. Precious few dare to say that between ancient stones and human lives, you should choose life.

And of course, most of the dead will be Palestinians. Most Israelis don’t know any and hence can’t think of them as anything but a stereotype, as one of those human-shaped targets in IDF gun ranges. I do know. I think of Najmi and I am afraid.

Dona nobis pacem.

About Yossi Gurvitz

Yossi Gurvitz is a journalist and a blogger, and has covered the occupation extensively.

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22 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson
    December 6, 2017, 1:44 pm

    “Dona Nobis Pacem” (Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈdona ˈnɔbis ˈpatʃɛm]) is a song with Latin text, often sung as a canon. The words, which mean “Grant us peace”, come from the Latin Mass.
    SOURCE – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dona_Nobis_Pacem_(canon)

    Michael Sanders
    Published on May 26, 2016

    Conducted by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and featuring:

    Renée Flynn, Soprano; Roy Henderson, Baritone; the BBC Chorus, Section A (Chorus Master- Leslie Woodgate); the BBC Symphony Orchestra (Leader- Paul Beard).

    A live broadcast, before an audience, given in the Concert Hall, BBC Broadcasting House, London, on the BBC London Regional Programme at 20.00, 13 November 1936.

    A Cantata for Soprano and Baritone Soli, Chorus and Orchestra

    1. “Agnus dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, Dona nobis pacem.”
    2. “Beat! Beat! drums !—blow ! bugles ! blow !”
    3. “Reconciliation.”
    4. “Dirge for Two Veterans”- leading to
    5. “The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land”- leading to
    6. “Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation”

  2. hippocrasy
    December 6, 2017, 1:53 pm

    can we say, gee Donald if you recognize Jerusalem we will make flynn go away. BLACKMAIL. Coincidental a few days after Flynn goes states evidence

    • Citizen
      December 7, 2017, 9:48 am

      Next step, bomb Iran, the sole Persian state in the world?

      • eljay
        December 7, 2017, 12:32 pm

        || Citizen: Next step, bomb Iran, the sole Persian state in the world? ||

        It’s acceptable to threaten to “totally destroy” (wipe off the map, push into the sea, genocide, holocaust) North Korea.

        It’s acceptable to impose economic sanctions on Iran and to existentially threaten it with war and devastation.

        It’s acceptable to meddle in the affairs of and attack and bombard sovereign nations and effect regime change (Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria).

        But if you dare to utter criticism of Israel for its on-going colonialism and the sundry (war) crimes it continues deliberately and unapologetically to commit, that’s not just unacceptable, it’s anti-Semitism and “Jew hatred”.

  3. Marnie
    December 7, 2017, 12:15 pm

    Netanyahu is urging other nations to c’mon join the peace train, get on board now as the circus peanut has given the all clear. Join this party too! Then we can all get on board (except our precious jewish soldiers) and get this war on with iran, as you know, netanyahu has been predicting since the 1990s that they will have a nuclear weapon in 10 years. .

    Benjamin Netanyahu: ‘We have to act now against Iran’ – Israel News …
    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Netanyahu-We-have-to-act-now-against-Iran-517171

    Israel won’t allow Iran to establish a military base in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as he called on the world to halt Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, nuclear power and its support of global terrorism.

    “We have to act now against Iran,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday afternoon at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference.

    These comments come the same week that Israeli forces allegedly executed two air strikes against Syria, including one on an Iranian military base and the other on a Syrian military research center.

    “We will not let them establish themselves in Syria,” Netanyahu said. “We mean what we say and we say what we mean,” he added.

    During his short talk, his only scheduled English address for the day, he did not address US President Donald Trump’s pending recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

    Instead he used the stage to urge the diplomats in the room to send a “cable” to their governments urging more pressure on Iran with regard to human rights and halting Iran’s nuclear capacity.

    He asked the diplomats to support efforts by the US and Israel to create a series of safeguards around the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that addresses flaws in the agreement that would allow Iran to quickly become a nuclear power once it ends.

    “If Iran continues unabated they will have nuclear weapons in a decade,” he said.

    Tehran is also developing an intercontinental ballistic missile with global reach, Netanyahu said.

    He pointed to a map of the world, including the Middle East, with countries under Iranian influence in black, to show how it was slowly taking over the region, creating a “land bridge’ reaching to the Mediterranean sea.

    Hamas and Hezbollah would “not last a day without Iran,” Netanyahu said.

    To the diplomats he added, protect “the flames of liberty and the flames of progress.”

    If there is a god he/she has a very dark sense of humor to allow such a convergence of homicidal idiots on the planet at the same time. Caroline Glick is in absolute ecstasy.

  4. yonah fredman
    December 8, 2017, 10:03 pm

    I choose to write my reaction to the statement by US president Donald Trump here, because currently my primary concern is regarding the violence which has followed the announcement. The wheel is still in spin, some have died, more may die and the immediate loss of life and fear of further loss expressed by Gurvitz in this post is uppermost on my mind.

    having said that, the fact of the world’s refusal to recognize Israel’s capital is in Jerusalem is both an insult and a reflection of historical reality. the insult is obvious: If a country has a capital, refusing to recognize it is an insult. The historical reality is both past, present and future oriented. Past: the Partition resolution of 1947 proposed a 10 year period of Jerusalem as a separate entity and that was based upon the realities of Jerusalem at the time. (I am still lacking knowledge of basic documents: Until a few days ago I thought that the international status of Jerusalem was meant to be a permanent feature of the partition, but in fact it was merely an interim prescription for 10 years. I haven’t read the partition resolution until now and this fact was digested recently based upon a comment by one of the Zionists on Mondoweiss.) Present: Jerusalem is a city that is not united, as in: the vast majority of its Palestinian residents are powerless and deprived of Israeli citizenship and lacking political power such basics as infrastructure and education are sadly lacking in the Palestinian parts of town. Future: Though a two state solution seems as far away as ever, if that is to be the path, some modus operandi regarding Jerusalem being the capital of both Israel and Palestine will have to be found and though Trump’s statement included some small recognition of the future, the statement offered almost nothing to the Palestinians.

    I am unsure of my following analogy, but I still offer it. If a man is a thousand miles away from his goal and he walks one mile in the wrong direction before discovering his mistake, the reaction should be mild. Oy vey, but not despair. Thus the Trump statement moves us further away from peace, but in fact we are far away and the added distance of a mile is really minor. The journey of a thousand and one miles also begins with a single step and Trump’s step is in the wrong direction, but really the difference between how far away we were a week ago and how far away we are now is minor.

    I think that this is a boon to Palestinian propaganda insofar as Trump is vastly unpopular in the world and vastly unpopular with the Democratic party and major segments of the US population. Given that, Israel being associated with Trumpian pigheadedness is another blow against the cause of Zionism.

    My love for Jerusalem is partially based upon how I was raised and my beliefs of forty and fifty years ago when I still believed in the Torah and still looked askance at the need or possibility of reconciliation with the Palestinians. My love for Jerusalem is also based upon the joy I get when in Jerusalem of reading street signs in Arabic and hearing Arabic spoken. The Old City is the core of Jerusalem, without it, Jerusalem is minor and with it Jerusalem is great. Since my old self would be celebrating today and my new self feels the inequality and oppression involved in the occupation including the occupation of Jerusalem I am not of one mind on the issue.

    But I return to Gurvitz’s worry about loss of life and thus based upon the immediate concern for safety of all humans in Jerusalem and indeed in the general vicinity, I am worried by the situation.

    • eljay
      December 8, 2017, 10:16 pm

      || yonah fredman: … Israel being associated with Trumpian pigheadedness is another blow against the cause of Zionism. … ||

      It’s sad to see you trying express sympathy for the victims of injustice even as you long for injustice to triumph. But if it’s any consolation, Zionism was blowing itself long before Trump showed up.

      • yonah fredman
        December 8, 2017, 11:07 pm

        OT
        I recently started to read sartre’s antisemitism and the jew, http://abahlali.org/files/Jean-Paul_Sartre_Anti-Semite_and_Jew_An_Exploration_of_the_Etiology_of_Hate__1995.pdf spurred on by a podcast of ruth wisse on the topic. (https://tikvahfund.org/library/podcast-ruth-wisse-on-sartre-and-anti-semitism/ )

        there is much talk in this here comments section on the topic of “jewish self hatred” in particular and i think that an understanding of what sartre calls the inauthentic jew might be useful. if we are pursuing truth, we should familiarize ourselves with the basic texts and even though sartre was no expert, this essay is a good place to begin.
        Here is an interesting and provocative quote from the section on the democrat: (sartre divides human kind into four: the antisemite, the democrat, the inauthentic jew and the authentic jew)

        “During the occupation the democrat was profoundly and sincerely indignant at the anti‐Semitic persecutions, but be sighed from time to time: “The Jews will come back from exile with such insolence and hunger for vengeance that I am afraid of a new outburst of anti‐Semitism.” What he really feared was that the persecutions might have helped to give the Jew a more definite consciousness of himself.”

      • Talkback
        December 9, 2017, 6:28 am

        yonah: “… the inauthentic jew …”

        ROFL. Splinters!

      • Mooser
        December 9, 2017, 11:40 am

        “there is much talk in this here comments section on the topic of “jewish self hatred” “yonah”

        Oh please, “yonah”. There is much accusation of “Jewish self-hatred” on the part of Zionists against other Jews. That’s all.

        “the inauthentic jew …”

        Yes, well less than 10% of the Jews alive today are authentic. But don’t tell them that, they might stop giving money to Zionism.

      • Mooser
        December 9, 2017, 11:59 am
      • RoHa
        December 9, 2017, 8:11 pm

        And what more would one need to know?

      • Mooser
        December 9, 2017, 9:52 pm

        “What he really feared was that the persecutions might have helped to give the Jew a more definite consciousness of himself.”

        “yonah” you are once again not just OT, but completely out of context, and out of your mind. And manage to insult both Jews and Sartre.

    • Talkback
      December 9, 2017, 5:33 am

      yonah: “having said that, the fact of the world’s refusal to recognize Israel’s capital is in Jerusalem is both an insult and a reflection of historical reality. the insult is obvious: If a country has a capital, refusing to recognize it is an insult. The historical reality is both past, present and future oriented.”

      The typical Zionist perversion of international law. Not the illegal annxation of Jerusalem is an “insult”, but the refusal to legitimize this crime by recognition.

      Seriously, what’s wrong with you? Are you one of the typical Zionist nusts who believe that a couple of hundred years of Jewish ruling over Palestine thousands of years ago grants Jews as such an internal right to it and with it the right to conquer and illegally annex it in the post Nazi era of international law?

      Is your view of Jews THAT low? Do you accept Jews to be THAT backwarded and 100 of years behind civilization? Talking about self hate …

      • Mooser
        December 9, 2017, 12:02 pm

        “Do you accept Jews to be THAT backwarded and 100 of years behind civilization? Talking about self hate …”

        What do we care about “civilization”? We outnumber civilization ten-to-one.

      • eljay
        December 9, 2017, 2:09 pm

        || Mooser: … What do we care about “civilization”? We outnumber civilization ten-to-one. ||

        According to some Zionists, you don’t just outnumber civilization, you are civilization!

      • Mooser
        December 9, 2017, 9:46 pm

        “According to some Zionists, you don’t just outnumber civilization, you are civilization!”

        Yes, they have some very unrealistic ideas. Civilization would do just fine without us. It is possible for men to lead a perfectly civilized life and never eat a bagel.

      • Talkback
        December 10, 2017, 7:12 am

        Mooser: “What do we care about “civilization”? We outnumber civilization ten-to-one.”

        ‘You’ outnumber even Nonjewish humans 15 million to zero:
        “Most Jewish first-graders attend ultra-Orthodox and religious schools. The majority of them are educated along the lines of “The King’s Torah.” A Jew is human. A non-Jew is non-human.”
        https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/the-racist-entity-that-is-taking-over-israel-must-be-toppled-1.345929

      • RoHa
        December 10, 2017, 6:46 pm

        “It is possible for men to lead a perfectly civilized life and never eat a bagel.”

        That’s going a bit far, Mooser.

      • Mooser
        December 10, 2017, 9:45 pm

        “That’s going a bit far, Mooser.”

        Maybe, but I was at an English blog and they spell it “beighel”. I kid you not. That’s going way too far. I wouldn’t touch one if they spelled it “beighel”. That’s way too aidel gepotchket for me.

    • Mooser
      December 9, 2017, 11:36 am

      “the immediate concern for safety of all humans in Jerusalem and indeed in the general vicinity, I am worried by the situation.”

      Oh, now they’re “all humans”?

      C’mon, “yonah”, where is the courage of your convictions? Remember:

      Palestine was picked because Jerusalem is in Palestine.”

      “but Israel has annexed much of the West Bank adjacent to Jerusalem and according to you, they have annexed East Jerusalem without every annexing West Jerusalem and that is just plain silly.”

      Just two out of 239 comments in which “yonah” explains the importance, the must-have nature, of Jerusalem, and not just for “Israel”, but for Jews all over the world.

      But now he is worried about “all humans”

  5. RoHa
    December 9, 2017, 8:25 pm

    Nice bit of Auden. For those who haven’t got the whole thing handy, here it is.

    http://www.poemdujour.com/Sept1.1939.html

    I and the public know
    What all schoolchildren learn.
    Those to whom evil is done
    Do evil in return.

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