My day job has kept me very busy lately, but there are three short points I would like to make before Shabbat enters.
1. Israel’s hamas
Today’s Haaretz headline says it all: Israel Expropriates West Bank Land in Order to Legalize Settlement. How many similar headlines has Haaretz published in the last forty years?The system is simple. Settlers squat on Palestinian land. The settlement is considered to be an "outpost," illegal even by Israeli standards. Then the government confiscates the land on which the settlement sits in order to retroactively legalize the settlement. In Hebrew that is called, le-taher et ha-sheretz, to purify a reptile that is inherently impure. It doesn't work in halakha, Jewish law; it doesn't work it in real life. We sin against the Palestinians, and we lie to ourselves.
That is what we call in Hebrew hamas, the Biblical word for theft and oppression. Israel has ruled the West Bank by force, through theft and oppression. Of course, the thief doesn't agree that it is theft, but it is indeed our hamas.
It is morally and legally indefensible. And as a religious Jew, I believe that Providence will in the end deal justly with the perpetrators and the victims of that hamas. But the Lord helps those who help themselves. It's up to us to begin.
2. If you are a two-stater, this piece by Akiva Eldar is a must read
Akiva Eldar is one of the last serious two-staters in Israel, a believer in the Geneva Initiative. Of course, I have written here many times that the Geneva Initiative does not give the Palestinians a real state. But no matter; Eldar is convinced that this is the way to go.
So when Eldar -- and not Jerry Haber or Ali Abunhimah -- lashes out at Dennis Ross and the fake peace process, you two-staters should read it here...and weep.
If I had one wish, it would be that every so-called liberal Zionist, from Jeremy Ben Ami to Alan Dershowitz and all the people in between, read Eldar's obituary for Oslo.
I take that back -- I will be happy if only Tom Friedman reads it.
2. The Must-Read Article of the Week: Adam Shatz on the Palestinians in the LRB
Finally, the best take on the Palestinians in June 2011 -- including the various groups within Palestine, but not so much those outside Palestine -- is provided by Adam Shatz in a long article in the current London Review of Books here. Some may take objection to some points, but the article is a must-read.
I was particularly interested in the claim that West Bank Palestinians are more inclined to see Israelis as temporary invaders, like the Crusaders, than they were during they were in the halcyon Oslo days -- primarily because they are isolated entirely from Israelis. It seems that the "Iron Wall" actually makes Arabs less likely to accept Israel's existence. Is anybody surprised by that?
Who should read this article? Anybody who thinks Palestinian society is monolithic, that things are getting better for the Palestinians on the West Bank, and who see Fayyad and Fayyadism as the hopeful wave of the future.
In other words, self-deluded Zionists.