Thursday, November 27, 2003

Mazal Tov to Ribbity Frog + spouse on the addition of a new tadpole.
Apparently pandering to Arab and Muslim sentiments, BBC World Service Radio broadcast an all-Muslim panel discussion on whether Israel has a right to exist. The consensus of the panel was not surprising.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Norman Geras links to this this article on the situation. This article from Haaretz has similar sympathies. This other Haaretz article.

It's tiresome to fisk articles in the Independent and the Guardian because to me it seems that the loaded language and one-sided presentations in those publications should be obvious to everyone. But since this article has made such an impression on a sensible liberal blogger it seems like a good time to respond.

There are yellow steel gates in the barbed wire [at Jayyous] but they are closed. Farmers are busy making phone calls, some are going to see the Israeli military to demand that the gates be opened. Eventually, soldiers arrive. Harvesting is a family affair so the soldiers face a crowd of men, women and children. What they do is this. First they collect all their identity papers.

Then they call the people out one by one. Today they have decided that no male between the ages of 12 and 38 will be allowed on his land. Also, no woman will be allowed unless she is over 28 and married. So the majority of the farmers - men, women and teenagers - stand at the gate, the Israeli soldiers and the barrier between them and the harvest that is their sustenance and income for the coming year.

Two men set off to try and find a way of infiltrating their own land. The rest make their way back to the village hall. On the mayor's desk lie some 600 permits that appeared in the village this morning. They are issued by the Israeli authorities and made out to individual farmers. About half of them are in the names of people who can't use them: babies, infants, a couple of men who have been in Australia for 15 years. But that is not the point. The point is that the people know that if they use these permits they are implicitly accepting their terms: three months' access with no recognition of any rights to the land. They suspect that after three months Israel will start playing games with them. Permits like these were one of the mechanisms by which their parents and grandparents were dispossessed of their land in 1948. What should they do? Use the permits and try to salvage their crops and deal with the rest later? Boycott the permits and starve?
More lies from the Guardian

An Egyptian writer tours the West Bank for the Guardian:
The next day a Jewish Israeli woman gives me a copy of the military order on which the permits are based. It names the West Bank land now trapped between the barrier and Israel's borders the "Seam Zone". It states that the people who have the right to be in the Seam Zone without permits are Israelis or anyone who can come to Israel under the Law of Return. That is, any Jewish person from anywhere in the world. But in this district alone, 11,550 Palestinians have their homes in the Seam Zone. "It is Nuremberg all over again," she says.

That whole paragraph is baldfaced fiction - nothing unusual for the Guardian, I know. But it's also disturbingly provocative and inflammatory.

More later.


To clarify:

- the assertion that the seam zone is "Jews only" is simply bunk

- the wacky-left and mainstream British press have also stated that the villagers were told to get permits or face expulsion. Those reports don't describe how the orders were supposedly promulgated (or offer an Israeli response). I haven't found anything vaguely similar in the Israeli press (and there should have been something).

- I have read about permits being required for crossing the fence

Don't know if I'll have any more info today, but I'll try (the Nuremberg bit is obviously obscene but apparently goes over well in Europe).


It's another instance of the "Jenin Effect" (ie. Palestinian rumors becoming international news):
The Palestinians of Jubara were alarmed when Israeli soldiers began posting notices on telephone poles and at checkpoints around their small West Bank village.


The notices told of an unprecedented new order: everyone must apply for a special permit to remain in Jubara -- the village has about 300 residents. The notices did not specifically mention expulsion, but Palestinian officials and villagers said they understand this to be the implied threat.

Suffice to say that this "implied threat" is either Pali propaganda or subconscious projection (or both). The IDF is trying to prevent non-locals from crossing the fence easily - an unpleasant consequence of maintaining a quasi-open border with Arafatistan.
I'm a bit weary of the whole 'Geneva' thing, but: A recent Jpost article mentioned that under 'Geneva' the Palestinians would be provided with "access" to the Templar (German Protestant) cemetery, which is right in the middle of my neighborhood. This was apparently a spur-of-the-moment concession demanded in exchange for Israeli access to the old Jewish cemetery on Mount Scopus.

Update: More background on the cemetery here. Apparently they're the Templers, not the Templars.

Monday, November 24, 2003

The text of the "Geneva accords" were mailed to all Israelis a week or so ago (though I was in the US, and T. didn't keep the brochure for me). The mailing was funded by gambling website operator (and Beilin associate) Avi Shaked, together with the Geneva-based Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (report)