Friday, January 09, 2004

From an interview with Sheikh Hashem Abd al-Rahman Mahajana, mayor of the Israel-Arab village Um-al-Fahm. (and member of the Islamic Movement party):

What do you think about the idea of annexing Umm al-Fahm to the Palestinian Authority?

"Absolutely not. Ninety-three percent of the city's residents are against that, and I am one of them. This is our home, we are citizens like everyone else, and we have it good here."

What's so good here for you? What about all the complaints of persecution, oppression and discrimination?

"It's all true, as you know. Yet our situation here is still far better than it would be if we were in an Arab state. I admit it. I also say it in talks abroad. It's a fact. That doesn't mean that there is nothing to improve. There's plenty."

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Tony Judt's next article According to this Haaretz report, senior Likud officials rallied around Ariel Sharon at a party convention last night - even those such as Limor Livnat who have been critical of Sharon recently. The report describes Sharon's confrontation with a vocal faction led by Moshe Feiglin, and gives passing mention to an eccentric "vote contractor" named Uzi Cohen, who made remarks promoting "transfer" of the Palestinian population.

Of course, Chris McGreal in The Guardian portrays "Central Committee member" Cohen as a major Sharon opponent at the forefront of some kind of grass-roots movement. Is calling McGreal a "lying scum" too harsh?

But Al-Jazeera trumps The Guardian by making Cohen into a Knesset member and "influential figure" in Likud.

Update: Ali J. changed its headline (it now says "Israeli official" instead of "Israeli MP"), but the article still says that a proposal on "ethnic cleansing" was "tabled" etc.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Swedish media apparently lionized Gustav Fridolin's attempt to interfere with the building of the security fence, though a center-right Swedish newspaper was more critical.

Fridolin's sojourn with the ISM and Anarchists Against the Fence was apparently paid for by an educational grant from the Swedish gov't. Fridolin defended the grant saying that it was supposed to be a fact-finding trip in which he would meet with both Arabs and Israelis who agree with his non-factual preconceived views.

Fridolin incorrectly claims that the IDF used live ammunition to clear his mob, and also asserts that Rachel Corrie was deliberately murdered in order to test the extent of the international outcry. Fridolin also wants Sweden to suspend trade agreements with Israel and encourage Swedes to boycott Israeli goods.

It's quite fascinating to see the ISM and its friends getting funding for its unarmed but violent activities under the pretext of educational programs (ie. this one, Echoing Green, and Adam Shapiro's encouraging kids to exploit and then abandon heavily-subsidized "Jewish heritage" trips). It's probably a natural step, given the youth of most of their volunteers.

The mainstream media often treats them as a peace group (though not always), so it's important to vote for the International Solidarity Movement at the LGF "Idiotarian of the Year" poll.