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Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Resistance I – Nakba and Sumoud

October 25, 2012

[In September 2012, Aditya Nigam and I had the incredible good fortune to visit Palestine. This post is the first of a series in which we reflect on our experience and what we learnt there. We stayed in Ramallah, visited and interacted with colleagues at Birzeit University and spoke at a conference organized by Muwatin, a research institute based in Ramallah. We met  a large number of inspiring people who pushed the frontiers of our minds, and we came away humbled and moved by the dignity of a people living through the brutal occupation of their lands by the  Zionist state of Israel, with limitless courage and sense of humour intact.

Deepest gratitude to Rema Hammami of Birzeit who drove us around Jerusalem, and whose inimitable commentary gave us a live historical sense of  her country.

Words are inadequate to thank our friends Magid Shihade and Sunaina Maira, whose passionate love of Palestine and determination to help us make the most of our brief stay there, expanded our horizons continually.]

On the 15th of May 1948, the state of Israel was born, dispossessing Palestinians who had lived on that land for centuries. Fleeing terror and genocide in Europe, and anti-semitism globally, Jews from all over the world poured into Palestine.

Why Palestine? Why was Palestine given to the Jews as their home? And whose property was Palestine, that it could be given away? Why were people who had never done any harm to the Jewish people made to pay the price for European anti-semitism? It was Germany and Italy and Poland that had in fact, run concentration camps; it was any number of other countries of Europe that could boast of centuries-old histories of violent anti-semitism. Why were not parts of these countries carved out to make a country for the people they had wronged?

Maps showing the gradual obliteration of Palestine by Israel

Because the Jewish religious belief is that Eretz Israel, the land of Israel, is a God-given inheritance of the Jewish people promised by God Himself to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and to the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. What better guide to modern state formation than the Old Testament?  Zionism is the claim to Eretz Israel as the exclusive homeland of the Jews and as the legitimate focus for  Jewish national self-determination. Zionism thus, is the companion ideology to anti-semitism,  not its opposite. To be anti-Zionist is not to be anti-Jewish, any more than to be anti-Hindutva is to be anti-Hindu or to be anti-Taliban is to be anti-Muslim. (Ask the world’s most famous anti-Zionist Jew, Noam Chomsky!)

(The conflation of Judaism and Jews, with Zionism and Israel, works very well for  Zionism. Thus a comment from a reader to the previous post on kafila calling for a boycott of Cameri in Delhi, triumphantly listed drugs from Novocain to digitalis and therapeutic practices like psychoanalysis, all invented by Jews, that should be boycotted if Israel is to be boycotted. Very conveniently, he forgot to mention Marx and his legacy as Jewish… And apparently the commenter believed s/he had made an irrefutable argument against the boycott of Israel.  Logically then, those who call for hunting down Al Qaeda  should also call for a boycott of the mathematical and scientific contributions of Arab scientists and philosophers that form the foundation of modern science ?)

From 1948 until today, this migration of Jews from all over the world into Israel has resulted in the  steady swallowing of Palestinian lands by Jewish settlements and the herding of Palestinian people into the continually shrinking little slivers of West Bank and Gaza.

How is Palestinian land taken over? By a variety of strategies. By military force, with guns and bombs, primarily from noncombatant farm families. By demolishing Palestinian homes on flimsy legal grounds, and since Palestinians cannot obtain building permits from Israel, many suddenly homeless Palestinians have to vacate their land, which is then taken over for Jewish families.

(Demolitions don’t stop even on Jewish holidays – or perhaps they are stepped up? On September 17th 2012, one of the days of the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah – a Palestinian friend, feminist scholar Nadera  Shalhoub-Kevorkian, wept as she told us of watching helplessly from her window as a familiar yellow bulldozer demolished yet another Palestinian home in the distance.)

Sarah Haines, an Australian volunteer with Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), wrote to her family from an Israeli prison cell in 2009:

Every time settlers move into a neighbourhood means the Army also moves in to protect them, Palestinians are restricted from moving in the area, and the flavour of the neighbourhood of course changes. This is already a heartbreaking situation for Palestinians whose national aspirations both depend on East Jerusalem as capital for any future economically viable state, but also whose very cultural desire is tied up in this city.

The other point is that every home taken away from Palestinians is one less home available for Palestinians — not just in that neighbourhood, but in toto. They do not have the option to buy somewhere else in Jerusalem or Israel so they become homeless, or squish in with over-crowded relatives. In some cases, as per the policy design, they will give up their Jerusalem residency and privileges and job opportunities, and instead move to the West Bank.

More recently, Palestinian families in Silwan, East Jerusalem, have learnt that the Israeli authorities plan to demolish large parts of Silwan to build a controversial tourist site.

“We are also waiting for the bill for the bulldozer” said a resident. Because the best part of losing your homes? Getting to pay the demolition costs. In June 2011, a Committee of the Israeli Knesset passed a first draft of a law that will require that Palestinians whose homes are destroyed by Israeli forces, will have to pay the Israeli government for the demolition costs, which runs into thousands  of dollars  Already, many Palestinian homeowners, mainly in Jerusalem, have been forced to pay for the forced demolition of their homes. 

In the first five months of 2011, Israeli forces demolished more Palestinian homes than in the entire year of 2010, rendering homeless 706 Palestinians, including 341 minors. This is according to the most recent numbers released by the Israeli Civil Administration. Israel has created Jewish colonies all through the heart of Palestinian Jerusalem in an effort to engulf the Old City,  a project that continues by the minute.

You look around a Palestinian neighbourhood and see the Israeli flag fluttering from a window, from roof tops, and you know you’re seeing the Zionist project of ethnic cleansing in action.

A house taken over as part of Jewish settlement in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarra. The spikes sticking triumphantly into the skyline represents the Menorah, the nine-branched candelabrum used in Jewish temples. (Photo AN/NM)

Palestinian legal activist Raja Shehadeh, writes of settlers:

Today’s Jewish settlers…appear to think of themselves as renegades breaking away from the ruling establishment and following their own interpretations of the Scriptures….But…these present day rebels live on state subsidies. They are protected by the strongest army in the region and needn’t work for a living…Their heroism is attributed to their harassment of unarmed Palestinian civilians…whom they attempt to drive away from the land they consider as theirs.

(Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape P 116)

Barbed wire and armed guard acting as outpost of Jewish settlement in Hebron, an ancient Palestinian town. (Photo AN/NM)

May 15th then, is the day of Nakba or Catastrophe for the people of Palestine. It is a day of mourning, but also of resolve. It is a day on which the Right to Return is asserted and reasserted by hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in exile and in refugee camps world-wide.

An Israeli tour guide said to Sarah Haines, “We politely make it impossible for them to live here.”  Nothing polite about bulldozers.

Jewish settlers in Hebron who took over the homes above shops, would (politely?) throw down rubbish, rotten eggs, acid and even shit on to the Palestinians  as they came to their shops every morning. The latter put up netting and plastic sheets to protect themselves. The rubbish continues to be thrown. (Photo AN/NM)

But the one thing that Palestinians are proud of?

Their sumoud.  Steadfastness.  They will not leave.

Graffiti in Hebron (Photo AN/NM)


Part II Living the Occupation

Part III Imagining Post-Zionist Futures

21 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2012 9:12 PM

    No postmodern poetics of black on the canvas…the bloody splotch is too apparent for all, and nothing could change that!

  2. October 28, 2012 2:48 PM

    sometimes I wonder, is Israeli model sustainable?

  3. Jordan Osserman permalink
    October 28, 2012 10:57 PM

    This is a very disappointing article, especially coming from an otherwise adept historian. Do readers really need another “Zionist Oppression 101″, especially in such reductionist, uncritical and propagandistic terms? Why can’t the history of Zionism be connected with larger project of nation-building? You claim to oppose Zionism without being anti-Semitic, but the language of your article suggests that the Jewish state is a uniquely Jewish undertaking, reflective solely of the religious beliefs of the Jews rather than a product of social and economic forces of which the very idea of “nationhood” is implicated. (Have you forgotten the claim to liberal secularism at the very heart of the Zionism project?) I found this statement particularly offensive and, yes, anti-Semitic:

    “Because the Jewish religious belief is that Eretz Israel, the land of Israel, is a God-given inheritance of the Jewish people promised by God Himself to the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and to the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. What better guide to modern state formation than the Old Testament?”

    There was in fact a lot of debate during the early Zionist movement about where the “homeland” should be located, and the British played no small contribution in influencing the decision to choose Palestine. Furthermore, you treat Palestine as if it were a consolidated national identity pre-Zionism, when in fact the identity as it exists today emerged in tandem with, and as a partial consequence of, the Zionist movement.

    You are right to point out Palestinian oppression, but it does little good to discuss them in these terms. Your reference to Noam Chomsky as the “worlds leading anti-Zionist Jew” is unreflective tokenizing. The Arab/Israeli conflict needs more rigorous, historically informed analysis, not less.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      October 30, 2012 8:56 AM

      Jordan, you’re right, this is a 101 on Palestine/Israel, and it is also the first, introductory piece of a series that will have three or four posts in all. (For Indian readers unfamiliar with US university terminology, 101 is a basic introductory course). It is a 101 because I need it and most Indian readers need it. We need it to know, or to remember, the history of that region, in an era in which the continuous takeover of Palestinian lands by a state heavily backed by the USA, is increasingly referred to as the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” as if the conflict is between equally armed nation-states rather than between an armed violent state and an unarmed civilian population. We need to know and to remember that history when Israel is rapidly becoming India’s best buddy, selling us arms to save and protect us. (Just for fun, take a look at this video made by Rafael, an Israeli government owned arms business, in which India is a woman, Israel a man, promising to “defend” her, “shield and support” her, all to a cheesy Bollywood type song and dance).
      Just a couple of quick responses to your specific objections:
      a) Of course, Zionism is part of the larger history of nation-building in the world, and like other such projects, it has its own violent, oppressive dimension. The oppression of Jews by Nazi Germany too, was part of the larger history of nation-building. How does simply invoking “nation-building” legitimize any project?
      b) You say I tend towards being (or am?) anti-Semitic, because I suggest that “the Jewish state is a uniquely Jewish undertaking, reflective solely of the religious beliefs of the Jews”, and forget “the claim to liberal secularism at the very heart of the Zionism project”. That claim and Israel’s claim to being the only democratic state in the Middle East (or what from our perspective we call West Asia) is precisely the normalizing of a brutal Occupation.
      It’s much like apartheid South Africa used to claim to be the only democracy in Africa because it had a multi-party democracy. Of course, all the parties were white, and only the whites could vote.
      Palestinians who continue to live in the areas they call “48” are certainly not equal citizens of Israel, as an Israeli Government report conceded in 2000:

      The Arab citizens of Israel live in a reality in which they experience discrimination as Arabs. This inequality has been documented in a large number of professional surveys and studies, has been confirmed in court judgments and government resolutions, and has also found expression in reports by the state comptroller and in other official documents. Although the Jewish majority’s awareness of this discrimination is often quite low, it plays a central role in the sensibilities and attitudes of Arab citizens. This discrimination is widely accepted, both within the Arab sector and outside it, and by official assessments, as a chief cause of agitation...”

      In January 2012, the Supreme Court of Israel upheld a law banning Palestinians who marry Israelis from gaining Israeli citizenship.

      And of course, you are probably well aware that the founders of Israel proclaimed “…the renewal of the Jewish State in the Land of Israel, which would open wide the gates of the homeland to every Jew…”.

      In other words, Jordan, every Jew is not a Zionist, but every Zionist is a Jew, so I cannot but use the term “Jew” or “Jewish” when discussing Zionism. I am aware that there are dissenting Israeli (Jewish) voices, including Mordechai Vanunu and Ilan Pappe, and a wide range of ordinary Israelis who want the Occupation to end, and one of the posts to follow will map these voices. But interestingly, it is the US-based Zionists who are most vociferous in conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, much like our Hindu Right, whose loudest proponents live comfortably far away, in the US and Europe. [Knowing nothing about you, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that you too are an American citizen :)]
      c) You say I “treat Palestine as if it were a consolidated national identity pre-Zionism”. My use of the term Palestinians to refer to the people living in the territory taken over by Israel is deliberate. But now that you raise the issue, yes, of course, they were not “Palestinians” before facing repression and dispossession from Israel, just as “India” was produced by resistance to British imperialism. (Ah, the British, how nice to be able to refer to that little island again as the true villain of every terrible scenario!). There have been several routes to becoming a nation, and anti-imperialist struggles are as valid a route as any other. (That land mass to the North of Mexico, for instance)
      d) You graciously concede that I am “right to point out Palestinian oppression, but it does little good to discuss them in these terms.” Thank you Jordan. Perhaps the “good” that you and I have in mind are completely different?

      • Jordan Osserman permalink
        October 30, 2012 4:17 PM

        Professor Menon,

        I think you misunderstand my objections to your article, and have confused my demand for historical nuance and specificity with that of a reactionary Zionist American. I fully oppose the brutality of the Israeli regime as it exists today, and am not making the specious argument that all anti-Zionists are anti-Semitic; nor do I think the history of nation-building “legitimizes” the Zionist project; nor do I think the relative newness of the Palestinian identity “delegitimizes” their own movement. Though I recognize that there is a large and dangerous political force making these sorts of arguments, your quickness to assume that I endorse them myself is, in my opinion, endemic to the sort of myopic black-and-white propagandizing of the issue that this article exemplifies.

        Let me focus on my main objection, with is the persistent claim that the right to the “Jewish homeland” is based solely on the Hebrew Bible. The real justification gained currency following a complicated series of events, debates, and controversies during the early Zionist movement, never with the unanimous support of the Jewish participants. Now that the State has been established, there is plenty of ex post facto mythologizing about the origin of the ‘birthright’ within Israel itself (not so different from the ways that India consolidates a national identity through ahistoricism). The importance here is that you have taken the Biblical myth at face value, rather than examining the actual history that led to the decision to choose Palestine. This is anti-Semitic because it relies on the notion that Jews blindly follow their irrational holy text, rather than admitting the complex realities in which thinking political actors — not bloodthirsty religious zealots — were involved.

        The point I was trying to make about secularism was not secularism=democracy=good. I’m saying that the Zionist project is only the most modern manifestation of the liberal secular nation-building project. We cannot disconnect Israel’s systematic wiping out of the indigenous population with that of any other, older secular democratic nation state (like the United States). My problem with your article is that you frame Israel as the Jewish exception, rather part and parcel of a project which is fundamentally secular in nature and implicates most of the secular world. By framing Israel as the exception (when in reality, it is only the most recent), you undermine the interconnectedness and historical continuity of such injustice and single out the Jews as madmen (or “Zionazis”, to use your co-writers horrendous portmanteaux).

  4. patnaikt permalink
    October 30, 2012 11:50 AM

    Entire case is of Might is Right. They all say that Jews belonged to Israel 2000 years back so they have the right to come back. What about America then? Why do not the Europeans return it to the native Indians (it was only 400 years back that Europeans took over their land)?

  5. Nivedita Menon permalink*
    October 31, 2012 9:43 AM

    Jordan, what is interesting is that you say precisely every single thing you claim not to, even in this response. Let me take just one instance, because you can keep up with this kind of subterfuge forever, I suspect. You refer to “the relative newness of the Palestinian identity” – relative newness as opposed to what? The 3000 year old history of “Israel”? What happens to all your demands for “historical nuance and specificity” when it comes to Israeli identity? It is only if you implicitly conflate “Israel” with “Jews” that the Palestinian identity can be seem “relatively new”. It seems to me that if you claim Israel and/or Zionism to be part of a historical moment of secular nation-building, then you have to concede that the Israeli identity, like all national identities, is as new as any other, all arising in that same historical moment. Your repeated references to all the “complicated series of events, debates, and controversies during the early Zionist movement”, beg the question – at the end of it all, Why Palestine? Whatever the complicatedness and nuances of the debate at the Zionist end (and of course, all nuance is exclusively at the Zionist end, all other arguments are “black and white propagandizing”) why is it in the end Palestine which is the the place into which Jews from all over the world continue to pour in? What is the justification, Jordan, for displacing the original inhabitants of the land, so that Jews can establish their homeland there? If not the Hebrew Bible, what else? You don’t offer any other answer – indeed, you have none to offer.
    When the settlers in North America and elsewhere exterminated the natives on the land, they did not have to justify it in terms of any modern language of democracy. They Just did It. By the mid-20th century Zionism has to use democratic language, though it’s pretty threadbare to most of the world, and the supposedly secular constitution of Israel is key to this.
    You say “By framing Israel as the exception (when in reality, it is only the most recent)” example of nation-building, I “single out the Jews as madmen”, and you cite the term Zionazi as an example. What better evidence could you yourself give for relentlessly conflating Anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism? I say “Zionist”, you translate “Jew” I say “Israel” you translate – “Jew”. You could not have exposed yourself more.
    Just as an aside, Israel is not an exception in the history of nation-states. All nation-state projects are violent, but I don’t feel the need to say this each time I mention Israel. If you would care to look at other posts critical of the Indian state on this blog, I think you would see that we wear the label Anti-National with pride.
    But there is one way in which Israel (and not “Jews”) is an exception – like America, apartheid South Africa and other projects of settler colonialism. These settler colonial nationalist movements did not arise from the land on which they were based, but were imposed by armed settlers on to already inhabited lands, from which the original inhabitants were dispossessed and exterminated.

    • October 31, 2012 10:34 PM

      While I found this article very interesting, particularly to read about the destruction of homes and settler colonies in occupied Palestine, I do support the claim that it provides an ahistorical and uncritical view of the creation of Israel, without once mentioning other factors such as the role of colonial Britain or the social or political climate in the post-WW II world, which made its creation possible and continues to legitimate it. It goes straight from presenting Zionist discourse based on the Old Testament (treating Zionism itself as a static, monolith ideology as a previous commentator points out) to the creation of Jewish homeland, and mentions no other factors to complement the chain of events.
      If this was aimed as a 101 lesson for an uninformed Indian audience, it is certainly odd to have omitted a number of relevant details on how the Zionists won ‘their right’ to the Jewish homeland, and more importantly, how Zionism distinguishes itself from Judaism. The author’s statement on why Palestine was chosen as the Jewish homeland (and not Germany, Italy or Poland), begins with the lines “Because the Jewish religious belief is…”. Though, these lines are later qualified with statements such “anti-Zionist is not to be anti-Jewish, any more than to be anti-Hindutva is to be anti-Hindu or to be anti-Taliban is to be anti-Muslim.”- why is no clear line is drawn, and why are references to Zionism presented solely in conjunction with the beliefs of Judaism or the Old Testament? This is may be seen as either as an uninformed over-simplification or anti-Semitism, depending ones interpretation. Of course, Israel claims to represent both Judaism and Jewish people and it is the result of Zionist ideology, but uncritically conflating these categories is problematic.
      And in reference to: “When the settlers in North America and elsewhere exterminated the natives on the land, they did not have to justify it in terms of any modern language of democracy. They Just did It.” . Not entirely true since indigenous Americans were often dispossessed of their lands based on civilizing discourses drawn from the New Testament, which seems similar to the explanation given here for the creation of Israel. But would one explain the history of colonialisation of the America solely based on discourses drawn from the New Testament which Spanish or Portuguese colonizers presented? No. So why then does this 101 History lesson on the creation of Israel contain only references to Judaism and “Jewish beliefs”?

      • Nivedita Menon permalink*
        November 1, 2012 9:56 AM

        SJ – I have begun to recognize this style very well. The post is on Israeli Apartheid. Both you and Jordan dismiss in a few words each, the substance of the post. Jordan says “You are right to point out Palestinian oppression”. You find it “interesting” to read about “the destruction of homes and settler colonies in occupied Palestine”. One half-sentence each on that, and you’re done with Palestine. The rest of your long, verbose comments are all about my supposed conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-semitism, a claim you are utterly unable to sustain. But clearly the intention is to prevent any understanding of, or discussion about the present brutal occupation of Palestine by Israel, and to keep repeating that fail-safe red-herring of a mantra – “why does everyone hate the Jews”.
        I will take just one instance from your comment: “indigenous Americans were often dispossessed of their lands based on civilizing discourses drawn from the New Testament.” And you think this is the same as Israel claiming a territory in West Asia as their homeland promised to them by God? For people claiming such great historical nuance and subtlety, you don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between a) the general “civilizing mission” argument of colonialism, b) settler colonialism, and c) the sub-set of settler colonialism that Israel is.
        SJ, you ask sternly, “why does this 101 History lesson on the creation of Israel contain only references to Judaism and “Jewish beliefs”?
        This is why – here is what Zionists themselves have to say about their ideology:

        A definition of Zionism – The national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. Has come to include the development of the State of Israel and the protection of the Jewish nation in Israel.
        Zionism advocated, from inception, tangible as well as spiritual aims. Jews of all persuasions – left and right, religious and secular – joined to form the Zionist movement and worked together toward these goals. Disagreements led to rifts, but ultimately, the common goal of a Jewish state in its ancient homeland was attained.

        And this:

        In 1890, Birnbaum coined the terms “Zionist” and “Zionism,” and, in 1892, “Political Zionism.” In 1893, he published a brochure entitled Die Nationale Wiedergeburt des Juedischen Volkes in seinem Lande als Mittel zur Loesung der Judenfrage (“The National Rebirth of the Jewish People in its Homeland as a Means of Solving the Jewish Question”).

        I defy you to find me a definition of Zionism that is divorced from Judaism. It is another matter that inside Zionist debates there have been many defeated tendencies which tried to divorce Zionism from the idea of a homeland in a specific geographically demarcated space in West Asia. But these tendencies precisely, were defeated. I will return to this in a later post.

        But just for the purposes of closing this puerile “debate”, let me ask – what if indeed, Israel and Zionism have nothing at all to do with Judaism? Let’s go with that for a moment. (And do get back to me on what Israelis and Zionists have to say about that!) But really, what if that is the case? Can we please please go on to talk about the present and continuing apartheid policies of the Israeli state? Or are we meant to debate this clever question for sufficiently long enough until there are no more Palestinians left to complicate the issue with their stubborn sumoud?

  6. j.pradyumna permalink
    October 31, 2012 10:54 PM

    I visited Palestine (The Gaza Strip) in 2011…and the experience was completely overwhelming!…The people there dont care about the political consequences…but rather are more concerned about their stories reaching outside…they want the world to hear their story…which is of another holocaust…unless the world realizes Israel is responsible for the same atrocities Hitler commited on the Jews…the world will treat this conflict as Israel defending its on “territory”!..Palestinians have paid with their lives and land for so many years!..To bring about the tangible change, it is neccessary to talk about and explore the wider definition of Holocaust!, as it has become the monopolisation of the suffering of a certain community…which is wrong because i would put holocaust as the systematic elimination of a race/ethnicity/caste by a state authority…

    precisely what Israel has carried out for the past 64 years through legislative and military terrorism!

  7. jack arnold permalink
    November 2, 2012 12:50 PM

    The only solution is a secular state, hopefully unified with jews and arab muslims cohabiting. Surprising how no one comments on the fact that its the religions on both sides and their ridiculous tenets and claims that cause this mess in the first place.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      November 3, 2012 8:31 AM

      The “solution” can be debated, and there is indeed a rich debate on this among political activists and scholars of the region. But it certainly is not about ” religions on both sides”. There were Arabs living on the land called Palestine for centuries, and Palestinians today include both Christians and Muslims. Nobody settled on that land in the name of Islam, and even today, despite the recent emergence of Hamas, Islam is not the predominant identity under which Israeli Occupation is being fought. This “both sides” kind of argument is completely wrong. It’s like saying the Nazi Holocaust was about the claims of religions on both sides

  8. suresh permalink
    November 2, 2012 2:58 PM

    The only solution is a secular state, hopefully unified with jews and arab muslims cohabiting.

    For that, you need trust. But if you had trust between the two sides, we wouldn’t be having this problem in the first place. Forcing a unified state in the absence of trust between communities is a recipe for disaster as the histories of many African countries (like Congo) show.

    Personally, I side with A. B. Yehoshoua, the Israeli novelist who said the two sides must learn to live side-by-side separately but in peace. Only when that is accomplished can there be any talk of a unified state. By that time, it may not even be needed.

    To put it very mildly, the current situation is bad for the Palestinians. Their plight has been documented quite extensively and no one who reads it can remain unmoved. However, I think the current state of affairs is also bad for Israel. Anyone who has encountered the prickly nature of Israeli society — something Israelis themselves are quite aware of — cannot but be aware of the effects of living perpetually in a state close to war.

    I know some in Israel dream that the Palestinians will leave the area and go to Jordan or Egypt or anywhere else but that is not going to happen no matter how many demolitions are carried out. It is in Israel’s best interests to settle this issue as soon as possible because if there is anything that the Palestinians have, it is time. They don’t have the military might to force a military showdown but they do have time. They can wait.

    But settle how, that is the difficult part.

  9. Kaveri Gill permalink
    November 12, 2012 1:27 PM

    Nivedita, congratulations on a hard-hitting piece and series, necessary at a time where in many circles, one is told not to use the word Palestine, rather refer only to West Bank and Gaza! The Israeli Courts and establishment mindset is illustrated well by a shocking ruling not too long ago, that Rachel Corrie was responsible for her own death. What you bring out arrestingly through your writing and photos / maps is the terrible everyday reality of being a Palestinian living in your own country, the injustice, the daily humiliation, beyond the material deprivation (though the housing demolition and water allocation stories, not to mention the mobility ones, put so starkly, are horrendous). I’m reminded of a discussion with some Palestinian kids at the Univ of Cambridge, who’d come on a one-year scholarship and were seriously depressed at the thought of going home, because their educational institution buildings, computers etc. were routinely – knowingly – bull-dozed and they literally saw no prospects for their future, no jobs, no joy. So there are long-lasting psychological implications, inter-generational and constantly reinforced, which you bring out really well in your pieces. Good job!

  10. Anachary permalink
    December 5, 2012 7:44 AM

    the second article is leading to a dead end..page not found. can we fix that…i hope its not a covert censoring technique of some sort.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      December 5, 2012 9:45 AM

      Anachary, appears to have been a glitch of some sort. I have corrected the link now. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Trackbacks

  1. Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Resistance II – Living the Occupation « Kafila
  2. “We may weep but we will stay”: Women resist evictions in Palestine: Kalyani Menon Sen « Kafila
  3. Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian Resistance III – Imagining Post-Zionist Futures « Kafila
  4. The Children of Gaza: Samouni Street | Chai Kadai
  5. Sex, Lies and God’s Promise: Response to a Diatribe « Kafila

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