14 December 2014
I was physically and emotionally exhausted by my trip to Israel and Palestine from 17-29 November My time in Israel included the Synagogue killing on 18 November which really shook me up because of its brutality which made me feel physically ill. I also felt scared being there because its random nature made me feel unsafe. When I spoke with my sister in law about my fear she told me that Israeli’s live with fear all the time which gave me insight into her situation. From what she said I realised the risks of such incidents were unpredictable and are very much part of the Israeli experience. I thought the counterpart for Palestinians is through occupation, with their experience at Israeli checkpoints where they cannot predict how they’ll be treated. I remembered Uri Avneri describing Israeli fears of being defeated and ‘pushed into the sea’ with Palestinians fear of being expelled and ‘pushed into the desert.’
Politics in Israel seem a real mess, with initial reactions to the Synagogue killing being really bellicose. This was with Mr Netanyahu trying to rival assertions by Naphtali Bennett, the Minister of the Economy, and the leader of the right-wing, religious, political party the Jewish Home as well as the extra-parliamentary movement My Israel by threatening retaliation against the families of the killers. Mr Bennett asserted that that Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority had been directly involved in the incident. At the same time the Israeli parliament was debating an Israel Nation State Bill which restates the assertion that Israel is a Jewish State, however weakening the first legislation after the State was established, no longer having the same commitment to minority rights. If the Bill is passed Arabic will not have the same status as Hebrew, rights for Muslims, Christians and other minorities will also be restricted. What concerned me about the legislation was that all the main Israeli parties in parliament supported the Bill. What I think unites Nazism and Zionism is their racist policies against Jews and Palestinians. The difference is in the global responses to Israeli policies because of the holocaust which haven’t generally been critical because of fears about being called Anti-Semitic. Pro-Israeli publicity has created a mind-set that being anti-Zionist is also Anti-Semitic which has allowed Israel to dominate the world media coverage of Israeli-Palestinian issues.
From the time I was in Palestine earlier this year to the present I think the situation there has deteriorated because of the collapse of peace talks in April when Israel withdrew from the process after Fatah and Hamas resumed their alliance. Before I left there in March 2014 my Palestinian colleagues were frightened of a Third Intifada which would provide Israel with a reason to attack the West bank. From my most recent visit I think their fears were justified.
Mr Natanyahu’s collapse of the government and dissolution of parliament has left Israel without leadership at what I think is a very dangerous time isn’t in anyone’s interests. Before I travelled to Israel and Palestine I was aware of increased tension in Jerusalem because of continued encroachment of settlers into Palestinian areas and further house building plans by Israel. Israel has also started moving Bedouins from Hill 101east of Jerusalem which once it’s cleared will sever the last direct link the city has with the West bank which will prevent any 2 State solution with a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.
My sense is that the Zionist aims which started with plans to establish a Jewish state had their first success in May 1948 when Israel became a State. My view is that the Zionist ideal based on the larger biblical country ‘Eretz Yisrael’ has remained an Israeli aim, demonstrated by the illegal annexation of Jerusalem and continued West Bank occupation after the six day war in 1967. I think the political leadership no longer supports a Two State Solution, and there is a secret plan for a One State Solution like Plan Dalet which led to the creation of Israel, again without Palestinian agreement.
My view is that Israel is considering 2 options, Plan Aleph (Hebrew word for A) for an expanded Israel with a boundary enclosed by the separation wall which includes the settlement blocs or Plan Bet (B), a reoccupation of the West bank shifting Israel’s eastern border to Jordan. Advantages from both options are that ‘Greater Israel’ includes the settlement blocs and some of ‘Eretz Yisrael.’ It’s hard to imagine such an expansion not including further Palestinian expulsions from the West bank, possibly including similar expulsions from Israel. This conclusion has shocked me because it ‘evolved’ spontaneously as I wrote it. I think that Israel is more likely to act unilaterally and choose Plan Aleph.
While I feel tempted to continue writing I’m going to stop now and ask for responses from anyone reading the Blog, like I’ve done before, I’d really like to know your views. Feel free to send it to anyone you think will be interested.