Publish and be dammed! A frightening conclusion from my most recent visit and to provide your views

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14 December 2014

Hi There,

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.

Regards,

Steve.

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16 thoughts on “Publish and be dammed! A frightening conclusion from my most recent visit and to provide your views

  1. Michael Brull

    The whole Middle East situation very frighteng and the only winners will be the sellers of Toyotas and heavy machine guns to mount on them.

    When one reads history it shows religous leaders made use of Kings for their own ends and vice versa.

    Overpopulation is the main problem. Dropping a few Atomic Bombs might sove that problem but hopefully someone willcome up with a better solution.

    • Dear Michael,
      I’m pleased that you felt able to respond to what I wrote. The views you expressed show we both fear for the future of the Middle East, with poor leadership and dangerous weapons which could destroy the world, I’m not sure that overpopulation is the problem.
      Regards,
      Steve.

  2. It is eminently clear from prominent Israeli Politicians’ statements, and opinion polls re the forthcoming election that everything is moving in the direction you identify, Steve. There is an Israeli coin which bears a map of Eretz Israel. That was always the plan, meticulously organised. What is happening is the continuation of the 1947 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Same tactics- everything, only slower until recently, and with ever more sophisticated weapons.

  3. Gwyneth Boswell

    I have read and appreciated all your blogs Steve. It’s sad but not surprising that your most recent trip has left you so shaken. Just from reading the press and listening to Netanyahu’s speeches, one feels the situation is hopeless. John Kerry, I’m sure, did his level best earlier this year but had to give up. Obama has said some of the right things but what will he actually DO before his Presidency ends – continue supporting and arming Israel, the budding Jewish State? It was, of course, awful about the Synagogue and awful that the Israelis, too are frightened. But they are not being brutally occupied, with Plans A or B in the offing. Their fear, together with the damage their stance does to themselves, will not lessen until compassion finds its way into their politics and their hearts. I could go on but it would only be to reiterate more things that those likely to read this already know. I congratulate you on continuing to face and grapple with these profoundly distressing and depressing issues.

    • Dear Gwyneth,

      Thank you once again for your considered and eloquent response to the blog. As you suggest the situation is bleak, with a continued interplay from mutual fear between Palestinians and Israelis and different accounts of how Israel became a State. This doesn’t bode well for the peace process, my concern is that Israel is about to impose it’s Two State solution, with the separation wall and settlement blocs included in ‘Eretz Yisrael.

      Regards,

      Steve.

    • Dear Eli,
      Its uncomfortable for me to criticise Israel like I have, however my actions come from a long tradition of Jewish dissenters. I think it would be worse for people like me to remain silent while Israel may be thinking about putting into effect a Two State solution based on borders established by the separation wall and settlement blocs. I’m not ashamed of what I write, I do think that Zionism and Nazism are similar ideologies.
      Regards,
      Steve.

  4. mlpage

    Hi Steve

    That is a brave posting! Interesting t see what comes back. I think youVe got caught the powerful emotion felt by both sides and from this place access a different knowledge, underneath and beyond the rational, of powerful forces that need t be addressed in order for any negotiations to stick, and for each side to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ their impact on other. There are groups working in this way, in peace negotiations, but it takes huge commitment to stay with the process and leadership of a different kind…

    Easy t say, so hard to do.

    Xx M Margaret Page Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Dear Margaret,
      I was frightened by my conclusions from what I wrote, with a sense of how powerful Israel is. I agree with what you write about a different leadership being needed for peace negotiations to stick.
      XX Steve.

    • Dear John,
      Yes, it’s a bleak scenario and I fear it’s going to get worse before better between the 2 sides. My main concern is that Israel will impose it’s Two State plan soon.
      Regards,
      Steve.

  5. Alan Arnstein

    The Zionist ideology that created and sustains Israel, and the ongoing land grab by settlers has for a long time reminded me of the South Africa I grew up in. Behind the Afrikaans nationalist slogan “separate but equal” was a vicious racist state – in fact during the 40s, a former SA prime minister was an unashamed Nazi supporter. If Israel stops paying even lip service to the protection of minorities, and openly becomes a Jewish nation, it cannot avoid the comparison with Nazi Germany. A tribal/racist ideology such as apartheid or Zionism already has within its genes the potential for acts of genocide, and Israel is poised near the top of that particular slope. So well done Steve for uttering the N-word. Zionists need to begin hearing it from Jews.

    • Dear Alan,

      Your response reassured me that I’m not the only Jew who thinks that Zionism and Nazism are similar ideologies! As I already wrote my dilemma is what response to make to an imminent unilateral action by Israel to appropriate land it currently holds.

      Regards,

      Steve.

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