Friday, November 28, 2008

Hard Rains

This is Silwan, an East Jerusalem Arab neighborhood, directly facing the Dung Gate--the Southern access point to the Western Wall and the City of David excavations.  In any conceivable deal with the Palestinian Authority, this neighborhood would be part of the Palestinian capital, not Israel. Yet according to reliable sources, over half the land in this neighborhood, has already been purchased for Jewish settlement, or for expanding the City of David by the East Jerusalem Development Authority (read, Jewish tourism), or by Elad, a non-profit holding company committed to the Judaization of East Jerusalem. (The make-shift signs say: "For 300 settlers, they are destroying the lives of 50,000 residents," and "Some people have hearts of stone.") 

By reliable sources, I mean Hagit Ofran (pictured below), a leader of Peace Now's Settlement Watch project, who rallied a rag-tag group of perhaps a dozen people yesterday to stand vigil in Silwan, after it was discovered that the municipality had plans to begin new road paving, parking lots and "archaeological excavations" here--the city's well-worn pretext for new expropriations of local property. Hagit is (not coincidentally, I suppose) a grand-daughter of Yeshayahu Leibovitz, the crusty philosopher of science and of Halakha, who fought the occupation and the merging of religion and state until his death in 1994. She knows more about the sleight-of-hand cooperation between the municipality and the settlers organizations than just about anyone. She fears that Silwan's fate may be sealed. 

What, after all, can vigils of a couple of hours do against the determined activities of local goverment, non-profits fattened by ingenuous Western Jewish millionaires, and fanatic settlers prepared to live in the neighborhoods they are prepared to ruin? The settlers even provide their own security patrols; one of their SUVs brazenly set out as we stood there, knowing very well they simply had to wait us out.  (You can read an article Hagit co-authored about another lost cause, the Migron settlement, in today's Haaretz.)

The Silwan neighborhood's 200 heads of families elected a committee to fight the encroachment. I asked Jawad Siyam, one of the committee spokesmen, if he could see the point of expropriating property to expand the city's tourism. He said that if the municipality had talked to the house-holders about a plan, or had ever provided day-care, or new schools, or new sewage, or any other kind of municipal services, at least there might have been a conversation. 

But the city has only moved in with plans of its own.  Most recently, it made the street leading to the Dung Gate one-way uphill, so that neighborhood school buses can no longer drop off during the afternoon the children they pick up in the morning without adding a huge loop. "The children will walk.  For some, a ten-minute walk will become more like an hour.  It's not too bad now," Jawad said, "the weather is good. But what about the winter and the hard rains?"

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

do you not uderstand that this is a continuation of a state of war...do you not understand that words like legitimacy etc have no meaning... have you lost your perception of reality...your intellectual clap trap belongs in a toilet...even if it made sense which unfortunately it does not ( it is 3rd rate scholarship at best)it does not belong here now..it is misplaced for now. You want a Hebrew Republic...go to New York City...try Bensonhurst

Sagredo said...

Hello! You might be interested in this piece in the CSM:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1126/p09s01-coop.html

Rosecrance and Eiran are proposing that both Israel and Palestine join Europe. They allude to (but don't really explore) the problem, though: Europe isn't Europe without open borders (even without Schengen), and Israel doesn't want a lot of Palestinians coming in.

Y. Ben-David said...

Dr Avishai, it is truly shocking that Jews would buy land and would want move back into an area from which they were expelled by Arab violence which happens to sit on the site of the capital of the Israelite Kingdom in the First Temple Period. Call a cop.

Y. Ben-David said...

Dr Avishai says:
---------------------------------
What, after all, can vigils of a couple of hours do against the determined activities of local goverment, non-profits fattened by ingenuous Western Jewish millionaires, and fanatic settlers prepared to live in the neighborhoods they are prepared to ruin?
---------------------------------
Note how Jews moving into a neighborhood is called "ruining it" Would Arabs moving into your neighborhood in Jerusalem "ruin it" as well? Do blacks "ruin a neighborhood" in the US when they move into it?

This column is a good example of your "Hebrew Republic" thesis. For you, Israel must be de-Judaized. One way to do that is to make it impossible for the Jews to visit Jewish holy places. Just as the renewed contact with these placed after the Six-Day War energized the religious community in Israel, your "peace plans" are designed to make it impossible for Jews to visit these places, including the Western Wall.....after all, even the places in close proximity to it must be turned over to the Arabs according to your political agenda. Your agenda isn't "peace", you simply use the "peace-process" in order to delegitimize traditional Jewish love for Eretz Israel (e.g. anyone how has this affection is a "fanatic settler", is involved in the crime of "Judaization of east Jerusalem", etc. You yourself stated in an earlier column that redivision of the city wouldn't end terrorism. You figure that once the Jews are ejected from their holy places due to the ongoing harassment that would inevitably follow the division, the "primitive" religious community will shrivel up and your dream of a soul-less secular, materialist, consumerist, alien, modern-Crusaderist, ultimately unviable "Hebrew State" will come to fruition . You are mistaken if you think the Jews will agree to destroy Jerusalem as you wish. You can crawl to Obama and beg him, as you have advocate to threaten Israel with punitive sanctions unless the government of Israel turns against what you call the "Judeans" (those who love Eretz Israel and Jerusalem). Sure, some people in your "progressive circles" might welcome that, but I believe even many on the Left in Israel would oppose this, not to mention the many non-Jewish friends of Israel in the United State, who realize that the Christians would be the first victims in the newly destroyed Jerusalem you dream of.

William Burns said...

Hey, Y. Ben-David, how would you feel about Arabs moving back to areas from which they were driven by Jewish violence?

Y. Ben-David said...

Mr Burns,
It was the Arabs who rejected the 1947 UN Partition Plan who attacked the Jews and swore to wipe them out (See Benny Morris' book "1948"). They failed in their war of agression and paid the price. No one is dispossessing the Arabs in the City of David..they are paid full value for their houses if they sell.
The City of David is one of the most important archaelogical sites in the world and one of the "densist", i.e. with many historical layers in a relatively small area, so there isn't a lot of room to move around.

William Burns said...

Y. Ben-David,

Zionism is hilarious. Jews revolt against Romans 2000 years ago, their remote descendants have the right of return. Arabs are driven out of their homes 60 years ago, screw 'em for even asking to return. I'm glad the settlers paid full price for their new houses (if they did)--its not always their habit--but they have shown themselves to be not very good neighbors.

Y. Ben-David said...

Mr Burns, is Dr Avishai a Zionist?

Shoded Yam said...

"Note how Jews moving into a neighborhood is called "ruining it"

This depends on your point of view. As long as the Law of Return remains unamended, "NIMBY" is, was, and will continue to be the operative protocol of Israeli society as regards to the haredi and National Religous demographic.

Is this "phenomena" exclusive to Israel? I'm afraid not. Heres an article from the NYT re. the community of Lawrence in Long Island NY, from 1992;

"...For decades the owners of the sprawling million-dollar homes here lived peacefully beside the proper and exclusive Lawrence Country Day School in a gingerbread turn-of-the-century brick mansion.

But now that the school and its nine acres of fields have been sold to make way for a yeshiva high school for Orthodox Jewish girls, many of the mostly Jewish residents of this tiny village are up in arms.

In a dispute that has sparked suggestions of Jewish anti-Semitism on one side, and fears of Orthodox block-busting on the other, residents of this village of 150 homes have been debating whether to take over the property, possibly for use as a park, rather than see it reopen as a school.

First they come here with a yeshiva, then they follow with a shul, and then the migration starts," said Wendy Jupiter, who lives down the street from the school and is Jewish. She said word of the sale has already put a chill on the local real-estate market. 'A Unique Opportunity'..."

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE4D71638F932A35754C0A964958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

and yet another from 2006;

THIS school district has been changing, house by house, as Orthodox Jewish families have flocked here over the last two decades, gradually at first and then in growing numbers.

While not yet a majority, the Orthodox have nonetheless emerged as the dominant force in a clash of cultures. And the front line in this battle is Lawrence's once highly regarded public school system.

"...In each of the last four years, Orthodox voters mobilized to defeat the school budget -- one of the longest losing streaks on Long Island. Then in July, they took charge of the school board, though few of the Orthodox send their children to public schools. Out of seven seats, the new majority consists of four Orthodox members and one ally.

''We have the control here,'' one Orthodox resident, David M. Hiller, said recently as he walked along Central Avenue, a retail hub featuring shops like SuperSol (''the ultimate Kosher supermarket'') and Jerusalem Pizza.

Others who live in the Lawrence school district, however, including many assimilated Jews, voice outrage that people who do not use the system are deciding its fate. They complain that the budget defeats have starved the schools and deprived its students. Since the law allows some increases after budget defeats, spending in Lawrence since the last approved budget in 2002-3 has risen an average of about 3 percent a year. The current total is $92 million.

''We feel invaded,'' said an Atlantic Beach delicatessen customer, a self-described non-Orthodox Jew and activist parent who declined to give her name. ''We don't mind them being here, but taking over and shutting down the school system is not the right thing.'' (Atlantic Beach is part of the Lawrence school district.)"

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9903EFDC1231F934A2575AC0A9609C8B63

With all the discord that has been reported lately in the press, between Israelis and American Jews, apparently they do have one or two things in common.

"...Would Arabs moving into your neighborhood in Jerusalem "ruin it" as well? Do blacks "ruin a neighborhood" in the US when they move into it?"

The thing about most blacks and arabs is that they won't bite their noses to spite their faces by shitting where they sleep. They will not defund public services that they too utilize. Hence they pose no threat to the natural order.

Though Mr. Ben David, along with the rest of the shtetl would like to characterize this as discrimination and bigotry against Jews, it is in fact, nothing of the sort. While we can argue semantics till the cows come home, I see this as an act of self preservation against the Ultra-Orthodox, what my wife the biologist would call "an invasive species". Considering what has transpired in the Township of Lawrence between the years of 1992 and 2006, I would say fears of "Jews ruining the neighborhood" while a misnomer, were well founded.

As to the the rest of that melo-dramatic screed you posted. A study in Freudian Projection? Absolutley. Coherent thought? Not quite. To wit;

"..For you, Israel must be de-Judaized. One way to do that is to make it impossible for the Jews to visit Jewish holy places."

As intended, this is a deliberate misrepresentation. How do you construe international supervison over the holy sites to mean inaccesibilty to Jews? Well sparky, thats not what you mean, is it? Unfortunately, the truth is far more mediocre, pedestrian and common. The settlers and the ultra-orthpdox, not having exclusive rights over the holy places, doesn't make them inaccesible to Jews. It means that YOU don't get to control that accesibilty which in turn equals an erosion of political and spiritual clout, which in Isarel, is the same thing. Again the fact that you find it necessary to conflate your interests with those of the majority, is as usual, self-serving, disingenous clap-trap.

Y. Ben-David said...

The Pirate "Shoded Yam" said:
---------------------------------
I see this as an act of self preservation against the Ultra-Orthodox, what my wife the biologist would call "an invasive species".
---------------------------------
You don't like Haredim, Arabs don't like Jews (including you) and Jews don't like Arabs. Everyone has his own "narrative". So what are you complaining about if Jews are moving into the City of David. You and the Arabs are repulsed by them, that is your narrative, the Jews moving there view it as a holy site and don't trust "neutral" international forces to guarantee Jewish access, just as the "neutral" British forces could not protect the Jewish community in the pre-state period. Everyone and his narrative. Thank you for giving legitimacy to my viewpoint. (Don't tell me, you consider yourself an anti-racist "progressive", right?).

Shoded Yam said...

"...Don't tell me, you consider yourself an anti-racist "progressive", right?"

All these phrases; "racist", progressive" are much too general and needelesly complicated. I simply don't like the Ultra-Orthodox, Religous Right-Wingers of any stripe or creed, or anyone else who wants to play this zero-sum game where things only have value as long as their coming at the expense of somebody else. I see you've decided to go to Plan B, where you play the victim card as soon as your back is to the wall.

Shoded Yam said...

"...Arabs don't like Jews (including you)"

Arabs don't like me? They have better taste than I thought.

You keep talking about; "Jews this" and "Jews that". But this isn't about Jews. This is about you and your friends, your attendant holocaust revenge psychosis, your penchant for justifying your violence, racism, child rape, misogyny, etc by means of spurious halachic interpretations. Deliberately implicating the entire Jewish community in your crimes(though you are obviously well aware of the antipathy that is directed at you by the majority of Isarelis and Jews)in order to conflate your interests with those of the entire community in the eyes of world opinion. It's about desperate attempts to control the narrative and limit the options available to Israel and the American Jewish community.

"..just as the "neutral" British forces could not protect the Jewish community in the pre-state period"

Nobody is talking about "protection". We're talking accessability. It wasn't that the British "couldn't" protect you. They simply wouldn't protect you. When you decided to pull this crap in Hebron the first time around, in '29, the Mandate was well aware of the hostile multitudes that surrounded you, and would be dammed if they were gonna spill any of their blood, because some messianic yids were so dazed with "religous fervor" that they couldn't read the writing on the wall. So of course, you were butchered. But apparently you didn't need to be told twice, because the second time around, you did it right. You simply had the IDF put the entire arab population under permanent lock down so 450 parasitical talmud thumpers could masturbate without being disturbed. Good thinking. In any case, the kind of protection that you're referring to, is not germaine to the discussion. In any scenario where UN or NATO forces would be called into administer the holy places, the settlers and the rest of the Hitler Youth would no longer be present. So as you can see, the question of your "protection" is no longer relevant.

Anonymous said...

We are all guilty by even going to this blog of quislings and kapos.
We are in a state of war and these enemies of Israel spout off there nonsense. If this is democrazy then please give me something else.
And who will be rescuing them...you got it...you failed academics you miscreants

Shoded Yam said...

"...We are all guilty by even going to this blog of quislings and kapos."

Holocaust references? Delightful. Another symptom of your Holocaust revenge fantasy. This is a classic case of closing the barn door after the cow has already gotten loose. Sorry. Your kind had your chance, and YOU BLEW IT, JERK-OFF.

I'm afraid your credibility is shot, frumit. When your grandfathers had the oppurtunity to take responsibility for their own condition and that of their families, they hid in their hovels and waited for the Germans to herd them into a ghetto, and then into a death camp.

When your fathers and mothers in America, had the oppurtunity to regain some semblance of honor and self-respect by marching on Washington(as 500,000 African Americans would later do to succor their civil rights)and demanding from that their gov't do what was necessary to save the last few remnants of europaen jewry, they sat around with their thumbs up their asses, afraid to shame themselves in front of the gentiles. Later, you were given another chance to reveal these so-called manly qualities during Israels 4 major wars for survival. All that was needed was the necessary intestinal fortitude to pick your sorry ass up and make aliyah, join zahal and defend the homeland built on the bones of 6 million people. Again you deferred, instaed preferring to spout tough guy rhetoric at the synagogue with the rest of the eunuchs, ala Meir Kahane, in an on-going attempt control the narrative(basically lie)and cover your ass and your cowardice. When Isarel had finally reached a semblance of physical and existential security, it was only then that you hopped on board the gravy train, punched your ticket, got a free house bought and paid for by the Isareli taxpayer, and then to continue the necessary fraud regarding your lack of testicles, you engaged in aconcerted effort to undermine the society and gov't of the very people who are and alawys have been the sort of people your not. Theres nothing for it now. Mistakes have been made, and they will have be corrected. This will end, but not before we have to drag you out of those settlements, deporting the troublemakers and shooting the fanatics. I say lets get to it.

Bernard Avishai said...

I'm all for a passionate exchange of ideas, but may I ask that we all try to keep things more or less civil?

Shoded Yam said...

My apologies. I've allowed my self too many liberties with my prose and blood pressure.Of course you're correct Bernie.

Dave

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