Tuesday, May 5, 2009

For Sale: Parcels Of The Jewish State

This little column by Hebrew University law professor, Daphna Golan, is not to be missed. While Prime Minister Netanyahu prattles on about Iranian nukes, or the need for Palestinian leaders to recognize Israel as a "Jewish state," the government continues to remake realities on the the ground, utterly confounding the question of what Jewish state is to be recognized. Golan writes:
Israel has long promised there would be no new construction in West Bank settlements...Yet this week, a Jerusalem daily promised that any Israeli factory willing to move to the settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim would benefit in three ways. First is the community's "Ideal location," ten minutes from Jerusalem. The map featured in the ad shows only Israeli communities as recommended sites for factory owners to build in - no Palestinian communities, even those next door to the settlements. The second advantage is accessibility. In case the Americans do not understand,...Israel has built roads for Israelis alone to use, so they can live and work in the occupied territories without having to come across Palestinians. Route 443 was paved for the sake of accessibility to Ma'aleh Adumim...Third, the advertisement promises the same tax deductions as in "National Priority Area A," adding: "Ma'aleh Adumim's industrial park has the largest land reserves in the Jerusalem area.

16 comments:

Y. Ben-David said...

For the record, Highway 443, which connects Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, WAS open to Arab traffic until the Arabs, under their leader, Arafat, decided to turn it into a shooting gallery, with several Israelis killed on that route. That was the Palestinian's decision and now they are facing the consequences of their terror war.

It says in the article that Dafna Golan is a professor at the Hebrew University. This university's Givat Ram campus is built on what was Arab land belonging to the Arab village Sheikh Badr. The university confiscated the land, unlike the land which upon which Ma'aleh Adumim was built on, which was barren, desert state-land. If she really wants to help the poor Palestinians I suggest she start a protest movement to restore Givat Ram to its original Arab owners. Of course, she might then have to find another job.

Stephanie said...

I read Golan's column in Haaretz
the day after having heard Shimon Peres, in an interview with Robert Siegal on All Things Considered, say with perfect equanimity (in response to a comment by Siegal about the settlement construction activity)that there was no building going on in the settlements. Just how stupid do the Israeli politicians think we American Jews are?

Shoded Yam said...

"...It says in the article that Dafna Golan is a professor at the Hebrew University. This university's Givat Ram campus is built on what was Arab land belonging to the Arab village Sheikh Badr. The university confiscated the land, unlike the land which upon which Ma'aleh Adumim was built on, which was barren, desert state-land. If she really wants to help the poor Palestinians I suggest she start a protest movement to restore Givat Ram to its original Arab owners. Of course, she might then have to find another job."

As usual, more disingenous clap-trap, strong on half-truths and platitudes designed to ellicit an emotional knee-jerk response from the idiots of Chelm.

Unfortunately for Mr. Ben David's premise, there are no events, no endeavours, in the history of man that occur sans context. The emptying of arab villages such as the former one at Givat Ram was no exception. Post war, their was nary a jew in Israel who had not lost a family member or friend in the gas chambers or ovens. This was true for the political elite as much it was for the rest of the country. The occasional pogrom, though painful and unjust in the extreme, could be borne. The systematic betrayal and industrialized murder of 6 million jews was another matter entirely. It seared the soul and conciousness of the Israeli leadership. They now looked at the rest of the world with a jaundiced eye and justifiable paranoia. In 1949 Israel had just concluded a brutal war with 5 or 6 Arab countries. It had lost 10% of its population (6,000 out of 600,000) in doing so. The hearts and minds of such men as Ben Gurion, Shertok, et al had been hardened and tempered in the murder factories of Treblinka and Sobibor and on the battlefields of the Galil and the Negev. Consequently their attitudes toward the local arabs reflected this. Whereas heretofore, there had been a benign acceptance of our genetic cousins, they were now seen (with some justification) as a potential 5th column bent on the destruction of the state and its jewish inhabitants. They would have to be dealt with, and they were. To this may be added the impetus of the forced eviction of half million jewish Iraqis, Morrocans, Algerians, Yeminite form their homes in those countries. Their absorption into the state had become necessary, and was seen as (and still is) a national imperative insofar as the physical and economic security of the state was concerned.

“...As Zionist historian Benny Morris wrote in defense of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948, “Even the great American democracy could not have been created without the annihilation of the Indians.“

To quote the late, great Leo DeRoche; “Nice guys finish last” Bastards build countries, not Mother Theresa. Humanity and fairness are lovely things. Unfortunately they are luxuries not to be afforded by those who perceive they are staring down the barrel of a gun.

That being said my remarks here are NOT an apolgia for Israels current dilemmas nor should the events decribed above be construed as a precedent for the theft of Palestinian property or for talmud-thumping settlers trying to actualize some theo-facist agenda in the territories, Mr. Ben David's exhortations notwithstanding. What happened in 1949 occurred within the context of an atmosphere permeated by the the stench of roasted flesh emanating from the smokestacks of concentration camps. Whats happening in 2009 is largely the result of arrogance and hubris.

Y. Macales said...

Shoded Yam-
I see you are making Ahmedinejad's point. You say the Holocaust justified Jews "coming and stealing Palestine from the Arabs" . He and others ask "why"?
What you and other "progressives" are doing is simply hypocrisy in the eyes of the Arabs. The Arabs do not recognize the Holocaust as giving justification for letting the Jews take part of Palestine. They say the Jews are not entitled to ANY part of Palestine.

Y. Ben-David said...

Emunah Elon in the Israeli newspaper "Yisrael HaYom" made the point of the hypocrisy of the Zionist "progressives":

A homeless person comes at gunpoint and evicts a family from its 5-room home, because he needs a place to live. "Progressives" in the homeless family later see, "we must give back the original owners 1 of the rooms out of a sense of morality-see how 'good' we are!". Many children of the Israeli elite, like the 2 sons of Olmert, Rabin's son, Barak's daughter and many other have left Israel for the US and Europe. So if things were tough in Europe, why didn't the Olmert's, Rabin's and Barak's just go straight to the US and stay there (Rabin's father actually went to Israel from the US) instead of using Palestine as a way station, involving expulsion of the local population simply in order to move on to some other place.
I don't think the Palestinian refugees who were expelled by "Marxist quoting" Palmach soldiers in 1948 think that is any better than the "Talmud-thumping" Jews in Judea/Samaria today. You can denounce today's settlers as being "primitive, religious and backwards", but you are no different then them as the Palestinians say it. Your "progressive" face is for other "progressives" in the West, not for them.

Shoded Yam said...

"..I see you are making Ahmedinejad's point. You say the Holocaust justified Jews "coming and stealing Palestine from the Arabs"

Thats not what I said. What that is, is a deliberate mischaracterization. So either you can't read or you're just an asshole.

What I said was that the wholesale murder of jews on an industrialized scale excaerbated by a brutal war for independence caused the Israeli leadership(again with some justification)to view SOME of the indigenous arabs as being 5th columnists and therfore an existenial threat to be treated accordingly. In light of the forced expulsion of jews from arab counries, this "eviction" turned out to be nothing more than a population transfer. As such, there were enough recent precedents(The transfer of muslims and hindus following the 1947 India-Pakistan War. Not to mention the "transfer" of Sudeten Germans out of Czecheslovakia after May 1945)for this action to be seen as legitimate. The conditions that existed in 1949 in Israel do not exist in 2009. Ipso-Facto, you're not defending the state or fufilling a national imperative. You're simply a thief stealing land.

"...The Arabs do not recognize the Holocaust as giving justification for letting the Jews take part of Palestine. They say the Jews are not entitled to ANY part of Palestine."

You're talking about terrorist groups and totalitarian regimes. These kinds of remarks and behaviour are to be expected from such people. Israel however is an actual country, a pluralistic democracy, governed by the rule of law, and until you re-animate the remains of Kahane and make him "The Leader" or failing that, install that nitwit Marzel, we are expected(rightly so)to behave accordingly. That means no stealing land, no pogroms, no theo-fascism.

Shoded Yam said...

As an addendum to my previous post,
Re.

"...The Arabs do not recognize the Holocaust as giving justification for letting the Jews take part of Palestine."

They're right not to.The Holocaust is NOT the justification for the creation of the state. What we call Israel, was a land stolen by pagans from jews, and then in turn stolen by muslims from pagans turned christians, re-stolen by christians and then finally and justly extorted from them by the remnants of european jewry as recompense for gentile beastiality. In return, the christian power structure received assurances that their wartime perfidy and collaboration in the economic looting and the murder of millions would not become public knowledge. This was the reason the State of Israel came into being, but it is not the reason for its conception. Thje Dreyfuss Affair was the catalyst for the modern conception of Israel. Unrelenting christian hostility, even toward a jew who had risen to one of the higest echelons of the gentile power structure was the match that lit the fuse.

Shoded Yam said...

"...I don't think the Palestinian refugees who were expelled by "Marxist quoting" Palmach soldiers in 1948 think that is any better than the "Talmud-thumping" Jews in Judea/Samaria today. You can denounce today's settlers as being "primitive, religious and backwards", but you are no different then them as the Palestinians say it."

Nice solipsicism. Unfortunately its irrelevant nonsense. Since the working assumption is that most Palestinians given the choice would rather not have us around to begin with, the issue has never been about what the Palestinians think, since that has always been a known quantity. What is at issue (and has always been at issue) is how we want to think about ourselves. This is about two competing Jewish worldviews. Since you lose morally and ethically to your opponents, you must attempt to disenfranchise them first as Jews, than as Israelis. This is the point of contention and will be the issue that the coming civil war will revolve around, and all the self-serving bullshit in the world isn't going to change that.

Y. Ben-David said...

SY-Pirate-All you are doing is disenfranchising the Palestinians. I quote what you said: "the issue is not about what the Palestinians think, since that is a known quantity". What do think their leaders and negotiators are supposed to do? How can they justify selling out the basic values and beliefs of their people just in order to make "progressives" like yourself happy and to remove your guilt feelings? That is why Arafat refused to sign a document recognizing the Temple Mount as a Jewish holy site in spite of Clinton's harangue to him to do so. You dismiss them with the old mantra of the Israeli Left: "you know the Arabs, they never mean what they say". So you think you can shove down their throats "the solution that everybody knows the terms of" that Dr Avishai and the rest of the "progressives" claims exists, even though the Arabs have made it clear that they will never accept it. I know Dr Avishai is talking about imposing it, but that won't work.

You stated that Eretz Israel was "a land stolen by pagans from Jews...etc". You know very well the Arabs do not accept this narrative. That is YOUR narrative, not theirs. They say it is a lie, and some Israeli archaeologists and historians agree with this (that there never was a First Temple or Israelite Kingdom of David and Solomon). Assuming this is the case, what justification can you give for you, or your parents or your grandparents coming here, as alien invaders, against the will of the native population (as they see it). How are you any different than the white Rhodesians in their eyes?
Your rage against the settlers and the what you call the religious "Talmud thumpers" is merely transferring the guilt YOU feel for betraying your fellow progressives by justifying Zionism which you are torn about. Face it, Zionism can not be reconciled with "progressive" values. You are the one in denial. You do it by trashing your right-wing Israeli political opponents. Dr Avishai does it by offering the Israeli Arabs a secular, consumerist "Hebrew Republic" (again, a modern twist to the old colonialist "we are bringing them civilization, they should appreciate it") which is meant to either conciously or unconciously destroy the Arab/Islamic society, but in any case would be condemned to go the same way as Rhodesia.
Be honest with yourself. Your position is simple hypocrisy.

Peter said...

I disagree with most things Shoded Yam says here. He says:

What I said was that the wholesale murder of jews on an industrialized scale excaerbated by a brutal war for independence caused the Israeli leadership(again with some justification)to view SOME of the indigenous arabs as being 5th columnists and therfore an existenial threat to be treated accordingly. In light of the forced expulsion of jews from arab counries, this "eviction" turned out to be nothing more than a population transfer.Both of these claims are a-historical. Most Palestinians were expelled (or not given a chance to return once the war was over) not because they were existential threat but because they were a demographical one – the Jewish majority in the partition parameters was very slim (about 55%), so, to make sure Israel stays a democratic Jewish state the Palestinians had to be expelled. The war was a golden opportunity for that and all “fathers of the state” understood it very well. There are countless proofs to this thesis, starting from totally pro-Israel villages cleansed (see, for example, the story of Ikrit and Bir’am) to pronouncements of Ben Gurion and others at the time, to continuing of ethnic cleansing into the early fifties (Majdl-Ashkelon etc.) In some sense, the demographic threat and existential one are conflated here – in other words, the state could not continue to exist as a Jewish democratic state with such a large Palestinian minority on the verge of becoming a majority.
The “population transfer” claim does not hold water either. Arab Jews started to arrive in Israel several years after the events of 1947-48, so, to reason that the Palestinians were expelled in a “population transfer” is absurd (I know Soded Yam uses a phrase “turned out to be nothing more”, but the effect is to sort of justify injustice post factum, committed with no connection with the later injustice (and this is without even dwelling on the issue of false flag operations apparently committed by Israel to encourage mass emigration of the Arab Jews.)
And I would only mention in passing the fact that many Zionist leaders at the time saw the Shoah in strictly cynical opportunistic terms (check out this or this for example.)
I think Y. Ben David’s point about transfer of guilt is a valid one regarding many people on the Israeli left. What he fails to understand is that while in a very superficial way the status of a settlement in the West Bank is no different from that of Tel Aviv University, in reality there is a huge difference, in that at the present the existence of TAU does not require continuing oppression and dispossession of millions of people, brutal occupation that destroys the souls and minds of countless young Israeli kids (here, Yaakov, I’d like to refer you again to the discussion on Yaara’s blog, look for the comments by YI, a lokhemet (female combat soldier) who served in “kav ha-tefer” and her experiences.) Whatever one thinks of Jewish rights in the WB, right now their realization is just not worth the damage that is involved. That’s why the occupation must end regardless of what one thinks of the relative justice of existence of TAU vs. that of Shiloh. But once we are in a mode of coexistence, I say, bring on the challenges of title for TAU or anywhere else and figure out how to compensate the people involved. I also say that the demand that WB is judenfrei is immoral and that those settlers that want to stay as citizens of whatever just state that eventually (hopefully) arises in the WB (be it a Palestinian one of a bi-national one) should be able to do so, again, with all the questions of title resolved (we’ll ask Richard Witty to adjudicate...)

Y. Ben-David said...

Peter-Your statement about Ikrit and Biram is incorrect. The Arabs expelled from them were not "expelled for demographic reasons". They were not expelled from the country. They were sent to other parts of Israel suppsedly for "security reasons" because their villages were near the Lebanese border. As I understand it, they were told it was a "temporary" move, but then their land was given to nearby Kibbutzim.

You say TAU's occupation of Sheikh Munis' land is not "dispossession"? Huh? Tell that to its previous Arab owners who now may be in a refugee camp. If the "progressives" at TAU really care about "justice" like they claim, let the NOW start a movement to return the land to them. By taking the excuse that it is the "goverment's responsibility", they are simply being hypocrites because then, in effect, they are counting on the "intransigence" of the now "Right-wing" government to keep stalling (as they see it) to let them keep their ill-gotten goods.

Peter said...

Well, you are right about Ikrit and Bir’am – I chose those because they were so pro-Zionist. Their ethnic cleansing and the subsequent reneging on promises by the State of Israel to give their land back are even more egregious. But my basic premise stands: Israel could not afford a huge Arab minority in its midst to remain a Jewish democratic state. At some point it was realized that the war was the perfect opportunity to drive most of the Arabs out.
Re: TAU, I did not say it wasn’t a dispossession, I said that at the present it doesn’t require a continuing dispossession as cruel as the settlements. I do think that it is a shame that the original Nakba refugees continue living in squalid conditions even not under Israel control, say, in Lebanon. But this is the Arabs’ problem; it doesn’t excuse us in any way. So, yes, 1948 is a scrambled egg that cannot really be unscrambled. But I reject your reasoning that since we committed injustices once we’re justified in committing new ones today. The current occupation can be still unscrambled to a large extent. Whatever hardship would be caused to the settlers, it is negligible to the continuing dispossession of the Palestinians and the corruption of Israel. Again, that fact that you behaved immorally in the past does not justify continuing to behave immorally in the present.

I don’t know where the owners of the land under TAU are, but you are absolutely right that they are entitled to whatever compensation can be reasonable given the current realities. I am sure the real (as opposed to the phony) lefties at TAU would agree.

Shoded Yam said...

"...I disagree with most things Shoded Yam says here"

Please. As if your concurrence was somehow solicited, important or necessary.

"...In some sense, the demographic threat and existential one are conflated here – in other words, the state could not continue to exist as a Jewish democratic state with such a large Palestinian minority on the verge of becoming a majority."

LOL! You think? The only people that make the distinctions between a demographic threat and an existential one under these circumstances are those dilletantes who posess the luxuries of time and hindsight. Neither of which were available to the leaders of the Yishuv in 48'-49'. In light of this, perhaps they can be forgiven for their "smashing eggshells with sledge hammers" approach to nation building.

Furthermore, I never attributed "justice" to the concept of population transfer, post factum, or any other factum. Thats your hang-up, not mine. You see, the thing about population transfers is that their never really "transfers" in the first place. They tend to be evictions rather than some formally agreed upon process by which two peoples exchange apartments during the summer months. Secondly, rather than being utilized as a just and equitable solution to the problem of dispossesion, the purpose is to punish or chastise. Believe me, The Czechs never entertained the notion that somehow they were helping their good friends, the Germans, when they forcibly evicted them and gave them 24 hours to leave their homes in Bohemia. Likewise the Indo-Pakistan War of 47. This wasn't a transfer of populations. This was a forced eviction of several million muslims out of the Hindu Republic. Good thing too. Had they stayed, they would've been murdered enmasse. In light of these precedents and the defacto, actual, definition of "population transfer", the eviction of the Gallilee Arabs (belated though it may have been) does come under this heading, and I stand by my supposition. BTW, what is absurd here is not my premise, but your need to asuage your consience over a lack of justice re. a situation and circumstances where the concept of justice was never an inherent value in the process. The disappointment of not being able to "justify" what was ostensibly done for the greater good of the Yishuv is your hang-up, not mine.

Re.

"...Y. Ben David’s point about transfer of guilt is a valid one regarding many people on the Israeli left"

and;

"...Your rage against the settlers and the what you call the religious "Talmud thumpers" is merely transferring the guilt YOU feel for betraying your fellow progressives by justifying Zionism which you are torn about."

Several years ago I remember watching a Saturday Night Live episode in which William Shatner (Captain Kirk)was hosting. Anyway, they put him in this skit where he plays himself addressing a bunch of "Trekkies" at a Star Trek convention. As he stares out into a crowd of people dressed up like Spock and speaking Klingon, he broaches the query; "Do any of you have girlfriends?" That’s what I feel like. TJ Hooker talking to a bunch of people wearing pointy ears while playing with their phasers. There are many things I feel guilty about. Not spending enough time with my son. Not remembering my anniversary. Wasting time on the internet when I should be doing something productive, so another bill can get paid. If fellow progressives feel that I’m betraying them, thats their tough luck. In any event, far from having any guilt feelings, I would find their discomfiture amusing and strangely gratifying.

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