[sixties-l] Re: Palestine-Israel Unresolved 60s Problem

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: 10/11/00

  • Next message: radman: "[sixties-l] Fwd: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"

    > As I and others have poined out, the US response to the the
    > Israel-Palestinian conflict is an unresolved crisis from the 60s that
    > impacts our ability to build a cohesive movement today. To attempt to
    > resolve what may, in fact, be unresolveable. the following is forwarded.
    > There is a reference in this report to Israel's claim and its people's
    > belief that its military maintains a "purity of arms" in its dealings
    > with its enemies, which has never been anywhere near the truth at any
    > time in Israel's brief history. If the US did not give Israel the
    > equivalent of $15 million A DAY, it would not be able to kill
    > Palestinians with impunity. It is a sad commentary on what passes for a
    > progressive movement in the US that it has never raised a peep about aid
    > to Israel and the use, in violation of US export laws, of its military
    > equipment against a civilian population ,but mounted huge campaigns
    > against giving $15 million A YEAR to the Nicaraguan contras. The
    > reason:  As a leader of the American Indian Movement once told me, "The
    > problem with the left is that there are too many liberal Zionists."  
    I have not used his name because those who have the temerity to "tell it
    like it is" have a history of being labeled anti-semitic and find
    themselves politically marginalized.
    > Jeff Blankfort:
    > > Hi folks, Jaime Yassin, a former paper tiger member, has
    > > been in Palestine for the last several weeks and just sent
    > > me this account of what is going on and how it's at odds
    > > with mainstream press coverage. It's long, but well worth
    > > reading.
    > >
    > > Jamie
    > >
    > > 10/3/00 Ramallah
    > >
    > > Hey, thought i'd let you know what i've seen, heard and
    > > experienced in the  last few days since the violence
    > > started.
    > >
    > > First of all its incredibly  eroneous to refer to Sharon's
    > > visit as the spark that lit the fire, as the  official press
    > > narative is being constructed. People were pissed on that
    > > day  but it wasn't till they started to fire on the ground
    > > of haram al sharif and  killed 7 people that things went
    > > really nuts, as you'd expect them to  anywhere in the world.
    > > Strangely, this fact has been repeatedly neglected in  us
    > > based on-line news reports that i've been reading, but it
    > > seems to be the  most pertinent. I can tell you that there
    > > was a very different feeling on  the day Sharon visited the
    > > Haram and the next day when people died.
    > >
    > > I went  out to the Israeli checkpoint to the settlement of
    > > Bet El here in Ramallah  on the first day of conflict here
    > > in the territories (this settlement, by  the way
    > > expropriated a portion of my family's land in 67). I first
    > > went to  observe but me salio el Arabe when I saw Israeli's
    > > firing into crowds of  teenagers throwing rocks and joined
    > > in. I just couldn't watch my people  (hokey as it may sound)
    > > getting shot and just stand around like it didn't  concern
    > > me. While I was there I saw snipers in the windows of a
    > > partially  constructed addition to the city inn hotel which
    > > is right at the  checkpoint--they were killing people,no
    > > joke, singling someone out every  hour or so and just firing
    > > live rounds. Some 2 people were killed in this  way on that
    > > day (Saturday)and ambulances were coming in about every 10
    > > minutes to take someone away. Firing never abated for the
    > > Red Crescent  medical staff. They were fired on the same as
    > > anyone else.
    > >
    > > The next day I  snuck over to the Israeli side of the
    > > conflict and saw the Israeli soldiers  relaxed, joking and
    > > eating sandwiches in between shooting at these children
    > > across the way. It is obvious that they have no feeling that
    > > there lives are  in danger. One soldier, dropped a grenade
    > > on the way out of his jeep and  just left it there on the
    > > ground in front of a crowd that included not only  press but
    > > a large gathering of Palestinians on-lookers. An objective
    > > view of  what is going on illuminates the lack of concern on
    > > their part. The stones  being thrown by these children were
    > > landing some twenty feet away from the  nearest jeep. There
    > > was no reason to kill or even injure a Palestinian soul
    > > there.
    > >
    > > I am reminded of the shock displayed by the left-leaning
    > > community in  the US when protesters were pepper sprayed at
    > > the WTO and hope that they are  able to muster a similar
    > > revulsion at the use of plastic-coated bullets  against an
    > > unarmed civilian population. These pellets littered the area
    > > and  I picked one up and examined it. If I picked up one of
    > > these things and  threw it at your face you might have to go
    > > to the hospital!! These bullets  fuck people up, no joke and
    > > are too often lethal (too often by American  standards which
    > > would not accept even one death from such a "crowd-control
    > > device").
    > >
    > > I went back to the area the next day but Palestinian
    > > soldiers were  blocking the street entrance to the area.
    > > THere were only a few Palestinians  throwing stones but
    > > Israeli positions were too far away. I walked around to
    > > the other side to the Israeli position (in front of the City
    > > Inn hotel)and  journalists were conspicously absent. A
    > > soldier told me that the hotel was  closed.  I walked away
    > > thinking that the conflict was dying down.
    > >
    > > As much as I feel that the occupation needs to be forcefully
    > > pushed out of  the territories its breaking my heart to see
    > > these children dying for no  other reason than to make
    > > television audiences vaguely aware that something
    > > incredibly psychotic is being perpetrated on the part of the
    > > Israeli  government--as if, the CNN reports are completely
    > > decontextualized, failing  to characterize the obvious
    > > reality in any terms but allegations from the  Palestinian
    > > side.
    > >
    > > For example, I saw the snipers in those windows that first
    > > day but when I tuned into CNN international that evening the
    > > fact emerged as  an allegation by Palestinian authorities to
    > > back up their contention that  the Israeli's were using
    > > disproportionate force. Later, however, Palestinian
    > > soldiers and Israeli soldiers were trading live ammunition
    > > fire in the area  and helicopters were called in and
    > > patrolled the area all night. We could  hear automatic
    > > weapon fire coming from that part of town late into the
    > > evening. Earlier on the main street in Ramallah they were
    > > broadcasting news  programming on loud speakers (probably PA
    > > and suspect as such, I guess) a  friend of mine told me they
    > > were saying that they had started bombing parts  of Gaza
    > > with rockets--houses, cars and anything that moved.
    > >
    > > I caught up with  a couple of other half-breed Palestinians
    > > i know from the university later  on and they convinced me
    > > to attend a Peace Now rally in West Jerusalem. They  had a
    > > sign that said Israel Murder Army out of Palestine (i agree
    > > with the  sentiment wholeheartedly, though i wasn't
    > > impressed with the grammatic  construction). Warning: to all
    > > who think there is a viable peace movement in Israel please
    > > avoid reading the following or risk having your illusions
    > > shattered. People almost immediately complained that the
    > > sentiment was too  strong for their rally. An elder women
    > > screamed at us that her 19 year old  student had been killed
    > > in the army and how dare we insinuate they were  murderers.
    > > The logic being that since someone she had cared for had
    > > been  killed in such an army they could never be considered
    > > anything but noble  despite the overwhelming ferocity of
    > > their response in the territories.  Later an American Jewish
    > > student at the Hebrew University who I had met  through an
    > > acquaintance reacted as if we had spit on his mother's
    > > grave. He  accused us of polemicizing (can you believe this)
    > > the situation and called  our statement ahistorical,
    > > releasing the government issued arsenal of  Israeli
    > > propaganda-crap about purity of arms, the "where else were
    > > the jews  supposed to go" apologia, and the "peace process
    > > is working" hat-trick. I'd  had beers with this guy and he
    > > considered himself a leftist and to prove it  compared the
    > > Palestine situation to that of East Timor and Chiapas-- "if
    > > you  really want to see  murdereous armies", he said.
    > >
    > > The minute we showed up  with our sign an army jeep full of
    > > soldiers was called in and a police  photographer showed up
    > > and took our pictures (there were also photographers  when I
    > > was throwing stones and I ended up being on regional tv for
    > > a few  seconds, so I'm afraid that I may end up on some kind
    > > of list now). People  here have a pathological inability to
    > > accept the reality of their occupation  as their entire
    > > national self-esteem is predicated on the illusion of a
    > > snow-white military machine whose every missile makes the
    > > desert bloom. Or  as a woman screamed at us, "don't you
    > > understand that all of us are the  army". This seems the
    > > most insidious brainwashing tactic the Israeli army
    > > could've ever used against their own people-- to make them
    > > all physically  and personally complicit in the dirty work.
    > > They have no choice but to  ignore the atrocities of their
    > > government in order to continue to function  as sane human
    > > beings.
    > >
    > > An american friend of ours went to Nablus yesterday and said
    > > that automatic  weapon fights had permeated the entire area
    > > around an Israeli army base and  that it had been impossible
    > > to avoid getting shot in the conflict area.  Things have
    > > gotten worse today, Tuesday. A two year old girl was
    > > seriously  wounded in Gaza by Israeli gunfire this morning
    > > and 17 Palestinians were  reported dead there so far and its
    > > only noon. Thankfully fighting seems to  have ceased in
    > > Kalandia, the refugee camp on the road to Jerusalem, but
    > > seems to have escalated to running fire fights at the City
    > > Inn Hotel.  Ramallah is apparently completely closed off by
    > > Israeli checkpoints on all  sides, but the checkpoint to
    > > Jerusalem is usally porous (things are so  upside down here
    > > that taxis use an alternate route only about 400 feet from
    > > the main road, to avoid checkpoints. These big yellow mini
    > > vans bounce  around on this dirt road like hemorhoids and
    > > are plainly visible by the  soldiers manning the checkpoint)
    > > so I don't know what this means in real  terms. Adding to
    > > the horrible feeling of hearing about the daily dozen dead
    > > from our and other areas, all businesses are striking for
    > > the foreseeable  future (at least until Saturday, someone
    > > told me) and I haven't worked for  four days already and am
    > > already broke, I imagine my situation is not much  different
    > > than that of other Palestinian workers around here. You
    > > can't even  get a beer with which to drown your sorrows. For
    > > now, the future seems  hopeless.
    > >
    > > Jaime
    > >
    > > This is the Paper Tiger TV members discussion list.
    > > An archive of past messages is located at:
    > > http://www.tao.ca/~jamie/pttv. The archive is password
    > > protected. For access, contact Jamie (jamie@tao.ca).

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