Monday, June 14, 2004

 

Slow but Steady

Many thanks to The Mushroom Treatment for linking to this article in Ha'aretz, which otherwise I would not have found. In it, Gadi Algazi and Azmi Bdeir of the Ta'ayush Arab Jewish Partnership movement describe the abandonment of Khirbet Yanun, an Arab village in the West Bank. As the conditions imposed by the Israeli occupation forces and the neighboring settlers become unbearable, villagers and families are leaving Khirbet Yanun. Algazi and Bdeir write:
[T]ransfer isn't necessarily a dramatic moment, a moment when people are expelled and flee their towns or villages. It is not necessarily a planned and well-organized move with buses and trucks loaded with people, such as happened in Qalqilyah in 1967. Transfer is a deeper process, a creeping process that is hidden from view. It is not captured on film, is hardly documented, and it is going on right in front of our eyes. Anyone who is waiting for a dramatic moment is liable to miss it as it happens.
And, as if to drive home the point, also in Ha'aretz, "Despite U.S. deal, Israel starts Ariel fence." Israel has begun preparations for construction the segment of its separation wall east of the Ariel settlement in the West Bank. "This land appropriation move is at variance with the U.S. government's understanding that such steps would not be taken in the foreseeable future, and that the separation fence project in these West Bank areas would be deferred." Once again, of course, the US may issue a statement, but will take no action. They wouldn't want to undermine Sharon's position while the Gaza withdrawal is on the agenda. Indeed, "the move upholds a promise given by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which clinched the latter's support for the disengagement plan: Sharon indicated to Netanyahu that the separation fence in the Ariel area would be completed before the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is finished." This affirms that the Gaza withdrawal has been negotiated (between Bush, Sharon, and Netanyahu, and excluding the Palestinians) as a land swap - Gaza for the West Bank (or parts of it at least). Presented as an historic step forward, the Gaza withdrawal is becoming one step forward, two steps back. And, worst of all, the step forward is conditional on (but not guaranteed upon) the steps back.

And just to prove that I'm not an eternal pessimist, here's some good news: IDF removing 40 West Bank obstacles; Al-Aqsa leader 'ready to down arms'

Comments:
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