Thursday, July 08, 2004


Oh, the humanity

The Cruel Face of Zionism, Ari Shavit's article in today's Ha'aretz, searches for the underlying truths to be found in the statements of the radical Israeli right. There is a growing fear in Israel that there might be a repeat of the Rabin assassination in response to Sharon's Gaza withdrawal plan. "The statements now being uttered by the radical right wing are grave," writes Shavit. "However the problem that these statements expose is real, and cannot be swept under the carpet." So what, then, are these problems?
The heart of the problem is this: The disengagement plan is about to cause a humanitarian catastrophe. Already in the first stage the plan will strike a fatal blow to the human rights of 8,000 women, men and children. At a later stage it will trample the basic rights of some 80,000 additional people. The plan will destroy the homes and life's work of tens of thousands, bringing an unprecedented human disaster on close to 100,000 Israelis.

Make no mistake - this is not a transfer. A transfer is a deportation that one nation inflicts on the members of another. However, it is certainly a Draconian decree that no democratic state has inflicted on its citizens in recent generations. The state has decided to destroy dozens of communities and to erase dozens of villages, to send destructive bulldozers to crush homes.
Humanitarian catastrophe? Trampling of basic rights? Destroying the homes and life's work of tens of thousands? Destroying dozens of communities and erasing dozens of villages? Sending destructive bulldozers to crush homes? Unprecedented. Hah! The strangest part is that I really can't tell whether Shavit really gets the irony of what he is writing. Also, the lead from an editorial in Ha'aretz pretty much sums up the way things stand right now:
It appears that the disengagement from the Gaza Strip, which the prime minister presented and the cabinet adopted in essence, is standing motionless. The political discourse in Israel against the disengagement is growing stronger, mainly because of the loud, threatening voices coming from radical right-wing circles, the settlers and the advocates of Greater Israel. This is the same kind of discourse that accompanied the Oslo Accords and ultimately triggered the murder of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
And we all know how well the Oslo Accords worked out, right? Personally, I will be suprised if this gets anywhere close to as much momentum as the Oslo Accords (remember - that included Palestinians who were pushing for a change). In the end it may only be remembered if the potential for violence in the radical Israeli right is realized.

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