Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Crafty: Israel's macaroni-and-cheese approach to Palestine

After looking at a map of Palestine's West Bank, you might start to wonder what the Palestinians are all complaining about. They still have lots of land over there. There's plenty of room for them. What's the big deal?

The big deal is that these maps only offer us the appearance that Palestinians have lots of land. These maps are only for show. The reality of land distribution in the Occupied Territories is pretty much different from what you see on a map. Should you actually pack up your bags, fly off to the Tel Aviv airport, cross through all the IDF military checkpoints and finally arrive in Palestine, you will immediately see that hundreds of illegal Israeli settlements are taking up more and more prime property all over the West Bank.

Looking at a map of Palestine is like looking at a bowl of macaroni and cheese. If you weren't actually poking around in the stuff with your fork, you might get the false idea that the whole thing is just made up of cheese. But when you actually bite into your food, you immediately discover that it's mostly macaroni.

And when you actually get to Palestine's West Bank, it surely doesn't look the same as on a map. When you actually see all those hundreds of massive illegal settlements that compose most of the area, you immediately see a whole new reality. And those settlements ARE truly massive. We are not just talking about some tents and some trailers sprinkled here and there west of the Jordan. We're talking about modern condos six stories high with self-defrosting refrigerators, flat-screen TVs and guest bedrooms. This is not just cheese we are talking about here. The West Bank of Palestine these days consists mostly of macaroni.

If we were little kids, we could just use our fingers to pick all the, er, macaroni out of the West Bank, er, cheese. End of problem. And if we were the American government or the United Nations, we could easily remove all that macaroni by using our budgets to stop the current massive funding for Israel's army -- until it agrees to withdraw behind the Green Line where it belongs. If we did this, there would be no dramatic re-play of settlers' tearfully-staged-for-TV resistance like there was during the evacuation of Gaza. This removal would probably take about five minutes.

The old Bush-style neo-cons who now run Israel probably thought they were being really crafty to move all those illegal settlements into the West Bank of Palestine. So let's be crafty too and get all that "macaroni" out now -- so that Palestinians' lives will no longer have to be so cheezy.

PS: I just received an e-mail newsletter from Jeff Halper, a Jewish-Israeli professor of anthropology who has been trying everything he can since 1997 to keep greedy Israeli neo-con hands off prime real estate owned by Muslim and Christian Palestinians, both in Israel proper and in the Occupied Territories. According to Halper, however, Palestinians' lives are getting cheezier by the moment.

"Since 1967," Halper wrote, "the Israeli authorities have demolished more than 24,000 Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories, some as 'collateral damage' in military operations (4000 homes were demolished in the recent invasion of Gaza), some as collective punishment (the obliteration of the Jenin refugee camp in 2002 being just one example), many others for lack of a building permit, though Israel intentionally withholds building permits from Palestinians. In a particularly cruel twist used by the courts, thousands of Palestinian families have been forced to demolish their own homes under pressure of fines and imprisonment. Tens of thousands of demolition orders remain outstanding in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and can be implemented at any time."

PPS: What ever happened to the Iranian oil bourse that was going to accept euros instead of dollars for oil and leave the dollar without a strong backing from oil and thus defenseless? I googled "Iranian Oil Bourse 2009" and got nothing. Has all that just slipped under the radar? Or is it still going forward? And if so, wouldn't causing unrest and instability in Iran, like what is happening with all these current election riots in Tehran, benefit the US dollar? Who knows? Perhaps this instability might save us from going to all the trouble of having Israel nuke Iran.

China just bought five billion dollars worth of natural gas from Iran. Did they pay dollars? Or euros? Bloomberg didn't say.

I've already typed up 18 pages of my notes from my trip to Iran last fall. I gots 40 more pages left to type. By the time I'm finished with it, however, will Iran have changed so much that my report will no longer be relevant? Will Iran still be selling oil for euros? Or will the CIA have managed to put the Shah's ghost back in power....