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The Jehoshua Novels


Gaza

Imagine for a moment the drama unfolding in Israel and Palestine today, not as it is depicted here in the US. Imagine it as it is on the ground for people who are being forced from their homes. Just sit with the simple tragedy of losing your home for a moment. Let the drama unfold in the quiet spaces of your heart, whether you be Muslim, Jew or Christian.

This is just the Gaza strip, where sand and desert meet a dessicating lack of fresh water and a beach stretching off towards the sandstone mosques of Egypt and the white washed homes of Greece.

Now, imagine the same thing in the fertile West Bank–land the prophets plowed, where Jesus walked and Muhammed ascended to heaven on his horse Burak.

You can’t, because no Israeli government will ever allow it to happen. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m just telling it like I see it. The Israeli’s won’t let go of an inch of the West Bank that they’ve already settled.

15 comments to Gaza

  • Anonymous

    … apartheid, or the acceptance of Palestinians as citizens of the state of Israel. Which do you think they’ll go for?

  • Anonymous

    what happens when Israeli Arabs become a significant voting bloc, and resolve to do something about the situation. Will they be disenfrachised at that point?

  • Anonymous

    to move from a place that your government stole from others and displaced them for.  
    imagine leaving a place that creates animosity from nearly the entire world because you are living there.
    imagine leaving a home in a place that you could never really rest and feel good in.

    many imagined that and have left already.

  • Anonymous

    For the settlers the idea that the ‘Biblical Land of Israel’ is not home is about as absurd as if you told a Muslim that they shouldn’t feel at home around Mecca and Medina.  International law, justice, and history have nothing to do with it.  That they’re nuts is also true – but then again I find fundies of any religion rather nuts and that region of the world is particularly insane.  
    Plus of course losing your home sucks however you see it. Furthermore you will note that about half of them have chosen not to get compensation (all those who remained after the deadline lose their claim to compensation money.)

    I would think that you, of all people would appreciate the need to understand the motivations of extremists and the reasons why so many not so extremist people have some sympathy with them, no matter how absurd and/or ugly those motivations may be. You certainly seem to do so in the case of the Islamic fundies.

  • Anonymous

    Everyone from the center-right in (dovish wing of Likud represented by Ehud Olmert) wants to do the same thing in the area outside the security fence, eventually. And I think they eventually will. Of the 400-450,000 Israelis living in the occuppied areas over eighty percent are within the security fence. The problem will be that all of E. Jerusalem and about ten percent of the W. Bank will remain in Israeli hands so still no peace.

    Sad. As everyone says, everybody knows what the solution is but neither side is really ready to commit to it, or at least not a majority on either side. A second problem is that for even slightly religious Jews giving up even part of Jerusalem is sacrilege, literally. Sometimes I really can’t stand religion.

  • Anonymous

    himself will drop in on the people of this planet and walk among them… and after he has had a spell to observe he will make himself known and beseech the people to raze the temples burn the holy books and forget the word and the name…

    and for this he will be brutally stoned…

  • Anonymous

    who lost their jobs because of the settlement closings but were excluded from any compensation  by the Israeli government.

    Think of any way US, EU and Arab money can help the Palestinians and their shaky,divided, and sometimes corrupt government with the huge project of remaking Gaza from a dead place where long-term unemployment(and the learned helplessness thay goes with it) is the norm into a land with jobs and industry created inside Gaza for most people (as they will not be allowed to work in Israel!) – We know it’s got to be a different kind of intervention from the way the US has been trying in Iraq.

    Stop a moment and be thankful there are people like James Wolfensohn, who knows what it is to be a human being,and  so raised $14 million in private funds to buy settler greenhouses and turn them over to the Palestinians. Before imagining the West Bank and its problems and Sharon and his machinations, stay in that other present a little.

    I can’t sit for long imagining the pain of the settlers having to move(though I know how painful it can feel) when I see settlers smashing their own property so nothing can be made of it. I  feel sad about children uprooted or any communiy being split up, but  I know these settlers have the spirit of starting from nothing, have other places in Israel to start over, and are going to be watched over very well in Israel.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, the politics don’t change just because of some relocations.  The folks in the wonderful new Gaza probably still won’t be able to make anything too useful of their area because the borders, access, and airspace will still be in the hands of…guess who?  So don’t get those hopes too high, because there’s still plenty of time for new elections and the slamming of the barbwire gates once again.

    And, without the local ability to enforce property rights, won’t the land just go to the strongest?  Like maybe leaders of groups with guns?

    There are so many people who have a better idea than peace, you see.  Or so they think.

  • Anonymous

    I dont have much time, but I did have time to look at all of the pictures from the recent evacuations, and some of these shots speak for themselves…(copy and paste the whole link) (click on the pic to the left, and a slideshow with HUNDREDS of Recent pics will pop up:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050817/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_palestinians;_ylt=Asiqb4KDi9ohVOz9eBPvo_.s
    0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ–

    I read soemone write that everyone knows what needs to be done, but no one wants to do it, that is so true, and the ‘what needs to be done’ is in these pics, dragging families from their homes while they kick and scream!

    JR

  • Anonymous

    -and those without democratic means to address injustice and get their basic human rights and needs met.

    or those being perpetrated on by the more powerful.

    it’s about justice, freedom and empowerment.

    I happen to believe, like JFK that “a rising tide raises all ships”,

    that in some way we are responsible for each other, that rugged indivualism taken too far leads to dog eat dog, and in a dog eat dog world only the most vicious and hungry survive.  
    this is not a world in which i want to live.

    IMO this is what a progressive lives and works for.

    perhaps this will help you understand my posts better, Marek

    the settlers in Gaza are not without resources.

    philosopically, their ideology is king… and that’s not good enough for me to sympathize with them on a justice scale.
    -on a human scale, sure it must be hard.  but, well…justice calls louder and longer.

  • Anonymous

    I think for me, it’s just not the time to discuss the West Bank,yet, as the eotions of the pictures you draw suggest it is for you.

    Perhaps, after a few weeks, this will seem a good time to talk about the exact same thing.

    I have two emotional reactions to your post that I’ve been trying to make sense of.

    The first is  that I don’t feel ableto be fair about Gaza’s immediate images( forgetting the righteousness of religious belief for a moment). When I was 12 my entire  Irish,Polish,Iralian and German, flourishing but not upscale neighborhood on the east side of manhattan was ripped down and the whole community scattered in order to make way for luxury housing in the late 50′s.

    I will never forget the anger and sadness that came with separation from all my friends and the life I had taken for granted, and I know that there are kids in Gaza who are feeling exactly like that.I also learned or certainly came to believe certain things I had been told aboout politics were false-for instance, my mother’s belief that “we’ll all stick together” without any evidence led to my family’s being evicted with out a cent as the last to depart.

    Somewhere in Gaza there are kids who will take their feelings from this expulsion and make it into a defining experience in their ideology.

    Hoever, it is also the case – without in any way making the Agonist/Gaza into a metaphor,as it only a faint tinge of reflected feeling on my part makes me bring it up- some of us feel unsettled at this point here at the Agonist.

    For my part, there’s no way to miss understanding from your posts that you are going through a period of reflection, and as I  look around, telling myself and others that nothing lasts forever and we are free to go or not, I feel some loyalty and sense of shared experience, and I know that even in this little universe I don’t really have a sense of the right or the best thing to do.

    Bear that image in mind as perhaps part of the reason why I at least and maybe some others am not ready to rise to the occasion and talk with you about the West Bank just yet.

  • Anonymous

    to invade and occupy the territories.  US foreign policy at the time was opposed to it but the Israelis paid no heed.  The religious zealots who answered the siren call and settled the land are victims of their own government’s misguided Greater Israel adventure.  I sympathize with them only because they were told one thing and then another.  None will truly suffer in the long run. Whether this advances the peace process is an altogether different question.  Emboldened by the Gaza withdrawal the Palestinians will likely continue the Intifada until they regain the entirety of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and that is not in the mix from the Israeli side.  I truly hope my assessment is wrong and that some middle ground can be reached.  History does not support such a resolution.    

  • Anonymous

    Herein, in this post, lay, in a microcosm, all the problems, right and wrong, righteous, indignant, powerless, hypocritical, and true which make up the Israeli-Palestinian war.

    In no place in my post did I side with either party, Jew or Muslim, Arab Christian or Hasidim. I did not pick sides. I simply made an observation that was intended NOT to be inflammatory but as with all things from the heartbroken land, was turned into something it was never intended to be by others.

    Simply put: I don’t have a dog in this hunt. The only thing Ithat interested me was the intersection between the human element and larger impersonal forces.

    I don’t have an agenda here. I’m just an observer.

  • Anonymous

    frequently wrong. And I do hope I am wrong and peace comes to this land. But I am not holding my breath.

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