is proceeding smoothly in Iraq, if imitation of Israel is your
yardstick, anyway. Iraqis have demonstrated that they
too can evict Palestinians, and with admirable swiftness.
You see, many of those who fled to Iraq after 1948 were placed,
ironically, in the confiscated homes of dissidents. Now, as if
to remind the Palestinians that neither justice nor injustice
will ever smile upon them, they have been expelled again.
course, one understands the expropriated Iraqis. They aren't asserting
some nebulous claim to an ancestral homeland they're reclaiming
specific properties that were ripped from their hands. The new
residents were not magically entitled to anything because of past
sufferings. No matter how sad your story is, I can't give you
my neighbor's house, and it won't become yours just because you
stay there for 55 years. Unless the U.S. government says so, that
at least justice prevailed in this case. Or did it? Yes, those
Iraqis had a right to their property, but what crime had the Palestinians
committed? They moved into homes that were stolen before they
arrived. They could not return those homes to the rightful owners
(who were, after all, enemies of the state), and refusal of these
"gifts" would have meant deportation or worse. Thanks
to U.S. meddling throughout the region, they are now homeless
and despised, with nowhere to go.
that the Middle East lacks marketable real estate. Take the Negev.
The Israeli government has lost interest in its once promising
southern frontier, what Lova
Eliav, the man appointed to settle the area 50 years ago,
believed would become the country's heartland. Today, Eliav is
bitter, and the Negev remains a void where few live and none prosper.
One of its few population centers is Ansar,
a prison holding thousands of convicts from the second intifada.
Why, then, do settlers flood the West Bank as tumbleweeds bounce
across the south? Eliav interviewer Daniel Ben Simon smells "the
rotten messianic fruit that captured the country after the Six-Day
War." In Eliav's words:
absurd. It goes on to this very day. The state invests billions
in the territories, and abandons the Negev. Everyone is guilty
in this crime. Right-wing governments and left-wing governments
preferred settlements in the territories to settlements in the
Negev. It's simply crazy."
Negev's malaise has not been quarantined. Even though terrorism
is down, soup
kitchens are booming in Jerusalem, and Israeli economists
expect unemployment to hit 12% this year. Given these bleak omens,
one wonders why successive governments squander the nation's fortune
on expansion, an appetite long divorced from reason. When Ariel
Sharon must import
Indians from Peru to fill the void his bulldozers
leave, one wonders whether Zionism retains any meaning.
ask such questions in America, where armchair Maccabees
rail against "appeasement" and evangelicals
shriek with delight at their imminent Rapture
Christians need not apply). Fortunately, many actual Israelis
have the courage to defy
the occupation, and some even warn of incipient fascism. Israeli
historian Motti Golani is one of the voices you won't hear in
the United States. The following is from a
review of his latest book, Wars Don't Just Happen,
in the Tel Aviv daily Ha'aretz:
identifies and analyzes the tendency of the Israeli political
and military establishments and, following in their footsteps,
Israeli society as a whole to base themselves on a "culture
of power" and on the "understanding" that every problem Israel
faces can be solved through the use of military power. . . .
the foundation of his book is an important fundamental assumption,
which, although not stated explicitly, provides the only means
for understanding the processes that have led to the fact that
Israeli society has learned how to live with the 'consistent choice
of the military option.' In other words, he is talking about the
development of a unique culture, which could be termed a 'military
culture.' In this culture, military issues are always given top
priority and they invariably take precedence over all of Israeli
society's spheres of activity. . . .
also considers the extent to which Israel's political-military
leadership uses fear-mongering tactics in security issues. That
leadership generates anxiety in order to mobilize Israeli society
and to deflect the public's gaze from domestic problems, such
as a deteriorating economic situation or a growing unemployment
rate. . ."
all Israelis now, right? Erase the proper nouns, and this
could be a book about contemporary America.
course, the U.S. is still very different from its chief ally.
In Israel, you
can criticize Israeli policies.
~ Matthew Barganier
recent column by Matthew Barganier
All Israelis Now Except for the Palestinians
the Cynicism Begin!
Guest Column from National Review
Aural MOAB for the Middle East
Barganier works for an educational philanthropy in Baton Rouge,
LA. A late bloomer in his mid-twenties, he has only recently joined
the ranks of web punditry. He is an alumnus of Louisiana State
University and the University of Alabama.