Tuesday, May 15, 2018

West of Eden: Clueless on Gaza

What Prime Minister Netanyahu likes to refer to as Israel's "eternal, undivided capital", with a stretch of the separation wall that divides it in the foreground (photo by Haaretz/Olivier Fitoussi). It's not eternal either, obviously. It was the administrative-religious center of an Israelite polity for much though nowhere near all of the time from the 9th century BCE to the 1st century CE, most often under the patronage of Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Seleucid, and eventually Roman overlords, but frequently totally destroyed and its inhabitants banished; when Romans or Christians were in charge Jews were not allowed to live there at all, so it was better for the few remaining local Jews, after Muslims were invented in the 7th century, to have them in charge, but the only Jewish state that existed anywhere between the last total destruction in 70 CE and the founding of Israel in 1948 was the kingdom of the Khazars extending from what's now Ukraine south and east to the Caucasus, who whimsically decided to become Jews by religion in the 8th or 9th century and lingered as a power until near the end of the 10th. Let's also remember that these were the days memorialized in the oldest parts of the Arthur cycle and the Nibelungenlied of the great Völkerwanderungen when the Franks pushed the Gauls our of France and the Goths took Iberia and most of Italy and the Saxons and others got Britain and the Finns and Ugrians and Turks pushed into their modern territory and the Mongols seized China for a couple of centuries and Arabs took control of practically the whole Mediterranean and nobody ended up with the homeland they were expecting, just saying.
She's a rabbi, so she has to be kind, but she's allowed to be angry. IDF soldiers have killed at least 58 Gazan demonstrators—reports keep saying they "died", as if the bullets were just hanging there to be wandered into—and shot more than 1,300, attempting to hit them in the legs so that they're merely disabled, putting the Gaza hospital system into terrible crisis, because they're just not equipped to handle that many shooting victims at once. In Washington, deputy press secretary Raj Shah suggests they're dying on purpose, just to make the Israelis look bad:

Reminded me of something from 12 years ago:
Trump administration announced that it's in the "late phases" of finalizing an Israel-Palestine peace plan, but US ambassador David Friedman didn't seem to have a clue what the agreement might look like or what form it existed in up till now, and it seemed clear to me that the Trump administration team "led" by Jared Kushner has actually done nothing whatever. "There are proposals that could be generated that would create a more optimistic future for the Palestinians," says Friedman. "And I think [that is] something that we're anxious to try to advance."

They don't have a complete transcript of his NPR interview up, but the ambassador is further quoted as saying that the move of the US embassy to what appears to be a gas station in the Jerusalem suburbs is a good thing because that would "remove from the Palestinians the right to veto recognition by the United States and other countries of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel." Negotiations always go more smoothly if you throw one of the disputing parties out of the room.

"By moving our embassy to Jerusalem, we have shown the world once again that the United States can be trusted… The United States stands with Israel because we believe — we know — that it is the right thing to do," Kushner said.
The United States can be trusted by whom to do what? You've shown the Palestinians that their point of view is entirely invisible, as if they didn't exist at all.

When Kushner remarked, "those provoking violence are part of the problem, and not part of the solution," he meant to be referring to the putative Hamas plotters cynically exploiting the demonstrators, as if that were the only possible reason for their despair, as opposed to being confined, for the past 11 years, nearly two million people, in a virtual prison camp of 140 square miles. But I misheard him at first and thought he meant the demonstrators themselves, "provoking" the IDF soldiers to shoot them. That really is, in a sense, how the Netanyahu and Trump governments feel, as their enjoyment of the embassy festivities is spoiled by all this unpleasantness, that they are its true victims.

Meanwhile, it's Nakba Day, and the fasting month begins tonight. I haven't even mentioned the horror of bringing anti-Semite End Time pastors Robert Jeffress and John Hagee to bless the occasion on behalf of those anxious to bring on the Battle of Armageddon so all the world's Muslims and Jews can be be thrown at last into the Lake of Fire (but Steve M covers it). Trump's idiotic "promise keeping" (keeps his promises to Sheldon Adelson) makes things worse every time.

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