‘I can’t (dialogue); your chair is on my toe and it’s killing me!’

Palestine Update 285

‘I can’t (dialogue); your chair is on my toe and it’s killing me!’

A short Facebook  reflection on ‘dialogue’ by Tyler Dale Hauger, Information and Project Advisor at The Karibu Foundation, Norway on conflict transformation.

“It is the start of the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, a global campaign to shine light on the need for a just peace and the end of the military occupation. It has been over 11 years since I lived in Jerusalem and over 5 years since I have been back. But I am fortunate to have frequent contact with friends on the ground there.

I wrote my master’s thesis on dialogue processes in Palestine and Israel. One of the many impressions that stuck with me during that process was a conversation with a rabbi in Jerusalem. In particular, he pointed out that the goal of the interreligious initiative changes when the two parties are not coming from equal power backgrounds.  He described the challenges of pursuing alternative goals by using the imagery of two interreligious participants talking, but one of the participant’s feet being crushed by a chair:

“Imagine that I am Palestinian and you are Israeli in the inter-faith encounter. We are sitting opposite each other. You say to me, ‘Well, I want to hear about your traditions. Christmas, or Ramadan, and all that!’ And I say, ‘Well, yeah but – excuse me, but your chair is on my toe.’

And you, as an Israeli, say, ‘No, but – tell me about the fasts in Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr and all that.’ And I say, ‘I can’t because your chair is on my toe and it’s killing me!’ And then you finally respond, ‘But we didn’t come here to talk about that. We came to talk about traditions and liturgy and all that.” The problem is – how can you ignore the situation, the oppression, there? Everything that is going on!?”

This reflection is a classic analogy to the state of the peace process between Palestine and Israel.  Israel has stopped even pretending it wants dialogue. All it now wants is more and more land and to annex more parts of the West Bank. Meanwhile the chair remains on the toe where it really hurts the Palestinian.The new reality is annexation and ‘deal of the century’ is a mere ploy. The world watches with gay abandon knowing full well that it is now they must choose sides. It is unlikely that most ruling classes will do it. Rulers, for most part, are co-opted by corporate maniacs who support Israel’s fascist time table.  It is the streets that must swell with people to press for justice as happened at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle and the Vietnam War before that.Tyler’s analogy is a message to the world. It’s time for mass movements to demand that Israel gets its chair off the toe.

Ranjan Solomon

Netanyahu’s annexation plan will kill Israel
It wipes out, at a stroke, all the carefully erected walls that Israel has built to divide Palestinians from one another

It was to have been the crowning pre-election promise. With it, Benjamin Netanyahu, the man who has dominated Israel for much of three decades, calculated on delivering the coup de grace to his political rivals on the settler right. But Netanyahu’s announcement that he was going to annex the Jordan Valley, and with it nearly one-third of the West Bank, did not turn out like that. Netanyahu boasted that he would be able to annex all the settlements in the heart of his homeland, thanks to “my personal relationship with President Trump”.  Donald Trump, this time, refused to play ball. The White House issued a statement saying there was no change in US policy at this time, and to reinforce the point, Trump sacked his national security adviser, John Bolton, long seen in Jerusalem as their man in Washington.
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Annexation, the two-state illusion and forgetting the Palestinians
How does the international community think it can maintain the relevance of international law, and its own institutions, when it persists in maintaining the discrepancy between human rights rhetoric and a tangible application of legislation? If international law remains tethered to referencing, the international community is allowing Israel to experiment with its interpretation, while expecting the Palestinian people to adhere to an interpretation of international law that reprimands Israel while offering no protection for the colonized.International leniency towards Israel is an asset which Netanyahu recognizes – the decision to annex parts of the occupied West Bank was described as “a gradual process”. Conversely, the PA has acquiesced to a gradual process which dispossessed Palestinians. While Netanyahu violated international law to colonize Palestine with increasing impunity, the PA waited to respond to violations, thus weakening even its own standing in the international community and, even worse, throttling Palestinian options for legitimate resistance.
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Abbas’ threat to end agreements if Israel annexes West Bank Land
If Israel annexes parts of the occupied West Bank, all agreements signed with Israel will end, warned the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.  “All agreements and their resulting obligations would end if the Israeli side annexes the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea, and any part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.” Abbas’ remarks came in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he would annex the Jordan Valley and a number of settlements if he wins next week’s Israeli election. Abbas stressed that Palestinians “have the right to defend our rights and achieve our goals by all available means, regardless of the consequences.” Netanyahu’s statements contradict UN resolutions and international law, he added. Some 650,000 Israeli Jews currently live in more than 100 settlements built since 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
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Israel cuts medical permits for Gazans to halt West Bank entry
Israel has been cutting down on the number of medical treatment permits it issues to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, fearing that they are being abused to move illegally to the West Bank, state prosecutors reportedly told the High Court of Justice this week. Prosecutors disclosed the efforts in a response to a High Court of Justice petition filed by Arab human rights groups.  The prosecutors said cutting the number of permits issued was part of active steps to “halt the growth” of Palestinians moving from Gaza to the West Bank without a permit from Israel. The response said that Israel regards them as “illegal aliens.” Israel has been cutting down on the number of medical treatment permits it issues to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, fearing that they are being abused to move illegally to the West Bank.
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Palestinians in Israel: Netanyahu’s racism makes us want to vote
Campaign posters for the Arab Joint List, an electoral alliance of four Palestinian parties, are visible across the ancient port city. The faces of the List’s main candidates adorn street lamps and apartment buildings. Their slogan, “Our unity is our strength”, is a far cry from six months ago, when the alliance of four parties – Hadash, Taal, Balad and the United Arab List – split into two competing blocs. Both ultimately fared poorly in April’s election, as voter turnout among Palestinian citizens of Israel fell to 49.2 percent. They have regrouped and leaders hope to push out Benjamin Netanyahu, on September 17. The Arab Joint List believes Netanyahu’s incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel could backfire.
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Greek Orthodox Archbishop Says Hebron Real Estate under Threat

Bishop Atallah Hanna, the archbishop of Sebastian Roman Orthodox, stated Saturday, that the ancient Orthodox real estate in the area of ​​Hebron Gate is under serious threat, and that extremist Jewish settlers may seize these properties at any time. The archbishop issued the following statement: “This is a new and renewed calamity targeting our ancient Orthodox estates in Jerusalem. The seizure of Hebron Gate and its buildings means further weakening, and marginalizing Christian presence in Jerusalem…We call on the churches over the world and on the human rights institutions to stand up for the salvation of orthodox real estate in Hebron from the clutches of extremist settlers…“We have been addressing appealing letters to the rest of the world over the past months, calling for a move to stop this impending catastrophe threatening us in Hebron, but we have not yet seen any serious action or any initiatives aimed to break this deal, concluded by the unworthy and submitted to the unworthy. ”

Bishop Atallah explained “those allowing these takeovers are betraying the Church and Jerusalem, and are no better than Judas Iscariot, who betrayed his teacher for 30 silver coins. Unfortunately, others betraying their teachers and Christianity for some dollars still exist, and they are becoming tools serving the enemies of Jerusalem, its sanctities and holy, Islamic and Christian endowments…We shall warn again against the danger of the schemes targeting Hebron, for the news reported by media foreshadows the impending disaster. Settlers may storm the ancient Hebron buildings at any time. We may wake up one day to find the settlers in these buildings with the Israeli flag raised on top of them, he warned.

The Bishop pointed out that “breaking the Hebron deal needs a legal and political effort because this issue is political, being part of the deal of the century and conspiring against Jerusalem, its holy sites and Arab-Palestinian identity. Politicians are quite aware of the moves they should be taking in order to break this deal, in case they are willing to.”

“Take action before it is too late. Do not let Jerusalem bleed alone, its endowments stolen and sanctities targeted. Move before it is too late. Our Christian presence in Jerusalem has become endangered. Targeting us, our holy sites and endowments is targeting all Jerusalem without exception.”
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