Monday, February 28, 2011

Palestinians and Israeli reality

One of my criticisms of the Israeli peace camp has been that it does not seem entirely familiar with development taking place on the ground, within Palestinian society. In making that claim I am being rather sweeping and possible unfair; it may well be that there is greater awareness of the nuances within Palestinian political and social life by Israelis than I give credit for. That said, comments like those on Thursday gave me pause for thought, since a generally positive impression of the Fayyad plans and the measures implicit within it overlooks some of the starting points for my critique of the situation within the West Bank (e.g. whether market forces are both feasible or indeed justified in the context of occupation – two distinct issues in themselves). As I also mentioned in my post on Thursday, this needn’t prevent Israelis from being able to get a better perspective and understanding on the situation in the West Bank. There is sufficient material available to anyone who wants it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A tale of disconnection

The last two days have offered an interesting juxtaposition between the reality of the occupation and the relatively disconnected nature of the Israeli peace camp.  Both were troubling.

Yesterday I was in Hebron where there were protests against the closure of Shuhada Street in the old city.  Nearby the Israel army provides a round-the-clock presence for 400 settlers who took over part of the old city in 1980 and live behind high walls, barbed wire and various security measures.  We arrived around 1pm to find the protestors – mainly teenagers and boys – going as far as they could into the old city in the street and along the roof tops and throwing rocks at the soldiers.