Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Clued out

Gerald Kaufman, a British MP, had a bit to say about Israeli society and Sharon's latest incarnation in yesterday's Guardian. Here's an excerpt:

All terrorist attacks are unjustifiable atrocities. Five Israelis are the latest victims. Over the past months, 15 Palestinians, two of them children, have been killed by Israeli troops. Their deaths attracted no headlines, but they are dead just the same.

I recently returned from leading the first British parliamentary delegation to the Palestinian Authority. What we saw is never seen by ordinary, decent Israelis, like the citizens of Netanya - who, since they dare not venture into the occupied territories, have no idea of the persecution of Palestinians being carried out in their name.

It's so true that most Israelis seem to have no idea what's really going on in the Palestinian territories. At least most people I've ever met in Israel don't. I remember when I travelled to an American friend's wedding shortly after the current intifada started and was dying to find out what my Israeli acquaintances felt about what was happening there.

I was shocked that they acted as if their lives were completely divorced from the situation. They told me they thought of the territories as foreign lands and of the Israeli settlers there as freaks. The odd thing was that they didn't connect themselves to the situation at all. But what took me so off guard was that these were people that in any other circumstance I would have totally loved to hang out with. They're generally liberal-minded, hip and cool people who are lots of fun to be around. But they seemed to have a general disconnect when it came to the reality of the injustice their government carries out.

Not that we're all that much different here in the U.S., what with all the activity our government's been up to of late around the world.

And while many of us hope beyond hope that Sharon's moving to the "center" may actually make Palestinians' lives a little better as a result, it's anyone's guess whether that's going to be the case.


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