29 July 2008

What’s driving the Jerusalem attacks

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 11:39 am by lilithhope

Excerpts from Uri Avnery’s latest perceptive article, which explains the recent incidents/attacks in Jerusalem by situating them within the systematic mistreatment of Palestinian Arabs in this historic city:“In practice, the Jerusalem municipality is a city government by Jews for Jews. Its leaders are chosen by Jews only, and see their main purpose in Judaizing the city. Years ago, Haolam Hazeh magazine disclosed a secret directive to all government and city institutions to make sure that the number of Arabs in the city did not exceed 27.5%, the exact percentage that existed at the time of the annexation.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the elected democratic mayor of West Jerusalem is also the military governor of East Jerusalem.

Since 1967, all mayors have seen their job in this light. Together with all the arms of government, they see to it that Arabs living outside the city do not return to it, and that Arabs living in the city move out of it. A thousand and one tricks, large and small, are employed to this end, from the almost total refusal of building permits for rapidly growing Arab families, to the cancellation of residency rights for people who spend some time abroad or in the West Bank […]

A young man from Sur Baher recently shot pupils of a religious seminary in West Jerusalem. A young man from Jabal Mukaber drove a bulldozer and ran over everything that crossed his path. This week, another youngster from Umm Touba repeated exactly the same act. All three of them were shot dead on the spot.

 

The attackers were ordinary young men, not particularly religious. It seems than none of them was a member of any organization. Apparently, a young man just gets up one fine morning and decides that he has enough. He then carries out an attack all by himself, with any instrument at hand – a pistol bought with his own money, in the first instance, or a bulldozer he drives at work, in the two others.

If this is indeed the case, a question presents itself: why is this being done by Jerusalemites? First, because they have the opportunity. A person who drives a bulldozer at a building site in West Jerusalem can just crash into a passing bus in the next street. The driver of a heavy truck can run over people. It is relatively easy to carry out a shooting attack, like the recent event at the Lion’s Gate, the perpetrators of which were not caught. No intelligence service can prevent this, if the attacker has no partners and is not a member of any organization.

From the utterances of the commentators this week, one can gather that they cannot even imagine the anger that accumulates in the mind of a young Arab in Jerusalem throughout the years of humiliation, harassment, discrimination and helplessness. It is easier and more amusing to go into pornographic descriptions of the 72 virgins waiting for the martyrs in the Muslim paradise – what they do with them, how they do it to them, who has enough energy for them all.

One of the main contributing factors for the stirring up of hatred is the demolition of “illegal” homes of Arab residents, who are quite unable to build “legally”. The dimension of official stupidity is attested to by the demand of the Shin-Bet chief, voiced this week again, to destroy the homes of the attackers’ families, for the sake of “deterrence”. Apparently he has not heard about the dozens of studies and the accumulated experience, which prove that every destroyed home becomes an incubator for new hate-driven avengers.

This week’s attack is especially instructive. It is quite unclear what actually happened: did Ghassan Abu-Tir plan the attack in advance? Or was this a spontaneous decision in a moment of excitement? Was this an attack at all – or did the bulldozer driver run into a bus by accident and try, in a state of panic, to escape – running over his pursuers, becoming a target for a shooting spree by passersby and soldiers? In the atmosphere of suspicion and fear that pervades Jerusalem now, every road accident involving an Arab becomes an attack, and every Arab driver involved in an accident will in all probability be executed on the spot, without a trial. (It should be remembered that the first intifada broke out because of a road accident, in which a Jewish driver ran over some Arabs.)”

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19 June 2008

Beirut-Jerusalem, 325km

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 10:32 am by lilithhope

An Israeli soldier at a border crossing point showing the distance to Jerusalem and Beirut

An Israeli soldier at a border crossing point showing the distance to Jerusalem and Beirut. Photograph: David Furst/AFP; from Israel seeks Lebanon talks after Gaza pact

There is one particularly interesting thing about this photograph. The names of Beirut and Jerusalem are written in 3 languages: English, Hebrew and Arabic. The Arabic name for Jerusalem is “Al Quds”, but in the photo, the Arabic script under Jerusalem reads “Iyurushalem”, which is a mere transliteration of the Hebrew name for the city… The word “Iyurushamem” does not exist in Arabic, it does not have any meaning.

The Arabic script in that photo has been colonized, and therefore so has the concept, the place that it indicates. “Al Quds” has been made invisible, non-existant.