There are so many interesting things going on in Israel/Palestine, I wish I had time to fill you in on all of it properly. But the book is taking all my energy at the moment. Just like there were so many more elements to writing a book than I ever imagined, the same is true of promotion and marketing!
In brief: Palestinian refugees have twice approached Israel’s borders unarmed in the past two months and tried to return to their homeland, both times resulting in live firing by the Israeli army and several killings. But dozens of people actually made it into territories controlled by Israel — one man made it all the way to Jaffa — for the first time in 63 years.
The Israeli government completely freaked out. But the refugees didn’t do anything but laugh and smile and visit. Which made it even worse for the Israeli government. Refugees returning home peacefully, without killing or maiming or pillaging like the propaganda says they would if they ever got the chance? It’s Netanyahu’s worst nightmare.
Then there’s the Flotilla that wasn’t (yet) because of Israel’s acts of sabotage and arm-twisting of the Greek government. Most of the ten ships scheduled to sail to Gaza in a show of solidarity and to publicize Israel’s brutal siege, including an American boat called The Audacity of Hope, have been either rendered unseaworthy by acts of clandestine sabotage or impounded by Greek port authorities at Israel’s “request.”
There’s also the “flytilla” of activists flying by the hundreds in to Tel Aviv and announcing they’re planning on visiting the West Bank (instead of cringing and lying like we usually do to slip through with minimal hassles and get on with our lives), about 200 of whom were turned back at their home airports because Israel spied on their Facebook accounts and got them blacklisted.
The activists who did get to Ben Gurion Airport were treated like dangerous terrorists instead of largely-geriatric peace activists, and most were arrested and/or deported. It’s a brilliant exposure of the length the Israeli government will go to to keep the Palestinian people isolated from the rest of the world, and the abject terror they have of principled non-violent activism.
But the cherry on top has to be the law just passed by Israel’s Knesset outlawing calls for boycotting anything in Israel, including the settlements. Here’s an excellent article by an Israeli about the asinine law, and the atmosphere in Israel in general these days.
Here’s a smart, sobering, on-point article about the mood in Palestine these days.
For everything else, just check the Mondoweiss blog like I do.
But all of this is peanuts compared to what’s expected this September, when Palestine’s claim to statehood will go before the UN General Assembly (inshallah). If it fails, it will be the final nail in the coffin of anyone’s hopes for peaceful international intervention based on international law at the government level. (Hopes in the “peace process” with the US and Israel being the main brokers died a long time ago.)
If it succeeds, the Palestinians will have a better platform from which to demand their rights under international law. But Israel is very adept at ignoring international law in all its forms, no matter who demands it. (It helps that its big brother is the most powerful country on earth, though it may soon also be the most broke country on earth.)
Either way, it’s a completely unsustainable and intolerable situation with no clear way out, and these massive isometric forces are just waiting for a spark to cause a slip that might lead to an earthquake.
Then again, these totally deadlocked situations sometimes evolve in surprising ways. Look at the fall of Apartheid, or of the Soviet Union. No one suspected these things to happen when they did, or with a relative minimum of violence. You just never know.
P.S. Now that things have settled down slightly, I’m ready to offer signed copies again. Same deal — one book in the continental US is $15 plus $2 shipping. If you order two or more, shipping is free. Five or more, they’re $14 each. Ten or more they’re $12 each. You can pay with Paypal, check, or credit card. Just send me your mailing address, how many copies you want, and whom they should be signed to.