Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Settlement semantics

A dear (and brilliant I might add) friend of mine, who is also a human rights activist and worker, rightly pointed out to me in an email that the correct word to use is Disengagement, not withdrawal, and for good reason:

"Please don't use the word withdrawal to describe disengagement. i know it sounds nitpicky, but 'withdrawal' has political/legal implications of ending the occupation (and israel's repsonsibility) for gaza; the one and only correct term is 'disengagement' and that's why the israelis use it amongst themselves."

I stand corrected. Of course, I knew this, but I supposed I tired of saying the D word one too many times last week and the implication slipped my mind.

He also had this to say on the origin of settlements:

I believe the israelis began construction of a settlement in/near kfar darom even during the six-seven months of occupation in 1956/1957. I remember seeing a ref to it in avi shlaim's 'iron wall'.

The main problem is the of the fundamental issue of EQUALITY. If Jews, whether escaping persecution or not, whether in the 1900s,1950s, or 1990s, had come to live on the land _alongside_ Palestinians asequals, they would have been like the Armenians (which is why there is no great 'Arab-Armenian conflict'); what distinguishes the enterprise of Zionist settlement, whether in the pre-state period or after 1967, is the desire to establish a state for all Jews and for Jews only -- and that can't be square with equality.


Blogger mink said...

Actually, the word in Hebrew means something more like 'disconnection'. Yes, semantics are important: I wrote about it when I was in Jerusalem in April.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Celeste said...


I appreciate the time you take to tell the world about your daily experiences. I learn from you and take energy from the difference that you make.

I am here in Hollywood, Florida waiting for Hurricane Katrina to pass. I am an English high school teacher, AND an Army Reservist. My school was closed for two days, which means my schedule is postponed. I am trying to have my students write essays and learn about intolerance, search within their souls, to find some kind of solution for a bright future for EVERYONE, in time for September 21, and before I get called to Active Duty once again.

Last year I missed my three-year old's birthday. This year I have been planning since March, but the storm, like yours, will not make me cancel my plans. On Saturday I will still celebrate her day. Shukran for re-energizing me. Gracias for showing that a little water, like a little sand, isn't much. Merci for writing so bluntly, and so honestly despite the hardship.

I look for your postings just about every day, and share them with my students. God bless you.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Laila said...

Dear Celeste,
thank you for the post. It means a lot to hear you say that you share my entries with your students. I would curious how they react, Gaza must seem like a different planet. I'm sorry you have to be away from your son-I can't even imagine how that would be. Please be safe and continue to stop by and email me

11:57 PM  
Blogger Eliana said...

Laila, Laila, Laila,

As a Jewish Zionist, I'd like to dispute this blog entry:)...

Religious Jews could really care less who lives alongside them, whether they are Jewish or not. (As long as they are not being persecuted or attacked.)

Jews would like majority governmental control over the land, but that is only to assure that Jews are not persecuted there. That does NOT in ANY WAY mean we think it's okay to persecute others (again, unless they try to kill us).

Laila, you yourself have often talked about the problem of widespread lawlessness within your own community. In the ghettos of Europe (which were much worse than conditions in Gaza) and in the concentration camps of WWII, Jews did not face this problem. To us, it is unfathomable that violence is so glorified in any society....

As difficult as it is for you to live with lawless extremists running around, imagine how much more difficult it is trying to figure out how to live in equality with a lawless extremist neighbor who wishes to blow himself up on your bus.

This is the current situation, and I think we feel that the real power for change within the Palestinian community lies with the Palestinians themselves.

I would love to talk about this issue in greater detail, but my fingers are tired...

10:00 AM  
Blogger Laila said...

Dont' even know where to begin with this one. I'm going to make it short and simple. The land that Jews want majority governmental control over wasn't there's in the first place (even if they chose Uganda, the same analogy applies)-and therein lies the problem.

Have you ever thought about the millions of Palestinian refugees that were forced out of their homes, all to make room for the Jewish state, for, as you say, a Jewish refuge from persecution? Have you ever though of the irony that any person who has a fourth-generation Jewish maternal link has a right to retun to Israel, but a Palestinain refugee, SUCH AS MY HUSBAND, cannot? I live in Gaza, yet he cannot come and live with me. IRonic, isn't it?

Here's a very very simple analogy: Its akin to a low-budget film in which a man kidnaps a little girl for ransom, places her in a room, etc. He allows her out for a bathroom visit, she tries to escape, but he catches her. This time, he decides to punish her for trying to regain her freedom, because she's been bad. He tried to be "nice" and "humane" to her, and this is how she repaid him? How can he ever live side by side with her now, she is violent; she does not want to live peacefully under his rule. He locks her in the basement and only allow her out under his supervision. And so on and so forth.

Esstentially, you are blaming the victim.

I think as a religous Zionst you have to ask yourself, 1) were Jews IN Palestine more or less "secure" from persecution 55 years ago than they are today, and do you think they will be more or less secure in 10 years with all the walls, fences, closures, and persecution of Palestinains?

Yes, power for change lies within.

But that is not factoring in the outside variable of occupation into the equation.

Did you ever think about the fact that the Jewish state, whether you like it now or not, was founded on terror? That is the reality.

More later.

12:19 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

Since a million words are insufficient, I'll keep my comment concise.
The very reason the Jews were awarded the right to "reconstitute" their national home by international law in 1922 was the fact that everyone knew this was Jewish land, and they didn't even mention the word Arabs when referring to the non-Jewish communities in the area that the Jewish state would have to protect only so far as private/personal rights, - not national rights which Arabs never had.
And Israel is not only for Jews as claimed in the blog. Our Declaration of Independence makes that quite clear. Oh, and "thanks" for the recent Kassam missiles from Bet Hanoun. Really makes us appreciate your repect for what Israel did with disengagement, or expulsion as we prefer.

2:10 PM  
Blogger End racism said...

Thank you for this post, Laila. I greatly enjoy reading your blog. I am half-Armenian and this post got my attention. I've been fighting comparisons between "the Jews" (they really mean the "Israelis" or zionist Jews) and the Armenians for the longest time. There are just so many things in which the two groups differ that finding one common thing between them would be like searching for a needle in a haystack. In fact, the other day I was arguing with an Armenian in Armenia (not a diasporan Armenian, and therefore not someone who has lived among Arabs since birth, such as myself) who kept insisting that we must support the Jews who "got their homeland back" because it would be hypocritical of us not to support them when we've been massacred too (a fallacy, if I may add). I asked him why we shouldn't support the Palestinians who have been massacred and ethnically cleansed by "the Jews". He told me "they are Muslims"..... Alas, way too many Armenians have anti-Muslim bias, which is not justified even if the Turks who massacred us were Muslims or did it in the name of their religion (which was not the REAL reason). It is ironic that this person I was arguing with, who uttered these xenophobic, hateful comments, is a huge advocate for unconditional relations between Turkey and Armenia, before the Turks recognise the genocide (contradiction? what's that?) ... It pains me to say that there is way too much racism amongst Armenians and in particular religious bias. They also often forget that Jews and "Israelis" have in the past and still continue to deny that the Armenian Genocide ever took place, and are active tools used by Turkey in its lobbying activities against recognition (and in particular in the States, which is where the Jewish / "Israeli" lobby is most powerful). Ironically, the countries where the Jewish lobby is not powerful have already recognised the Genocide...

9:38 AM  
Blogger eliana said...

This is probably the last post I'll make. I'm not interested in mudslinging, Marsden...You should feel free to read up on the 1948 War, though, if you'd like to throw around the term "genocide".

Laila, I have e-mailed you privately.

9:13 AM  
Blogger End racism said...

Is that the best you managed to do? Come up with a vague argument? I am assuming that you do not believe that there was an Armenian Genocide, since you use quotation marks. I guess it's only a genocide when it's against Jews.

1:34 PM  
Blogger eliana said...

No, I am simply saying that before you throw around terms like "ethnic cleansing" related to the Middle East, you should examine the full history, and that includes the War of 1948.

Of course there was an Armenian genocide. Why would people dispute that?

7:17 PM  
Blogger End racism said...

Why would people dispute that?
I don't know - YOU (and your Jewish buddies) tell me.

you should examine the full history, and that includes the War of 1948.
I have. I still don't see what your point is.

12:59 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home