See this page for links to articles on OpEdNEws that articulate both sides on the issues in the middle east. It is the goal of OpEdNews to air opinions from both sides to stretch the envelope of discussion and communication. Hate statements are not accepted. Discussions of issues and new ideas for solutions are encouraged. .American Israeli, Jeff Halper, Coordinator of ICAHD: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. http://www.icahd.org and a nominee for this years Noble Peace Prize grew up in Hibbing, Minnesota and actually knew Bob Dylan when he was still Zimmerman! When I spoke with Jeff last December in his Jerusalem office he told me that there was something about Israel that spoke to him and so he moved from the USA in 1973 and in 1997 established ICAHD.
"It was at the time when the Oslo peace plan collapsed and the occupation reasserted itself. Many Israeli peace activists began asking Palestinians what the best way to engage with each other was and the answer was blowing in the wind: 'STOP the home demolitions!'
"Since 1967 the Israeli government has destroyed over 2,000 Palestinian homes. 95% of the cases have nothing to do with security. All these homes are on Palestinian private property. The Israeli government will not grant permits for them to build on their own land, and in reality are quietly transferring the Palestinians administratively from the land. They make conditions so intolerable that the Palestinians give up and leave and this is exactly what they are after. Not only do the Palestinians receive no warning when their homes are to be destroyed they are fined $1,500.00!
"I'll get a call at 5 AM from a Palestinian telling me the bulldozers have arrived and we activists go out and engage in civil disobedience by standing up to the bulldozers.
Jeff can no longer count how many times he had been arrested and sentenced to community service. His eyes sparkle while he tells me, "When I tell the judge I am serving the community they just don't get it!
"The Israeli government just does not want to take responsibility and the USA government ignores the situation. Do you know why Israel does not want to become America's 51st state? Because then they would only have two senators!
NOT DAVID, SAMSON, by Jeff Halper
The first line of thought I had (which I am continuing to develop) is Israel as Samson. If there is a single message in the biblical story of Samson, it is the pointlessness of pure power. True, he emerges at a time when the Israelites were "under the hand of the Philistines - and don't we always look for strong heroes to "deliver" us from our enemies? - but all his exploits (fighting the lion; sending three hundred burning foxes across the Philistine's fields; the women he bedded; and, in the end, his murderous suicide when he brought the temple down on himself and three thousand Philistines) did nothing for anyone. Except for a brief flicker in 1993-95 (and who knows if would have been genuine had not Rabin been assassinated?), Israel has relied completely on military strength to secure its hegemony and, in the last 40 years, its Occupation. This line of thought led me to:
(2) ISRAEL PLAYS ITS ROLE IN "THE LONG WAR"
emphasizing the key role Israel plays in securing American Empire and in the Pentagon's conception of its "Long War" to preserve American global hegemony (see "QDR" in the internet). From here I moved to:
(3) AMERICA'S SAMSON
trying to tie together the first two approaches. But people can get playful even in a time of stress and conflict. "Samson" didn't work completely because Israel is smarter than Samson was, and "contributes" to the Empire through the development of weapons systems, of warfare strategies and by conducting dirty military business that leaves the US unscathed. Its manipulates the US and "the situation" for its own purposes. So.....I tried to find a metaphor that combined Samson and a kind of evil (Israel isn't evil, but its policy-makers are, at least to the degree that neo-cons, Bush and their generals are) genius - a Lex Luther maybe. Brainstorming with Jimmy Johnsom, one of our interns, Frankenstein came to mind (he wasn't so dumb in the Mary Shelly books), but that was too clich--ish. A smart Superman? Well, Israel is strong, but only the US is Superman so far (though I believe that we, the people, are its Kryptonite). The best match might be Bruce Manning who periodically turns into the Hulk, but that's getting pretty arcane. I've always seen parallels in The Lord of the Rings (the Occupation being an expression of Mordor/American Empire, Israeli soldiers as orcs, Peres as the good wizard who becomes evil, us peace people as the Frodos mobilizing the progressive forces against US Morrdor) - a good Armageddon model appropriate for the Holy Land). So I started a piece called
(4) GOLLUM RETURNS
Gollum being a combination of intelligence, cunning, some strength, but mostly out for himself, like Israel is......but I digressed quite a ways from the war in Gaza and Lebanon, so I went back to:
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