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"NATIVE RESERVATIONS" FOR PALESTINIANS
"It now emerges that the 'separation' slogan
is not some sort of political strategy but
rather an entire social philosophy and a
guideline for planners: We are over here,
in our national parks - and they are over
there, in their native reservations."
MiD-EasT RealitieS - www.MiddleEast.org - Washington - 5/31:
"Separation" is what they call it to sanatize it. "Statehood" is what they call it to mask what it actually is. But the real reality of what the Israelis are doing is putting the Palestinians on confined and controlled reservations, carefully and intensely restricting them from being able to even visit the great bulk of what just a few years ago was their country.
The following condemnation of the entire process of "separation" comes not from a Palestinian, but from the former Israeli deputy mayor of Jerusalem. And what he outlines is just a small part of the much more extensive plan to disenfranchise the Palestinian people form their own country and have Yasser Arafat legitimize it all in the eyes of much of the world.
ALL THEY WANTED WAS A DIP IN THE SEA
By Meron Benvenisti
[Ha'aretz - 11 May]:
Frequently, reality surfaces and is exposed in the news items appearing in
the back pages of our newspapers. The lofty-sounding phrases like "We will
part company with the Palestinians in peace" or "We will live over here and
they will live over there" and, in fact, all the self-righteous rhetoric used
to depict "our dedication to peace and to the Oslo agreements" are suddenly
shown in all their full-color ugliness, thanks to a routine news item that
appeared, for example, on page 15 of Yedioth Ahronoth (May 8).
The report in question concerns the banishment of thousands of Palestinians
who "set up camp" in Ramat Gan's National Park and on Tel Aviv-Jaffa's
beaches last Friday. The commander of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa police, who was
in charge of the "banishment operation," sounded the alarm bells, calling
attention to the "serious threat to our national security" that is presented
when "entry permits are not issued" to Palestinian schools in the territories
that organize excursions to Israeli locations or to Palestinian families who
come to Israel for a brief vacation. He even promised that, over the upcoming
weekend, the police would be carrying out a "massive operation to prevent
mass tourism emanating from the Palestinian Authority," because these waves
of tourism create a situation where the children of Ramat Gan are forced to
spend their recreation time in their very own national park as they face the
prospect of being "surrounded by thousands of Palestinians."
In point of fact, why on earth should Palestinians visit our recreational
sites? After all, they are allowed entry into Israel only to work at the
routine drudgery we do not want to dirty our hands with, are they not?! It is
preposterous to imagine them bathing in the Mediterranean opposite the Jaffa
beach or opposite the beach of the Charles Clore Park (which was once the
Arab village of Manshiya)!
Why shouldn't they just spend their weekly day off in the arid expanses
Area A? If they are so determined to swim in the sea, all they have to do is
to submit a request to be allowed to pass through the "safe passage" border
crossing point at the entrance point to the Gaza Strip! They have no business
using our crowded beaches. And, when you think of it, what sensible Israeli
would want to be in the proximity of Arabs anyway? Of course, the reason for
that attitude has nothing to do with racism (perish the thought!). No, the
only reason is the "security threat."
The overall plans for our beaches and all the other comprehensive blueprints
never take into account the Palestinian population residing in the
territories. Therefore, if the Palestinians actually get used to the idea
that they can take advantage of the beaches of Tel Aviv-Jaffa or Netanya
whenever they feel like it, we will find ourselves faced with an
environmental disaster. The water of the Mediterranean, the beaches, the air
and the open landscapes are an Israeli monopoly, and the Palestinians deserve
only the crumbs left over from their homeland.
Most of the planners of Israel's future landscape paint a nightmarish
of stifling urban sprawl and environmental destruction. It is no coincidence
that these planners regard the so-called Green Line as the boundary-line of
their blueprints. They deliberately choose to ignore the fact that all of the
Land of Israel located west of the Jordan is a single territorial unit that
is indivisible from the environmental perspective. Similarly, they
deliberately choose to ignore the fact that both Israelis and Palestinians
drink from the same water, breathe the same air and need open spaces and
However, if these planners add millions of Palestinians to the Israeli
population and its needs, their physical planning blueprint for Israel will
become a "Mission Impossible." Even today, the "bedroom cities" in the
territories are acting as a safety valve that allows a certain amount of
pressure to be released from our congested urban centers. Were it not for
Ma'aleh Adumim and Ariel - and the rest of the Jewish settlements with their
detached homes - the greater Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Jerusalem areas would be
impossibly congested in the year 2000, rather than in 2020.
Apparently, it is the Palestinians' fate to be banished - not just from
parks of Ramat Gan, but also from the open spaces of the West Bank - because
those open spaces have already been set aside to serve as Israel's "green
lungs." This, provided that the spaces are not used for the "natural
increase" of the settlements.
It now emerges that the "separation" slogan is not some sort of political
strategy but rather an entire social philosophy and a guideline for planners:
We are over here, in our national parks - and they are over there, in their
native reservations. In order to implement this partition scheme, it would
perhaps be a good idea for us to "give them" their very own state. By doing
so, we will receive the International Stamp of Approval for our demand that
anyone who wants to use Jaffa's beach and bathe in the water must apply for
and be issued a visa.
And what about the "security threat" - that pretext which allows Israelis
distinguish between "apartheid" and "separation." Have no fear, gentle
reader. The "security threat" will always be present because the rage and
frustration over the banishment from Jaffa's beaches circa 2000 will be added
to the desire for revenge that stems from the banishment of the Palestinians
from those very same beaches in 1948.
The descriptions of the massive banishment operation, which is being
for this coming weekend, will again be relegated to the back pages, if any
description at all is given. Meanwhile, on the front page, we will read about
the tireless efforts of members of the cabinet to obtain a final status
agreement with the Palestinians. Only the constantly-crusading,
universalistic, pie-in-the-sky liberals in our society will dare to give more
serious attention to the news item carried on Yedioth's page 15
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