Analysis News

Roger Cohen thinks Israelis and Palestinians just need to get along

How a popular columnist fools readers into a false understanding of the situation in Israel/Palestine.

Oh man, is he smooth.

There is a reason Roger Cohen is a columnist in The Grey Lady: he is a fabulous writer. He is also extremely convincing, and his op-ed from yesterday, “Two Ideas of Israel-Palestine,” is no exception. It reads so well that I am sure he basically had most readers eating out of the palm of his hand.

And if that’s the case, boy, did they fall for it.

Because what Roger Cohen did yesterday is spoon-feed his readers one of the core principles of Liberal Zionism, without which they basically have nothing to say in their political arguments in living rooms all over the world, from Ramat Aviv to Brooklyn. And that core principle goes like this: the blame rests equally on both sides.

The “beauty” of this op-ed, focusing on the roots of the conflict, lies in its simplistic three-part structure. If you haven’t read the piece yet, you should – because the way it is built is crucial to understanding Cohen’s mindset.

I won’t deal much with the opening graph, mostly because Cohen himself is too lazy to put recent events into context. All he does is state that “the facts” – that Palestinians killed Jews in a synagogue during the recent wave of violence. Way to go for giving your readers a good picture about what’s going on Jerusalem, Cohen!

But the real gem is the second part of his piece, which include two long paragraphs in which Cohen attempts to bring up every argument possible from each side’s story. Both are equal in length, making the reader think that these are simply two parallel lines that will never meet. They’re just too entrenched in their own narratives. Everybody’s right.

The worst is his last paragraph:

The sheer arrogance of telling us that “you guys just better get along already ‘cause you’re stuck with each other,” especially from one living in a country who has enabled the occupation of millions for almost 50 years, is shameful and enraging.

I’ve got news for you, Roger Cohen, this isn’t some kind of Cold War between two nuclear powers. This is a rich, armed-to-the-teeth colonial regime that has been stepping on the neck of an oppressed people for 47 years. That’s the narrative. That’s the story.

Your nice maneuver of...

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Netanyahu government’s true colors are shining through

Even as the flames spread from Jerusalem into the West Bank and back over the Green Line, Israeli leaders are showing no restraint in their statements and actions. It feels like they just don’t care anymore.

Arab youth clash with Israeli riot police in Kafr Kanna, Israel, November 8, 2014. The protests took place after an Arab man from the village was shot and killed by Israeli policemen. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Arab youth clash with Israeli riot police in Kafr Kanna, Israel, November 8, 2014. The protests took place after an Arab man from the village was shot and killed by Israeli policemen. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

These are tough, disgusting times in Israel/Palestine. The flames in Jerusalem, which were ignited well before the recent war in Gaza, seem to be climbing higher every day, spreading to the West Bank and inside the Green Line as well.

The recent events also seem to be bringing out some of Israeli leaders’ true color. Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the Israeli public security minister (something equivalent to a police minister), had some very harsh words after the last attack by a Palestinian who ran over a group of Border Police and pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing two and wounding others. After a police officer killed the attacker on the scene, Aharonovich said that, “the sentence for any any terrorist who harms civilians is to be killed.” He added that all such events should end that way. To hell with the rule of law, right guys?

But who would have thought that the police would heed their boss’ call so soon? On Saturday evening cops shot 22-year-old Khir Hamdan from Kafr Kanna (well inside Green Line) in the back after he attacked a police van with a knife. No taser, no shooting towards the legs. Just a bullet in the chest as he was running away. To make things worse, instead of calling an ambulance they dragged him into the van like he was a sack of potatoes, while still alive. I’m pretty sure I saw that scene on a Sopranos episode; I just can’t remember which season.

Obviously, the killing heated things up. As would be expected of a wise leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thought this might be a good time to try and...

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After ‘chickenshit’ remark, FBI finds traces of ‘truth serum’ in West Wing [satire]

The FBI has found traces of sodium thiopental in several areas in the White House, causing staff to stop holding back their true feelings on Israel. 

U.S. President Barack Obama laughing aboard Air Force One (Pete Souza/White House Photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama laughing aboard Air Force One (Pete Souza/White House Photo)

Just 24 hours after a senior administration official called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “chickenshit,” FBI agents found traces of sodium thiopental, also known as the “truth serum,” in several areas of the White House. The findings could explain the remarks given to Jeffrey Goldberg in his Atlantic interview.

According to FBI agent Dana Mulder, traces of the liquid were found “in the Oval Office as well. We’re still conducting some tests, but it looks like there’s been some tampering in the kitchen, too.”

“If the serum was put in food given to other staff,” Mulder added, “it could explain why we’re seeing other West Wing officials saying what they really think about Israel and the peace process.” Indeed, over the past day various officials have been especially candid about the Jewish State, its policies and its leaders.

One staff member told +972 Magazine what he had been hearing over the past day: “It’s all coming out. It’s as if people are actually stating facts about Israel and forgetting all about AIPAC. No fear!”

Media outlets across the world have been quoting various officials over the past 48 hours, all of them with very strong words for Israel. One administration official was recently quoted saying: “They keep Arabs off buses and expect us not to call it apartheid? Fuck that!”

Agent Mulder told +972 that the effects of sodium thiopental usually wear off in a few hours, but it seems that the dosage used in the White House was high and that the effects could linger for another day or two. “We’re expecting some officials to still come out with other facts they don’t say because of politics, such as ‘the two-state solution is dead’ and ‘what happened in Gaza this summer was a massacre, no other way to put it,’” Mulder added. “That’s why we started the investigation to begin with. There’s just no way any administration official would be able to bluntly speak the truth like this to media without...

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New Israeli theme park celebrates wonders of occupation (satire)

A new amusement park outside Tel Aviv celebrates the world of occupation, taking visitors through the wonders of apartheid and oppression, still ongoing just minutes away from the park.

Shurat Hadin ad

Shurat Hadin ad

After the huge success of his Mission to Israel tours (as seen in the ad above), where thousands of American Jews over the years tour the borders of Israel, meet Mossad agents, talk to Palestinian collaborators and walk the Hamas terrorist trail, Israeli entrepreneur Eli Soneh-Aravim has taken it up one level and opened the ultimate theme park for the American Zionist: OccupiedLand.

“The idea is for people to really feel how it is to oppress someone and not just fund and enable it for decades from abroad,” says Soneh-Aravim to +972. “The visitor becomes an apartheid activist for a day – it’s a feeling they’ll never forget,” he added.

The park map given at the entrance gives some information about the rides available to visitors:

It’s a Small Strip – Sing along to the classic tune “It’s a Small Strip After All” while on a delightful musical boat tour hosted by the children of Gaza. From a bombed dock, climb aboard a cozy boat and set sail along a 10-minute journey through mostly rubble, devastation and amputees.

Terrorists of the Tunnels – Probably one of the most beloved rides in OccupiedLand since it opened, ride through an open APC while surrounded by bloodthirsty Hamas terrorists. Escape through the maze of tunnels – but beware: there may be surprises around each corner! Careful not to bump into any goats being smuggled from Egypt!

The IDF Revenge – Dubbed the “scariest ride in the world”, riders on this mechanism are put in a red circle on the ground on their backs, as an F-16 flies over and drops 2 one-tonne bombs on them. Not for the faint of heart.

The Bibi Pendulum – Subjecting riders to various levels of angular momentum, this ride takes you all the way up to the sky high (and barely visible) two state solution and just seconds later swings violently towards an announcement on new settlements in the West Bank. Guaranteed to make your stomach churn!

Peace Process Carousel – Kids will love this classic. Sit on top of famous U.S. secretaries of state and Middle...

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When Israel grabs land, the U.S. grabs a thesaurus [satire]

The U.S. State Department spokesperson and her deputy are finding it difficult to  continue condemning Israeli plans to build more settlements in the West Bank.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Deputy Chief of Staff Jon Finer, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, and State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki. (State Dept. Photo)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Deputy Chief of Staff Jon Finer, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, and State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki. (State Dept. Photo)

Marie Harf, Deputy State Department Spokesperson: Hi Jen.

Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson: Hi Marie, sup?

Harf: Not much. Hey, did you see Obama’s suit?

Psaki: I know, right?? What’s UP with THAT?

Harf: I literally spilled my vente pumpkin spice latte.

Psaki: I know, right?? Anyway, sup?

Harf: So, the Israelis announced they’re gonna do this huge land appropriation.

Psaki: Fuck. Not again.

Harf: I know, right??

Psaki: So listen, type me up something along the lines of “We condemn in the strongest terms, the –”

Harf: — sorry, we can’t use “condemn”.

Psaki: Why not?

Harf: Used it before.

Psaki: Oh. OK. So, let’s do “decry”.

Harf: Nope.

Psaki: We did “decry”?

Harf: Yup. Just before the Biden visit, remember?

Psaki: OK, OK. How about “denounce”?

Harf: Nope.

Psaki: “Deplore”?

Harf: Sorry.

Psaki: Wait, how many times have they done this?

Harf: Do you really want me to answer that?

Psaki: No, no… I don’t. OK, “bemoan”?

Harf: Nah.

Psaki: We’ve used “bemoan”? What kind of press secretary would use that? Jesus.

Harf: I know, right??

Psaki: “Lament”?

Harf: Not sure, but I just shiver at the thought of what Matt Lee might say about that.

Psaki: Yuck.

Harf: I know. Yuck. Matt Lee. Blechhh…

Psaki: “Disapprove”?

Harf: Nope.

Psaki: “Regret”?

Harf: Ha, you’re funny.

Psaki: “Oppose”.

Harf: Nah, don’t forget AIPAC.

Psaki: Fuck!

Harf: I know, ri–

Psaki: –Shut up, Marie!

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Israeli right-wing politician: 'Annex territories, grant Palestinians citizenship'

Israeli right-wing politician and former IDF general Efi Eitam has made remarks that few would have expected to hear from him.

Effi Eitam (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Effi Eitam (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Former IDF general and politician Efi Eitam is known for his extreme right-wing views and sharp tongue. From calling Arabs a “ticking bomb” to a “cancer,” Eitam has never shown much warmth for his neighbors.

Which is why it was surprising to read reports from the national religious website Srugim, quoting Eitam as saying the following remarks in a panel held last night to commemorate Berl Katznelson:

The State of Israel should annex Judea and Samaria and grant full citizenship to all Palestinians. Demography is not a numerical predestination, it is an expression of the joie de vivre of the nation. When a nation is happy, its number of children grows, that’s why I’m not scared of demography. Whoever can’t live with Arabs is not a partner of mine.

I trust the Arab public in Israel, it has proved itself. I have no fear of a bi-national state, the solution is not B-class citizens nor high fences. It is a simple and humane solution, Palestinians must be granted full rights and should vote for the Knesset. Whoever truly wants peace, should agree to accept more Arab citizens to his state, and whoever is part of the State of Israel whose borders need to be between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea for many reasons, needs to be a citizen with full rights and obligations.

Now, I’m not that naive to believe everything coming out of Eitam’s mouth. The bi-national state he talks about is probably not exactly what we think it is. But since there are more and more voices on the right talking about one state, it’s important to listen, find the nuances, and try to understand where these people really stand.

Is the right going through a major shift in ideology – or is this a different way of reaching the same target? My money’s on the latter, but… never say never?

Related:
What is the Israeli Right’s one-state vision?
Bennet’s response to Palestinian UN bid: Annexation
Palestinians repopulate Jordan Valley village, in protest of looming annexation

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Scores of Israelis injured in ‘Showing Empathy’ challenge [satire]

Dozens of Israelis have shared videos of themselves attempting to show empathy for Palestinian dead as part of the latest craze on social media, only to need medical service themselves.

When Alex from Ramat Gan posted his video challenging Israelis to say “It’s horrible to see Gazan children die” – but without saying the word “but” afterwards – he never thought the attempt to gap bridges would cause so much pain and injury.

“I saw the ALS challenge being so successful, I thought I could do something similar in this field. I just wanted to put something out there to show that we Israelis actually do give a damn, so I started the SE – Showing Empathy – challenge,” Alex told +972, “but I didn’t know it was going to be so hard for people.”

As of yesterday, over 200 Israelis have been rushed to hospital with various tongue injuries after attempting the challenge.

Rivka, from Petah Tikva, told +972: “I twied not to fay fa word ‘but’ like Alex did in his wideo, but fen my tongue got all tangled up and I had to caw fa pawamedics.”

Some injuries weren’t all tongue related. David from Tel Aviv said that “I really tried not to say it, but when I got to the word ‘die’ I felt this uncontrollable urge to say something more. I put my hands over my mouth, but it wasn’t working, I could feel the ‘but’ coming out, so I tried to turn off the camera before it happened and tripped over my sofa.” David has three fractured ribs and a sprained ankle and is still recovering in hospital.

Another patient in the bed next to David was recovering from reconstruction surgery to her tongue after biting so hard on it in an attempt to avoid saying “but,” she cut the vital organ in two.

Today Alex is asking people not to attempt taking the challenge. “So far I’m the only one who’s succeeded. I just don’t want people to hurt themselves anymore. Enough is enough. Children are dying, but it’s just not worth it. Oh shit. Did I just say that? Can you take that out?”

Related:
‘Living with political depression in Tel Aviv is harder than dying in Gaza’
Even Israel’s top satire show thinks ‘apartheid’ is the word

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Not even a 'bump on the wing' these days when killing Palestinians

No one in Israel really talks about the killing of innocent Palestinians anymore. There was a time when we murdered people and it actually bothered us.

On Tuesday, the IDF attempted to kill Mohammed Deif, the military leader of Hamas in Gaza, by dropping five one-tonne bombs on a home. As these lines are written it is not yet clear whether Deif was killed. What can be said with certainty, however, is that his wife and eight-month-old son definitely were.

Deif has been on Israel’s wanted list for years. On Tuesday night it saw a chance, and despite the fact that it knew of other innocent civilians in the building, it went after him. The decision was made.

And as we’ve seen in the past few weeks, this is not the first time.

Mourners fill the mosque during the funeral for 26 members of the Abu Jame’ family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack on the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Reports indicate that 15 of the 24 killed were children of the Abu Jame’ family. (photo: Activestills)

Mourners fill the mosque during the funeral for 26 members of the Abu Jame’ family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack on the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Reports indicate that 15 of the 24 killed were children of the Abu Jame’ family. (photo: Activestills)

But no one in Israel really talks about these things anymore. I say this because I remember a time when we used to. There was a time when we murdered people and it actually bothered us.

I was reminded of this recently after watching a short documentary made by military analyst Yoav Limor for Israel’s Channel  2, called “The Human Shield.” If you understand Hebrew I highly recommend watching it, for it gives deep insight into the chilling justifications and rationalizations Israelis make for killing innocent people.

One poignant segment is that of human rights attorney Michael Sfard, who compares what is happening in Gaza today to what happened in 2002 when Israel killed then-Hamas military chief Salah Shehadeh. Sfard points out that there was a debate about the morality of killing Shehadeh, who died together with 14...

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'Forward' editor: Compare Israel only to Mideast states

Just because Sisi and Assad are close by doesn’t mean their disgusting policies seep through the border and infiltrate the Israeli system, poisoning our minds. Why not compare ourselves to countries we actually want to be more like?

I gotta tell you, I’m really tired of this.

I’m tired of Jewish right wingers in Israel and the U.S. who say things along the lines of, “Christians have it bad here? You should see what goes on next door in Syria and Egypt,” or things like, “you want to talk to me about human rights? Look at how Assad is butchering his own people, then come talk to me.”

Jane Eisner, editor in chief of the Jewish Daily Forward, did just that:

First of all – yes. But my question to Eisner and others who use this weak argument is this: why do you always compare Israeli policies to those in its nearby vicinity? If a country is in a certain region, it gets a green light to act in a certain way?

If one can only compare Israeli society to Egypt and Syria, does that mean one can only compare U.S. society to Canada and Mexico? Can one compare French democracy to Australian democracy, or is that way too far? Can British and American societies be compared, even though the Atlantic separates them?

Do Americans boast about the democracy in their country only in North America? Or do they compare it to the rest of the world (and try to teach others how to do it)?

Why can’t Israeli “democracy” be compared to Germany? To Ghana? To China? to India? To the Maldives? To Russia? To Finland?

What is this ridiculous obsession with comparing ourselves only to those that are geographically close, and not to those you actually want to be more like – even if they’re 10,000 miles away?

Actually, seeing as how it was all those cultured European Jews who founded the state and are still ruling it (as the Ashkenazi elite), shouldn’t Israel be compared to that continent?

Dear Jane Eisner: start comparing Israel to other countries you would like it to resemble more (maybe even your own!). Just because Sisi and Assad are nearby doesn’t mean their disgusting policies seep through the border and infiltrate the Israeli system, unbeknownst to us, and poison our minds.

Israeli policies are wrong. Period. Compare them and react to...

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WATCH: The warped narrative of a settler - and of mainstream Israel

My first post about the settler-turned-YouTube star Orit Arfa ”did very well” – meaning it got a lot of hits. After writing it I felt a bit ambivalent about my “achievement.” Was I giving her too much attention? Was I providing this person with a stage to promote her ideology of justified (in her opinion) colonialism?

Fortunately, I didn’t have to give it too much thought. I was convinced, and still am, that shedding light on people like Orit Arfa is good for the cause.

Because that’s how people get to know that this is not just a problem of “crazy national religious settlers.” It’s also the behavior and narrative of the middle class secular settlers of Ariel, and the typical Israeli center-right set of beliefs inside Israel proper.

It’s the narrative of government after government for decades. The fanatic settlers are simply emissaries, nothing more, executing the Zionist mission.

It is the narrative of a majority of the Jewish population in Israel/Palestine who still believe that after 66 years of occupation and having the most powerful military in the region, that they are still the victims.

So, that’s why I told Arfa back then “don’t stop.” Keep on doing whatever it is you do. Keep making the worst, most obnoxious, vile and racist videos you can.

And she has.

And I’m glad for that. Because she let’s me show you, the reader, the true face of this country.

(I only wish she’d stop tagging me in her tweets every time she posts one of her travesties.)

Here’s the latest installment, which she posted on her Times of Israel channel.

Enjoy.

Related:
Inshallah, the Jews won’t stop
Close your books! We’re having a pop quiz in Hasbara!
The IDF: Strong like… Turkish coffee? 




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By taking a step back, U.S. gives hope to Israel-Palestine

President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s statements on Thursday are the most important – and positive – development to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades. Now we’ll have to see if they leave the stage for good.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat address reporters on the Middle East Peace Process Talks at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat address reporters on the Middle East Peace Process Talks at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

After we all dealt with the surprising Hamas-Fatah unity deal for the past few days (is it good, is it bad?), the U.S. on Thursday gave the most important statement in President Barack Obama’s presidency concerning Israel/Palestine. Not only is it the most important, it’s probably the most positive development this region has seen since the Oslo Accords were signed.

It is the beginning of Washington leaving the stage.

For the past few months, Obama has been playing “bad cop,” showing little interest in an issue he saw as hopeless. Yet Secretary of State John Kerry, a.k.a. “good cop” (despite a few clashes with Netanyhu here and there), has been the one who claimed he will never give up.

Read +972′s full coverage of the peace process

But today, finally(!), they’re on the same page. First, Obama from Seoul:

And then the State Department:

As I wrote earlier, this current stream of events was a perfect chance, a perfect storm of sorts, for the U.S. to end its embarrassing, damaging handling of the conflict. The Washington-enabled occupation, with generous assistance from AIPAC, has deepened so much that the presence of apartheid in the West Bank can no longer be doubted. In all possible ways to measure success – the U.S. has failed miserably in bringing a solution to the region, or the sides any closer.

In fact, as the years went by the U.S. made things worse. It’s as simple as that.

It seems like the U.S. might be using this chance to...

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Carpe diem, America! Your chance to ditch the Is/Pal conflict is here!

President Barack Obama (White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama (White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Sometimes you just have to wait for the right opportunity.

It could be a sports game, where you wait for your rival to make a mistake.

It could be a blind date gone bad, where you wait for that phone call you planned earlier with your best friend.

It could be that windfall you needed to finally buy that house.

It’s always about a set of conditions that finally, at the right time, converge to make an opportunity.

That opportunity has come for the United States.

John Kerry has blamed the Israelis (or did he?) for the recent impasse. The Israelis are blaming the Palestinians, of course. And the Palestinians blame anyone they can (as they should).

It doesn’t really matter, since the whole blame game has no right to exist to begin with.

There is no way one can put equal blame on Israeli occupiers and occupied Palestinians. Were blacks to blame for Apartheid?

So blaming isn’t really important.

What’s important is the opportunity. This an opportunity for the U.S. to finish its job as “mediator.”

I put that word in quotes, since we all know the best mediator is one who is impartial.

The U.S. was never that.

In fact, in its 20 years as “mediator” under the framework of the Oslo Accords, the U.S. has not only failed in bringing the sides any closer – it has enabled the deepening of the colonization process in the West Bank on every front.

If the U.S. had been a CEO of an enterprise, the board of directors would have kicked it out the door years ago for horrific management and results.

So, the U.S. is bad at this. It’s really that simple.

It also has other things on its mind.

President Barack Obama has proved again and again that he is much more a domestic affairs leader than a foreign affairs one.

Israel has proven again and again that it is not truly interested in ending the occupation.

The media, wrongfully so, is playing it out as if both sides don’t want to fix this.

But who cares?

You shouldn’t, America. It makes you look good. It makes it look like it’s their fault (even though...

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Looking closely at Israeli eyes, to see if they know

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:My_eye.jpg

Lately I’ve been looking at Israelis closely.

I’ve been looking them straight in the eye, to see if they know.

If they have a clue.

Any clue.

About what’s in their future.

The not too distant future.

Most probably in the lifetimes of many of them.

I look at them closely.

And in particular places.

Places that are theirs, and theirs alone.

At least, what they think are theirs.

What they believe are theirs.

And I wonder to myself: do they know that soon they will have to share all this?

All this wealth, this land, these resources?

These rights?

Do they have any clue, that sooner or later, millions of people – who have been denied basic civil rights by them for almost 50 years – will be just like them?

Walking right next to them?

I look at the people I work with in the shiny, glossy buildings in the hi-tech hubs of our start-up nation and wonder: do they know that one day this will all belong to the “enemy,” too?

I look at them when I walk on the sunny boardwalks in Bat Yam and Tel Aviv. They look so happy. Do they know their kids will soon be running on the hot sands with young children from Tulkarem?

Are they ready for it?

Can they even grasp it?

Shouldn’t they start to?

Because that’s where this is going. Either a bi-national state, or a two-entity confederacy of some sorts.

But either way, the land will eventually be shared.

And rights will be granted.

So, I look at them, and I try to find some clue that they know where they’re headed.

Do they know that the water bill be shared?

That Yitzhak Tshuva will be stealing gas from a few more million people?

He already is, actually.

I look at them in the cafes. But most of them have Ray Bans or Gucci, so I can’t see their eyes.

I look at them in the posh shopping centers, sprouting like mushrooms in every town.

I look closely in their eyes at the airport.

I look at the security guards who won’t racially...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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