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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 02/20/2011

Traveling in the West Bank (Part 1)

By Jennifer Rubin

Last week, while protesters battled autocratic regimes, the United Nations chose to focus its ire on Israel's settlements in the West Bank. It seems that no matter what else happens in the 50 or so Muslim-majority countries around the world the so-called international community remains obsessed with the dispensation of this portion of the only Jewish state.

Mike Huckabee gave a timely interview to Ben Smith in which he talked about his recent trip to Israel, which included a trip to the West Bank. Huckabee's view, that a two-state solution is not possible and that Israel should maintain its settlements, is not one shared by many American politicians. But if his view seems inexplicable to those who consider the West Bank simply an item on the "peace process" checklist, a trip to the West Bank provides some perspective.

As readers of Right Turn know, I was recently in Israel. I spent a day in the West Bank. What I saw surprised me.

Even well-informed consumers of international media imagine that the West Bank is crowded, dangerous and replete with roadblocks and officious Israeli security forces. So when one leaves Jerusalem, crosses the Green Line -- a cement wall and a checkpoint (not unlike the set-up for an agent at a U.S. border) -- and travels up and down the highways of Samaria (the portion of the West Bank extending north), you realize how little non-Israelis know about the Jews who live in territory that is the focal point of so much international attention.

The media terminology doesn't comport with one's direct observations. "Settlements" are not hovels tended by goat herders. Settlers are not uniformly religious. The Palestinians who demand the right of return are generally the descendants of those who left Israel proper in 1948; the region is still sparsely populated and was even more so in 1967. And while negotiators have shuffled back and forth trying to reach a peace deal, there are at least signs of peaceful coexistence between some Palestinians and Israelis who shop and work together.

On a Wednesday afternoon Naftali Bennett met me in Jerusalem. He drove up in an unassuming, white compact car. He was dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt and wore a small knitted kippah not unlike conservative and modern Orthodox Jews in the United States. His parents made aliyah from the U.S., so his English is impeccable. It was not until we were well on our way that I learned he was Bibi Netanyahu's chief of staff during the years in opposition and also the founder of a high-tech company, Cyote, that makes 70 percent of the software used to detect bank fraud. In 2005 Bennett sold the company. After a stint with another high-tech company, his life took a dramatic turn.

He told me that he realized during the second war in Lebanon that Israel's survival was not assured. "I grew up in the 1970s," he said. "But I never thought all this talk about Israel facing an existential threat was real." Then his best friend (who served in the same elite unit as Yoni Netanyahu) was killed. The realization set in that Israel's survival was not a given. For reasons that became apparent as the day unfolded, he is convinced that his three children will not grow up in a vibrant and safe Israel unless the West Bank remains part of the Jewish state.

The West Bank is a mountain range. On one side is the Jordan Valley, and on the other the heart of modern Israel. (Ben Gurion Airport is a few miles from the foot of the hills of the West Bank.) What strikes you are the vast open spaces -- hill after hill of barren land. There is no shortage of living space. This area is not distinct from but is part of the Biblical lands of the Jews. Religious Jews and Christians know it as the land of the Patriarchs. (During the day we passed Joseph's and Joshua's tombs.) The region of Binyamin, named for one of the 12 tribes of Israel, includes Shiloh, the city Joshua conquered immediately after Jericho. Excavations are underway, and already a massive amount of broken pottery, the leftovers from the ritual meals after animal sacrifice and the bones of animals (kosher only) have been found. In the modern era, Binyamin was deserted until the mid-19th century when early Zionists repopulated the area. Bennett explained that this is why settlers and many other Jews and Christians (in Israel and elsewhere) think of this area as "the heart of Israel."

Now ninety-five percent of Palestinians are under the jurisdiction of the PA, which is responsible for everything from local police to schools. Israel's official interaction with West Bank Palestinians is limited to intelligence gathering and extraction of terrorists. Israelis don't patrol the streets of Ramallah or Nabulus. There are currently 330,000 settlers in Judea and Samaria, roughly a third are entirely secular, a third "knitted kippah" Jews like Bennett and a third Haredi (ultra-orthodox).

Five or ten minutes after we crossed the Green Line we stopped at a new, very large grocery store, a place where Jews and Palestinians shop together. Palestinians are under an edict by the PA to boycott Israel goods, but the PA cannot enforce the boycott at the consumer level. Jews and Palestinians buy everything from fruit to Cocoa Puffs. What is most striking is how utterly ordinary is this place, in the middle of territory about which the entire world argues. A Palestinian father pushed two small children in a shopping cart; men with kippot filled the shelves.

We continued to the Psagot winery (about twenty minutes from Jerusalem), a stylish facility that could be in the Sonoma or Napa Valley in the U.S. There is a visitor center with a film explaining the history of the region. Its viewpoint is entirely absent from international media coverage. Only about 15 people operate the winery that produces 10,000 cases a year, some for export and some for Israeli consumers. A state of the art bottling line washes, fills, corks and labels the bottles. Each year volunteers from the states come for five weeks at a time to help out, living in a garage-like annex.

The owner Yuri is a second generation Israeli; his parents came as part of the wave of immigration from Russia. Huckabee, Yuri told me, had been there on his recent visit. Yuri explained, "The prerequisite for economic progress is quiet, not peace." In other words if violence is abated he and his neighbors can work, live and expand their business. The winery started only in 2003 and now features all the varietals one would find in a California winery.

We drove a short distance up the hill to Yuri's home. It is beautifully furnished but not lavish. We passed through the annex that looks like a camp dorm and climbed up a small hill. In a small cave we saw the remains of a wine operation 2500 years old, from the time of the Second Temple. In another cave are the remains of an ancient olive press. It was another reminder that while a modern country, Israel is also a giant archaeological site. Yuri, in a real sense, is one link in the Jewish historical narrative; his forefathers were cast around the world by Herod in 70 CE and now he has returned to pick up the same profession, in the same spot as those ancient Jews. During the Second Intifada Yuri's commanded three tanks a few hundred yards below the caves. We stood outside his home, a few miles from Jerusalem. As with so much else in Israel, security, religion and history are intertwined.

On Monday I'll have Part 2 of this post.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 20, 2011; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Israel  
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Comments

What is the purpose of this article?
Is the author trying to justify Israeli settlers occupation of the West Bank by making the occupation look benign?

What is that Israeli's don't understand?
Surely, the West bank is Palestinian land there is no justification for Israel to annex it just because it can.
Perhaps the Israeli's should wake up to the reality that is unfolding right before our eyes ..It is obvious to me that no matter how strong you are militarily, the human spirit will always win. Of course, if one is bent upon repeating the Holocaust on another people, history will judge you accordingly.

Posted by: callaspadeaspade | February 20, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

May God bless Israel, for it is written: "Let all who bless Israel be blessed, and all who curse Israel be cursed." Your article reinforces that to me.

That said, would the children of Abraham one day set aside their petty jealousies, Ishmael satisfies with what God blessed him with; Israel happy with his portion? Will the backs of stubbornness and pride and jealousy and selfishness ever be broken? We may wish it, but I am not sure even our children will see it.

May the light be brighter and brighter for my Arab brothers, and my Israeli siblings.

A mere goyim.

Posted by: owen-a | February 20, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post, Jennifer. Few people condemning Israeli settlements seem to understand how sparsely populated most of that mountainous area actually is or how strategically vulnerable Israel was before the 1967 war.

Posted by: eoniii | February 20, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Far too many ideology journalists like Tom Friedman, and far too many ill willed pundits like Jimmy Carter have produced a picture of Israel, and the Disputed Territories at total variance with reality. In some cases their sympathy for the Palestinians has fueled their already heated resentment of Israel. In some cases these individuals have become so enamored of the entirely fabricated Palestinian narrative of Israel as occupier and oppressor and Palestinians as victims that they can no longer differentiate fact from their own fiction. And then there are those who simply hate Jews and express that hatred with their anti Israel sentiment.
Israel is a perfectly normal Western country and her people, Jews and Arabs, live, work, shop, drive, and raise their families in peace and harmony, even in the Disputed Territories.
Israeli Arabs travel to these Territories to visit friends, extended family, and even marry.
Palestinian Arabs from Gaza and the Territories frequently travel to Israeli hospitals for treatment for such illnesses as cancer, neurological disorders, and injuries resulting from traffic accidents.
Life in Israel and the Disputed Territories are largely normal and peaceful for Jews and Arabs alike.
The lies, half truths, and fabrications of Tom Friedman, Jimmy Carter, and the Palestinian Authority arguing the opposite notwithstanding.

Posted by: Beniyyar | February 20, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but the author is putting icings on the barbed wires and violently bloody repressiosns against Palestinians. Should we plead guilty to the world condemnations of the Palestinians holocaust by Israel? Come on wake up and be honest with yourself. I would love to travel the same path as you but from what I hear and read- US+ Israel are planning the greatest pogrom ever. The Arabs can always dream of a Palestinian State but that will happen when Americans return the land stolen from Red Indians. Speaking of Biblical lands, what is that? Did God talked to you and to the Jews about this land? If so, when? Whose God are we talking about, the God of Hindus, Aborigines, Christians? Please enlighten me. Are we all of a sudden united, under one God, because of the soi disant land that some god sometime somewhere bestowed on the Jews. I am not a religious person but as far as I know the Israelites were banned from the Holy Land with a curse that they will never have a land of their own.

Posted by: dcsltd | February 20, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Rubin is nothing if not an apologist for ethnic cleansing. She is a traitor to this country and a conspirator in evil. Will she visit the memorial to the mass murderer Goldberg? Maybe leave some roses. Is it a war crime to be a prpoganda tool like Goebels?

Posted by: lastrebelstanding | February 20, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

As Admiral Mullens says above we are “very unpopular” in Pakistan. We all know we are not liked much in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran totally doesn't like us. The rest of the Mideast is changing rapidly away from us.

On the economic side we are running massive current deficits and total deficits at the local, state, and federal government levels. Also commodities are inflating, our country is rapidly aging, and the jobs are going overseas.

What the above means is that Israel, in the near future, will probably find itself totally alone. Israel should make peace now or risk losing everything!

Posted by: Alethean | February 20, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

An excellent post by Ms. Rubin. It is still sad to see anti-Semitic rhetoric from the comments section because they know the truth but are too cowardly to admit it.

Posted by: jetfan85 | February 20, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer - an article such as yours can only be written by erasing from the mind the basic situation of Israel - a foreign group, the Zionists, unilaterally claiming a right to do so and often opposed by Jews living peacefully with Arabs in Palestine, systematically evicted an indigenous people from their land, and continues to do so to this minute. Those who once lived there, now in refugee camps for over 60 years, have no right to return because those who dispossess them and enjoy their land, say they don't and are ready to kill them if they try. These dis-possessors turn language and logic upside down and call themselves victims under threat of annihilation. It is the logic of history beginning with Israel and defined by Israel.

In short, one side holds all the cards and determines what is right and wrong for everyone. You come along to aid them, attempting to show that the dis-possessors are just like you and me and are rightfully concerned about their homeland of just over 60 years.

During WW2, a reporter could have found many, many reasonable, respectable and upright folks in Germany, willing to sit down in their living rooms and talk calmly about the need for liebensraum and the need to protect Germany from the Jews. Just like the mid 19th century Germans, the great majority of modern Israelis are pursuing their unjust and illegal project with a will while calling night, day.

Unlike in Germany where "no one knew" what was happening to the Jews, the world today outside of the United States is fully aware of what is going on with the Palestinians. Only in the U.S. and Israel could your article appear without being laughed off the page.

Please deal with the real history of dispossession over which you are attempting to spread a sugar coating.

Posted by: Clif | February 20, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Alethean, how exactly is Israel supposed to "make peace now", as you urge? Although Netanyahu has agreed in principle to a two-state settlement, the PA refuses even to negotiate. The PA is too politically weak to recognize Israel's right to exist, to negotiate the land swaps that both sides have acknowledged are necessary, and to give up the mythical "right to return". Hamas, consistent with its origin as part of the Muslim Brotherhood, calls for the total destruction of the "Zionist entity".

The idea of a "peace process" has always been a chimera. There has never been a plausible Palestinian "peace partner". Many Palestinians reject the concept of two states categorically, while others see it as a "hudna" or temporary truce that advances their ultimate objective of destroying their enemy. Devout Muslims are taught to view a Jewish state in the midst of their "ummah", or community of Islam, as an affront to God.

Posted by: eoniii | February 20, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I think, Jennifer, you might do well to examine the word "settlement" more closely, and see how it could be applied to the Muslim and Christian populations of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

In the above, the member states of the European Union permit travel, intermarriage, and "settlement" among its citizens - but they do not permit Palestinians to from abroad. While in the case of Saudi Arabia - no non Muslim may immigrates. None of these Muslim countries allow either Jews, or Palestinians to "settle." And only now are these Arab countries learning how to live with one another in something other than a Dictatorship, Kingdom, or Theocracy.

It's clear to me that the UN is not a "legal" institution, but merely the Tyranny of the Majority. We are all Brothers and Sisters, in spite of religious and cultural differences. However, now the Muslim peoples are envious of the Jews of Israel, while the Christian Europeans do not want Palestinian or more Muslims in their midst, and falsely believe that if they only make Room for them among the Jewish Israelis there will be Peace in the world.

So I'm for Palestinian "settlements" outside of Israel/Palestine as a parallel option. Who is willing to have a militant Palestinian live in their neighborhood in Europe or North Africa? Look at Bahrain - even the Sunni and Shia Arabs cannot live with each other!

Posted by: Ludvikus | February 20, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Ragarding a two state solution in the badly misnamed West Bank, I would hasten to point out to at least Clif and callaspadeaspade that there is a living and breathing Palestinian state now in existance and it is on land once supposedly occupied by Israel. It is a fundamentalist Islamist, authoritarian police state of the worst kind, which uses terror, torture and murder to enforce it's corrupt Sharia will on it's own Palestinian population, and uses the international aid it receives to pay off it's supporters and finance it's oppressive security forces.
It is called the Gaza Strip and it is run by the "democratically" elected Hamas terrorist organization. This is the same Palestinian terror group which upon winning the election there, proceeded to throw dozens of it's political opponents off the roofs of three story buildings in Gaza City as well as publicly shooting them in the back of the head in major Gaza streets.
As if to further prove it's violent and terrorist character, this Palestinian state, without any Israeli provocation whatsoever, randomly fires missiles, rockets, and mortars into Israeli towns and settlements around Gaza on a daily basis, and even sends heavily armed terrorist gangs into Israel to kill Israeli Jews.
Given that Israel gave up land to the Palestinians in Gaza and has now had several years of deeply disappointing experiences with one Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, why in the world would Israel ever agree to a second terrorist Palestinian state on the other side of her border?

Posted by: Beniyyar | February 20, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"from what I hear and read- US+ Israel are planning the greatest pogrom ever."

As of the destruction of the American middle class, the onset of fascism every time the Republicans win an election, the imminent devastation of the environment, and the massive resistance of the "people," this is what the Left has been hearing and reading about for the padt 30 years.

Posted by: adam62 | February 20, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

The vast Muslim populations of the world - those who live in the 50 states you, Jennifer, identified dream of a "cancer cure" - to rid themselves of (Western) Israel in their midst. No matter how much the Shia and Sunnis hate one another - they can put that aside to kill the Jews of Israel: "my brother and I against my cousin."

Since I'm a citizen of the United States, living in this country, I'm not going to dictate to Israel the terms under which they are to live with their neighbors. But I know this - Benjamin Netanyahu knows his history, and the point of Israel being a democracy is that it thereby makes the best choices for its own sovereign people. The idea that the United Nations, through the Security Council, determines what's "legal" is a myth which seems to have taken root quite well. I'd like to remind the world that when the Jews of Europe wanted a place to "settle" while fleeing from Hitler, only the Dominican Republic, of all the countries of the world, gave the a "legal" place to live.

Posted by: Ludvikus | February 20, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

It is generally known that Arabs come from Saudi Arabia - the way that Jews come from the Holy Land (Israel or Palestine, depending on who you are).

So how come there is no effort on the part of Palestinians to go back to where they came from, the regions around Mecca and Medina? I could be wrong, but as far as I know there is not a single Palestinian "settlement" in Saudi Arabia.

Arab, and Muslim, culture is founded on interpretations of the Koran. There is great promise for all Muslims.

But if one looks around, besides secular Turkey, and maybe a few other places, all that Islamic people have to give the world in significant and substantial quantity is Oil.

On the other hand, look at the Western Jews of Israel. Read "The Golden Age of Jewish Achievement."

But there is hope. Palestine, if they didn't invent it, they certainly developed the Jihadi tactic of Suicide Bombing in which at least one Jew, or Jewish facility, was killed or destroyed.

But now a Tunisian Arab (not a Palestinian) demonstrated that he would commit suicide for the injustice and humiliation he suffered - at the hands of his own Arab and Muslim bothers and sisters, by the way.

And for the first time, the Arab and Muslim masses have found someone else to blame besides the Jew[s] who dispossessed the "unfortunate" Palestinian(s).

Perhaps now Arabs and Muslims, who are not Palestinians, will at long last, attempt to solve their problems in their own back yard. If that happens, the Palestinians will no longer be able to get their bully associates to try to force Israel to give in into the dangerous demands of theirs - to drive the Jews of Israel into the Mediterranean. And if anyone knows how to live with Other People, it is the Jews - for 2,000 years the Jews tried that, and they understand very well the predicament of the underdog. But the the Palestinians do not have that understanding. They have a peculiar history: as Victims of 1948 (their "catastrophe"), which is not any more positive that the Holocaust of the Jews which ended 3 years before; the other history is that of the Conqueror of the World, Muhammad. Incidentally, the view of Jews in the religious texts of Islam are not flattering (to put it mildly) - how could such Jews, therefore, calling themselves Israelis, "settle" among Muhammad's Arabs?

That, Jennifer, is the real discourse that's at the root of Palestinian, Arab, Muslim political ideology. Unfortunately, few Jews openly respond to this issue. It is what has been called, by Bernard Lewis, a "Clash of Civilizations." Christians and Jews have come to terms with living with Others. But that is not so with the closest allies of the Palestinians.

Let's see how Act One, Scene One, now plays out in North Africa and the Middle East, where the "Street" has discovered its powers thanks to the Western, American, European, and Israeli Internet and Cell Phone technologies have replaced the Bomb-Belt as the primary weapon of choice (outside Iraq and Afghanistan).

Posted by: Ludvikus | February 20, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The "West Bank" was the term employed by the illegal Jordanian occupiers in 1950 when they annexed the territory intended to be the Arab state by the UN. Even that UN partition decision used the terms "Judea" and Samaria" to describe the new borders. Those are the terms to be used.

There are no "settlements" but Jewish communities or residential locations or simply towns, cities, villages.

There are no "settlers" but simply Jews, or, if you wish, revenants, persons who have returned to ancestral lands after an absence.

Posted by: yisraelmedad | February 20, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Check out this YouTube video of more than a million Egyptians in Tahrir Square Friday chanting, "We go to Jerusalem! Martyrs in the Millions!" They were following the lead of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, who was under the protection of the Egyptiam military. Khomeini redux.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDvzaOUJffw&feature=related

Posted by: eoniii | February 20, 2011 9:53 PM | Report abuse

So, Jennifer; are you Israeli or American?

Israeli agent?

Israel Firster?

Am I to assume that you are Likud(nik)?

All of the Above..?

Lav

Posted by: lavrentii | February 20, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

A reminder that those who start revolutions usually don't finish them. From AFP:

Google executive Wael Ghonim, who emerged as a leading voice in Egypt’s uprising, was barred from the stage in Tahrir Square on Friday by security guards, an AFP photographer said. Ghonim tried to take the stage in Tahrir, the epicentre of anti-regime protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, but men who appeared to be guarding influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi barred him from doing so.

Ghonim, who was angered by the episode, then left the square with his face hidden by an Egyptian flag.

Posted by: eoniii | February 20, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

What a repulsive apologia. There are empty spaces there, golly, it's only natural for the Jews to take them. Of course the Palestinian refugees can't come back home, not even to the West Bank. And of course there are empty spaces in Israel proper, but the government owns them all so Palestinians can't settle there. The Israeli gov't has approved exactly one new Arab city in the last twenty years. Yet they allow themselves to appropriate another peoples' country and populate it with Russian.

Why does the Washington Post allow you to publish this stuff?

Posted by: redant | February 21, 2011 12:29 AM | Report abuse

this is a disgusting post. incredible historical ignorance; complete inhumanity; and total disinformation. you should be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by: waPOreader8 | February 21, 2011 4:28 AM | Report abuse

This article is appalling. It is simply impossible to inform yourself accurately of the situation in the West Bank if you take a tour with one who represents Israeli settlers, Naftali Bennett. Although, I am fully skeptical that Rubin was actually seeking for a non-biased viewpoint of the situation in the West Bank. Palestinians in the West Bank trace their own history back to historical figures like John the Baptist. Does that make their claim to the land any less valid? Having lived in Jerusalem for nearly 2 years, one very quickly sees the blatant racism that lies just below the surface on the part of Jews against the Arabs. Mainstream US media does not report on the routine settler violence against Palestinians living in the West Bank and Israel - which includes beating of women and children, destruction of farm land, purposeful flooding of homes, and the list goes on. Most recently, a Chilean Jew who was visiting Israel to appreciate the Jewish homeland was nearly beaten to death by a group of settler youth in "Independence Park" in Jerusalem because he "looked like an Arab." There is a systematic discrimination and marginalization of a population that has been living here for thousands of years. There is something ironic in that notion given the Jews' own history. Rubin, you're ignorant and do the readership a disservice.

Posted by: beecmx | February 21, 2011 4:52 AM | Report abuse

popular websites like printapons and retail me not has coupons for pretty much any shopping site I've gone to most of the coupons are valid drops down with coupons without me having to search for them

Posted by: dorismlay | February 21, 2011 5:10 AM | Report abuse

I truly wonder how people like Jennifer Rubin can sleep at night: they are for a living dishonest liars repeating a litany of fairy tales, Hasbara agents turned Goebbelsian propagandists yet don't seem tormented at all by their evil deeds... Well, congrats for that contribution to humankind.

Posted by: Sensi23 | February 21, 2011 7:05 AM | Report abuse

One only need look at the comments on this well-written article to understand the depth of antisemitism that Jews are facing.

It's not about Israel or the Palestinians: it's about the Jew-haters of the world converging to destroy a people who yearn for nothing more than peace and security.

May you all go to hell.

Posted by: michael13 | February 21, 2011 7:15 AM | Report abuse

I am a 72 year old Jew. My family was involved in the founding of the State of Israel. I have been an unqualified supporter of the State of Israel for 60 years. That said, I believe that every settlement outside the Green Line is bad for Israel. This includes the large ones like Ariel. Israel exits because of the support of the US government and world Jewry. The blatant immorality of the settlements undermines this support and, in addition, saps the moral fiber of the rational (non fundamentalist) portion of the population.

I believe that a two state solution is impossible because the Palestinians are a rabble—they cannot form a state. There is plenty of evidence for this view. The Palestinians have never had a institution which can perform a basic function of government which is to enforce its own laws.

Because of these two beliefs I believe that Israel should withdraw completely to the Green Line (with a special status for Jerusalem) and build a lethal wall along the Green Line and forget the West Bank . Let the Palestinians kill themselves if they want to.

Posted by: lensch | February 21, 2011 7:38 AM | Report abuse

The British author Ian McEwan launched an eloquent attack on Israeli government policies in his speech accepting the Jerusalem prize for literature, saying "a great and self-evident injustice hangs in the air".

Before an audience that included Israel's president, Shimon Peres, culture minister, Limor Livnat, and Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat, McEwan spoke of the nihilism on both sides of the conflict.

Addressing his remarks at the opening ceremony of Jerusalem's international book fair to "Israeli and Palestinian citizens of this beautiful city", the novelist said: "Hamas has embraced the nihilism of the suicide bomber, of rockets fired blindly into towns, and the nihilism of the extinctionist policy towards Israel."

But it was also nihilism that fired a rocket at the home of the Gazan doctor, Izzeldin Abuelaish, killing three of his daughters and a niece during the Gazan war. "And it is nihilism to make a long-term prison camp of the Gaza Strip. Nihilism has unleashed a tsunami of concrete across the occupied territories."

The author referred to "continued evictions and relentless purchases of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, the process of the right of return granted to Jews but not to Arabs, the so-called facts on the ground of hardening concrete over the future, over future generations of Palestinian and Israeli children who will inherit the conflict and find it even more difficult to resolve than it is today."

He called for an end to settlements and encroachments on Palestinian land.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/feb/20/ian-mcewan-great-injustice-israel

Posted by: yetanotherpassword | February 21, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

the Israeli apartheid regime will ultimately meet the same fate as the South African apartheid regime. The colonists Rubin extols here will be welcome to live in a democratic Palestine, or their can leave their colonial outposts and return to Israel. It's just a matter of time, so I hope they enjoy their colonial enterprise while they can. It's just too bad the US taxpayers are forced to subsidize the thefts and brutal depredations of these rabid colonists.

Posted by: johninflorida | February 21, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Rubin attempts to put a nice, shiny gloss on an evolving situation that has been described as "apartheid" by such Israeli leaders as Olmert and Barak. She goes on a tour, led by a radical, Jewish supremacist settlement leader, and we are supposed to believe that she is telling us reality? Her weird column is indeed racist tinged. The "real' people are the Jewish settlers, whose rights and needs are paramount. The Palestinians are faceless people who can have a good life only if they are docile and accept the reality that they should not have human or legal rights. They must learn to live under the rule of military occupation and accept that because they are not Jewish settlers, they essentially are disenfranchised and without rights before the rule of the military occupation. Good luck, Rubin and Israel on selling that to the world. Israel is facing increasing isolation and condemnation, much as South Africa did before the collapse of apartheid.

Posted by: donkris | February 26, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

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