16 November 2009

Carving States, and Carving Turkeys, at the Negotiation Table

The leading English-language Palestinian newspaper announcing the result of the UN vote to re-establish a Jewish state on a small part of the (quasi) British-ruled Mandate. Palestinian David Ben Gurion made the proclamation as the new head of government from the largest city in Palestine, and provisional seat of government, Tel Aviv. The battle for Jerusalem yet raged. The small part of Palestine that was offered to the Jews reverted to an ancient name--Israel. The Judean and Samarian heartland of ancient Israel, given by the UN to become an Arab state called by the very un-Arabic name of Filistia, was over-run and annexed by Hashemi Bedouins who controlled most of the Palestine Mandate, and now called Trans-Jordanians.

Thus was born a two-state solution for the British Mandate of Palestine, an on-the-ground reality. 80% of the land to the Arabs, and 20% to the Jews. A two-state solution, whereas, the hodge-podge of British, French and UN agreements was, at one time, a three-state solution: Israel (with the Golan!), Palestine (Judea, Samaria and Ghazzah), and Transjordanian Palestine now called Jordan (which was everything east of the river Jordan).

So what is all this going on about a Two-State solution? There are two states already, and an autonomous region, the Palestinian Authority. The bulk of the Mandate called Jordan is in Arab hands, and the majority of Jordan's population is Palestinian Arab.

Now they want a third state, too. A secret out in the open. The media is silent. But that is, in fact, the reality. Why is Trans-Jordanian Palestine, today's Jordan, the British-created state given to an Arabian Bedouin family dynasty in exchange for services rendered, now severed historically from the Mandate, as if it was never part of it?

11 November 2009

A Bridge in Galilee

Humans are always striving, even if only to get to the end of the day, or from one day to the next, or to the end of the week. So much of what occupies our time is getting from point A to point B. So here's a bridge that suits my mood. It doesn't go anywhere. It doesn't cross a raging torrent, or span a deep canyon. It is just a wonderful place to sit and and stare out.

Sometimes that's more than enough.

Winter Moon in Tel Aviv

Taken while waiting for a train from Tel Aviv to Be'ir Ya'akov. A good example of modern towers in late 2oth and early 21st century Israel. The new towers and the old Bauhaus makes for an interesting city.

08 November 2009

Sunset reflecting off windows on Mt of Olives

I love to photograph the Mount of Olives from above the Kotel (Western Wall). Probably the most intense boneyard on planet earth. Or maybe they never heard of it in China and India, and that's a lot of humanity. Well, we're certainly aware of the Mount of olives, and maybe to the point of obsession. And some obsessions are good, as I see it. When you figure out what is really important in life, it bodes well to be obsessed, intense, preoccupied even. No point in moping about like a damp rag in a clean-up bucket.

Live! Feel a little anguish, a little pain, yearn for something important to more than just yourself. Very good for the soul.

A remedy that lasts a lifetime, and then some.

07 November 2009

Reality vs. Fantasy in the Land of Israel

The very mention of the Land of Israel can evoke radically different feelings and images in people. After very extensive research into the world of American web sites and forums, backed up by newspaper accounts and other reading, I summarize below the sentiments or feelings towards Israel (and let it go without further mention that I am generalizing, ok?).

I - Those who love Israel, which can be divided between A)Jews, and B) Christians of a less denominational and more directly Biblical approach. Both groups can accept failings and imperfections in Israel, without their faith in Israel being shaken. They idealize the idea of Israel, accept Israel as legitimate, but know that Israel is a real place with traffic jams and politicians.

II - Those who have strong, distinctly negative feelings towards Israel A) based on their own religious convictions, or B) who hate Israel for ideological reasons, most typically various neo-Nazi affiliates, and various Muslim groups.

Not all of the II-A group here are anti-Semitic at a personal level. They may abhore terrorism, or prejudice, but sincerely believe that the Nation of Israel died 1900 years ago, and that the current state is unrelated to any ancient Israel. Sometimes they believe that Israel is populated by some kind of counterfeit Jew, Edomite, Essauites, Khazari/Ashkenazis.

Group II-B folks are personal and inyofacist haters.

I was shocked to find that highly denominational and mainstream Protestants were frequently part of religious organizations which did not look upon Israel favourably, primarily because their theology says that they have replaced Israel in the eyes of God. Thus Israel as I know it is, to them, illegitimate. Catholic theology is also replacement oriented, and whatever the rapproachment of diplomats and high priests on either side, relations between the Catholic world and the Jewish world are not friendly and warm. Any warmth or friendship is at the level of personal friendships, which I would never belittle, but is not part of my point here. After all, many Jews and Muslim Arabs are friends, too.

III - Those who are indifferent to Israel, who know almost nothing about Israel, and never thought enough about Israel to have an opinion.

I don't worry much about them for now, but many of them can be led like sheep against Israel if future winds blow ill in such a way that impinges on their indifference, and blame can be laid upon Israel.

Why so much opinion about Israel at all on the Net? Why so much hatred of Israel, attempts to delegitimize Israel, cast Jews in a negative role historically? It is difficult to assess the degree of Israel-hatred in America, but all evidence points to a significant and lively base of enmity for Israel that cuts across the grain of society.

What historical events have lead to two groups, both self-identifying as Christian, one which has no good word for Israel, and the other which expresses a profound love for Israel?

Israel sets one man's heart to flutter, and another man's heart to ire. And for good reason, too. But I'm not telling. Not just yet . . .