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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Unable To See The ‘Art’ For The ‘Hatred’

“Hatred Triumphs Over Art” screamed a headline in Sunday’s   Edmonton Journal.I looked at it as a writer and saw that for sure, the word ‘ART’  had been well and truly devoured by ‘hATRed’.

I was about to holler myself about “small-minded West Bank bureaucrats” when I heard how Israeli settlers had  wantonly destroyed olive trees owned by West Bank farmers.

These settlers are strictly Orthodox and their action is in direct contravention of the important Biblical injunction – bal tashchit –(‘do not destroy) - against the destruction of fruit-bearing trees in times of war.

Now I’m beginning to realise just what an uphill battle groups like OneVoice and the New Israel Fund have to fight. Below, I quote the stories from the Edmonton Journal and then The Times without further comment.

“For many of his 74 years, Leonard Cohen has mused on the frailties of the human condition, much to the thoughtful delight of millions of admirers. The same widely anticipated world tour that stopped at Rexall Place in April was scheduled to hit Tel Aviv and Ramallah in September. As you might imagine, the hatted troubadour's fan base is a tad larger in Israel than in Palestine. The Tel Aviv show was set for the 55,000-seat Ramat Glen stadium, compared to a West Bank appearance at Ramallah Cultural Palace, which can accommodate 736 music lovers. Still, a peaceful, inclusive statement was clearly being made, especially considering that the Ramallah sponsor was a support group serving the families of some 11,000 Palestinians detained by Israeli authorities. Now, thanks to the dim, dyspeptic efforts of a West Bank lobby, local promoters have been pressured to cancel the show. "Ramallah will not receive Cohen as long as he is intent on whitewashing Israel's colonial apartheid regime by performing in Israel," blathered the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel in a depressing statement that once again illustrates how hatred trumps nearly everything in that troubled region, art included.”


“Israeli settlers on horseback set fire to fields of olive trees and stoned Palestinian cars in the West Bank yesterday (Monday), apparently in response to the Israeli army’s removal of an illegal outpost in the area.

“At least 1,500 Palestinian-owned trees were destroyed and two Palestinians were injured in the attack, near the city of Nablus, by about 30 settlers, security officials said. Farmers fought fires late into the afternoon, as fears grew that the flames would spread across the dry summer fields.

“It was the most recent example of the “price tag” policy, in which settlers seek revenge by attacking Palestinians for every outpost that is demolished. “The goal is to create a price for each evacuation, causing Israeli authorities to think twice about carrying them out,” the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din said.

“A settler activist, Itamar Ben-Gvir, put it more directly: “We will not be suckers for the Israeli Government. We will not sit idly by and allow them to remove our homes,” he said.

“Palestinians in Nablus said the attackers came from the nearby area of Yitzhar, considered to be one of the most hardline of Israel’s West Bank settlements.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has pledged to dismantle some of Israel’s illegal outposts as a goodwill gesture — but settler leaders have sworn to rebuild two for every one that is taken down.


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