Monday, August 12, 2013

A Sculpture for our Time. 5th report from the Ground

Dear Friend,

The next round in the "talks" is scheduled for this Wednesday, in Jerusalem.

Here are my thoughts. Thanks for your interest in our region. Stay informed. Inform others in your world.

A Sculpture for our Time: (5th Report from the Ground)

August 12, 2013, John R. Kleinheksel Sr.

Some time ago, Sharon and I visited the Art Institute in Chicago. In the Roger McCormick Memorial Center we found “The Solitude of the Soul”, a huge sculpture by Lorado Taft (1860-1936).

Four figures in his sculpture are only partly freed from the marble. They are either side by side or back to back. The figures are holding hands or draped over each other, yet not looking at each other.

An official interpretation, given at the sculpture, is that even though we can be physically close, it is still possible to be emotionally disconnected. “The thought is the eternally present fact that however closely we may be thrown together by circumstances. . . . we are unknown to each other”.

Beginning again this Wednesday, representatives of the Palestinian and Israeli leadership will be physically close, but emotionally disconnected. Israelis still fear Palestinians will never accept them in the region while Palestinians suspect that Israelis want to dominate all of the land. Each is frozen in the marble, draped over each other, but not looking each other in the eye.

One of the deeply held hopes of the Palestinians is that Israelis acknowledge their responsibility for creating the refugee problem and all that goes with it. One of the deeply held expectations of the Israelis is that Palestinians acknowledge their responsibility for terrorizing Israeli civilians with reprisal attacks filling them with security fears. Israel is in denial and Palestinians are running out of patience.

There is evidence the Palestinians have officially stopped campaigns of violence, even in the Hamas- governed prison camp of Gaza, though an occasional rogue rocket heads toward Sedorot settlement. There is no evidence that Israel has officially stopped its campaign to dominate the whole country. On the contrary, the alienation of affection is more acute especially now as Israel has, on Sunday, August 11, published bids on the construction of about 1200 housing units in seven different settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, on land Palestinians previously lived on, on which they want to establish their own State. And this development, just three days before the start-up of official “negotiations”, this time in Jerusalem.

As the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on August 9, 2013, three Israeli leaders have disagreed with the Housing Department decision.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday slammed the decision . . . saying that solutions to the housing crisis must be implemented in "desirable" areas and under the authority of the government's housing cabinet.

"Using resources intended for middle class housing in order to prove a useless defiant point to the Americans and throw a stick into the wheels of peace negotiations is wrong and ineffective for the process," Lapid said [and he is the leader of one of the parties making up the ruling coalition].

Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On also lambasted the decision as a "roadside bomb rigged by the Israeli government to destroy the peace process before it has even begun. A deal with the Palestinians will not be reached as long as construction in the settlements continues.” The only way to achieve a peace accord, she added, is based on the pre-1967 cease-fire lines with land swaps and the partition of Jerusalem.

Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich denounced the decision as “violently damaging” any international credit Israel has received for agreeing to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

"Netanyahu has to decide what government he is leading – a government seeking a peace agreement or one seeking to prevent any possibility of such deal," said Yacimovich, who chairs the Labor Party. Such announcement is like "sticking a finger in the eyes of the United States, Europe, Palestinians and the majority of Israelis who want peace,” she said.

It's all pretty transparent. The Prime Minister (Mr. Netanyahu) is trying to keep both the left and right of his shaky coalition happy. Yes, we'll "talk", but we will continue to colonize ALL the land!

This is why so many of us are so deeply skeptical that underlying attitudes and behaviors have not changed enough to bring about a “new day” between the Israelis and Palestinians. Palestinians are sick of crumbs from the master’s table. Israelis are upset that the “international community” does not recognize that ancient dictum: “To the victors go the spoils”. That community wants to hold the parties to the “partition” idea of 1947/48: That is, one part for Israelis and another part (equal and autonomous) for the Palestinians. This is the old fashioned notion for which Kerry/Obama are carrying the torch. As Jonathan Cook in Nazareth puts it, (I paraphrase) these talks have as much chance of success as a snowflake in hell.

There are systemic issues to be resolved that better one-on-one relationships will not solve. But systemic issues will not be resolved until real people realize what other real people are feeling and experiencing. There are at least two peoples frozen in that gigantic marble slab. What is hidden and obscure needs to be brought out. Look me in the eye. Let me tell you what it feels like. I want to be free. Free of fear. Free to be. The Artist is still at work. Thank God for that! Faithfully yours, JRK

John for FPI ()
There is no PEACE without JUSTICE; there is no justice without LOVE.