Thursday, October 17, 2013

When "Israeli" Means "Jews Only"

Dear Friend,

Most of us are unwilling to delve into the complexities of the situation in I/P--and American support for the status quo.

For this, my 8th report since our study tour of I/P in June, I'm urging you to wade through the essay by Jonathan Cook and his "View from Nazareth" (see link below)

But let me lead you gently into it by giving an overview of his interpretation of the recent (Israeli) Supreme Court decision to deny citizenship rights to a group of Palestinian Arab Israelis. Sound complicated? It is.

You would think that there existed an Israeli nationality, for those living in "the State of Israel". But you would be wrong. There is no such thing. You are either a Jewish citizen or an Arab citizen. And if you are an Arab citizen you do not have full rights. Only Jews can be full citizens, because it is the JEWISH State after all.

The Israeli Supreme Court is determined to maintain the original founding principle of a majority existence as a State of and for the Jewish people. (Thus, it is ethnically based, a democracy for Jews, and not a true democratic state!)

In the early going, two "Basic Laws" were adopted:

1) The Law of Return (1950) which gives any Jew anywhere in the world the right to come to Israel and attain instant citizenship.

2) The Citizenship Law (1952) which gives citizenship rights in principle to the Arab minority (but in practice it "applies only to a tiny minority who marry Israeli (Jewish) 'citizens' [and who] enter a lengthy and antagonistic naturalization process."

Israel keeps insisting that Palestinians accept the JEWISH State. If there was only one set of laws for both Jews and Arabs, the Arab minority would demand an end to the immigration privileges only Jews enjoy, which are denied to Palestinians who want to "return" to "their" land.

Perhaps it is a bit unfair to say that America supports the status quo. If that were so, Sec. Kerry wouldn't have worked so hard to bring the sides together to "Talk". So, the "Talks" have resumed again, to achieve two separate and autonomous States, one for Israel and one for Palestine, side by side, with justice for Palestinians and security for Israelis.

In your dreams. Israel completely rejects both a truly pluralistic democratic State and a truly independent Palestinian State. It wants the One State it has now. It cannot conceive of or trust the intentions of an autonomous Palestinian State. The fear of violent displacement runs too deep. [See Yuval Steinitz in the Oct. 15, 2013, "How Palestinian Hate Prevents Peace", New York Times] And to lift the lid (even just a little bit) on the boiling Occupation Pot would just be too explosive! So the Occupation must continue. Or does it have to? How can we begin to dismantle it safely, with confidence-building measures that lead to "good faith" progress?

Remember THE ISSUE:

Israelis: "Why can't you just leave us alone, so we can have our own safe place? (Besides, It's God's will!")

Palestinians: "Because you want it at our expense. It was our place. We can't accept it (or you!) on the basis of the unjust terms you are offering. (Oh, and what about our view of God's will?")

Read Jonathan Cook. Here is the direct link if you want to read it on line:

Stay tuned to developments.

Truly seek out God's will in this matter.

Keep trusting that bloodshed can be averted in the pilgrimage to liberty and justice for all inhabitants of the land.