Monday, July 27, 2009

Terra Incognita: The Colonization of the Conflict

Seth J. Frantzman
Think Israel
27 July 09

Recent revelations that European embassies in Israel and the EU fund some radical Israeli human rights organizations beg the question: To what degree is the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians choreographed and colonized by outsiders?

In the weekly protest at Bil'in, Palestinians again threw rocks at soldiers and attempted to break through the security fence. But as happens every week, there were more foreigners than Arabs. Even the Arabs that come aren't from nearby. The event is like a play or sitcom staged again and again; the format is the same every time.

So why does it go on? The protesters don't have an actual goal. They claim to be Anarchists Against the Wall or peace activists, but the events at Bil'in aren't peaceful and there is no realistic expectation that the weekly ritual will actually affect the fence. Nor is the fence in that area particularly egregious; it deviates from the Green Line by less than two kilometers and doesn't bisect Arab homes or anything of that nature.

So why does it go on? It goes on because those who arrive there have a vested interest in having it go on. Web sites (such as devoted to the protest stress that many important people and organizations have joined, including the Israeli Jewish organization Physicians for Human Rights, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and Gush Shalom. It is a mandatory stop on any protest-tourist's visit to the Holy Land. And it is the place to get wounded for foreign protesters.

Thus European Parliament Vice President Luisa Morgantini and Julio Toscano, an Italian judge, were injured there in June 2008. Mairead Corrigan, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for work in Northern Ireland, was hurt in an April 2007 protest. Lymor Goldstein, an Israeli lawyer, was wounded in 2006. But these people weren't wounded accidentally or because the soldiers intended to wound them; they were wounded because they wanted to be wounded. They chose to be wounded as a sort of badge of honor.

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1 comment:

  1. B"H

    - "People don't work against their self-interest. If their job is peace, they live for war because without it their life's work would disappear"

    - Brilliant!