Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Living without solutions in Samaria - The local situation is hopeless, but not serious.

Asia Times..
25 September '12..

SAMARIA - I am in Samaria, the northern half of the West Bank, inside a cement shed in a drab industrial park loaded with high-tech equipment, hearing a harangue by a fiftyish fellow wearing a knit skullcap , a torn t-shirt, shorts and sandals. His name is Amichai Lourie, and he points to a slim glass container holding an ominous-looking amber liquid.

"I'll never do it again," sighs Lourie. "I had to sleep in the vineyard and tell the growers exactly when to harvest every bunch of grapes. But I ended up with 8% residual sugar. Chardonnay is a tough grape for a late harvest wine. Getting the sugar is one thing, but it's especially hard to get the right balance of fruit acid." Clearly this man is a dangerous fanatic.

Lourie is referring to a late harvest Chardonnay dessert wine wrung out of the Samarian hills, one of wine-making's trickiest products in a region that has made wine for less than a generation, in the present millennium, that is. His specialty is Merlot.

"It's an unforgiving grape. With Cabernet, you can make a mistake or two and still get a decent wine, but Merlot requires perfection from harvest to fermenting to aging." Anything easier wouldn't interest the Pennsylvania-born vintner, who won't be deprived of the chance to be part of a miracle.

Wine might seem a distraction as the Oslo accords disintegrate. Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to annual the 20-year-old foundation for the "peace process". Now that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi has embraced Hamas - the Brotherhood's Palestinian wing - over the protests of the Palestine Authority, [1] the Fatah-led PA has lost its main Arab supporter. Earlier this month, West Bank Palestinians rioted against the PA over economic grievances.

In vino veritas, though not in the way the proverb is usually understood. Wine has geopolitical significance on the West Bank. Samaria's wine boutiques help explain why the Jewish presence in ancient Judea and Samaria has become a permanent fact of life in the region. Like Mr Lourie, the winemakers of Samaria are on a mission from God. The region is in ferment, but not the way you might think.

(Read full "Living without solutions in Samaria - The local situation is hopeless, but not serious.")

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