August 19, 2005

Emperor Sharon's new clothes

I had an email from Earl today suggesting I read the article linked in the above headline. I was going to start (in fact I did start) by saying that I was pleased that at last someone has noticed that the armed fascist activists of the zionist settler movement protest just a little too much and that Sharon is attracting just a bit too much credit for their "plight". But that wouldn't be fair to Umkahlil who had both Sharon and the settlers' number yesterday.
Sharon's Big Show winds down replete with grand finale, teenagers making a last stand on the top of synagogues in the colonies "Neve Dekalim" and "Kfar Darom." For hours upon end of "breaking news" CNN has shown soldiers and police carrying them gingerly to the buses, unlike the treatment afforded non-violent Palestinian protestors from Bil'in, who have been killed, tear gassed at close range, and infiltrated by IOF soldiers employing violence for a pretext, as if the IOF ever needed one, for shooting protestors.
The article linked in the headline above is by Ron Hacohen on antiwar.com and is headed "Stop your sobbing". He talks of the cost of the settlers to Israelis generally because more police are needed to give the settlers kid-glove treatment in addition to the police required to beat up and arrest anti-wall protesters that Israel is now witnessing a massive increase in burglaries.
The entire Israeli police force is in and around Gaza. Except for a few units left over to break the bones of the peaceful anti-wall demonstrators in Bil'in, the Israeli forces are all in the South. The Masters of the State are struggling with the Masters of the Land, and we, common Israelis, have to live with rising criminality. Thank you, dear settlers.
In the Guardian too it has been noticed that "reporting" on the settler withdrawal saga has been a tad maudlin. Here's Jonathan Steele, in a comment titled "The settlers' retreat was the theatre of the cynical", contrasting the media and military treatment of settlers and Palestinians
As many as 13,350 Palestinians were made homeless in the Gaza Strip in the first 10 months of last year by Israel's giant armour-plated Caterpillar bulldozers - a total that easily exceeds the 8,500 leaving Israeli settlements this week. In Rafah alone, according to figures from the UN relief agency Unrwa, the rate of house demolitions rose from 15 per month in 2002 to 77 per month between January and October 2004.
Steele goes on to discuss what most of the media has studiously avoided and that is what the Israelis have in mind for the West Bank in the wake of the so-called disengagement
Israel's worst practices from Gaza are likely to be transferred to the West Bank now. Controls over freedoms in the West Bank have been tightened relentlessly in recent years. More roads were closed. More checkpoints sprang up. Walls and fences were extended, in defiance of the international court of justice's ruling that they are illegal. However, even with this creeping oppression, life in the West Bank is not yet as constricted as it was for those in Gaza.

That will probably change. Sharon - one of whose nicknames, appropriately, is Bulldozer - wants to expand the West Bank settlements and demolish more Palestinian homes around Jerusalem. Unless his strategy of unilateralism is blocked, evictions may reach Rafah-like proportions.
So just one article telling us what the whole of the media knows.

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