Thursday, August 2, 2007

Abbas' West Bank

With Hamas doing its best to keep order in the Gaza Strip after expelling all of the collaborators of US and Israel, what's the West Bank like? Stanley Heller gives some insight:

"On the West Bank things are different. There are checkpoints all over with soldiers carrying large deadly looking weapons. People say the checkpoints have been easier this summer. It's part of the "Make Nice with Abbas" strategy that's no being pursued by Israelis and the US. After years of ignoring the Palestinian President the takeover of Gaza by Hamas has forced a change in strategy. One month of the millions in Palestinian tax money that the Israeli s have been withholding has been "generously" given to the Palestine Authority.

Things are not that nice in the West Bank. Israeli soldiers stage constant raids. The night before we went to Jenin they captured a resident. People in Nablus say there's a raid every day. A few nights night ago six Palestinians were killed, including three by missiles in Gaza. One man supposedly attacked soldiers at a Bethlehem checkpoint. He was hit by gun butts and then shot to death."

The occupation seems to be an invisible reality after the battle between Hamas and Fatah. There are reports of Israeli troops letting them fly in Nablus. Another casualty at a checkpoint in Ramallah. Further encroachment of Palestinian lands continues unabated. There is no condemnation for the territorial expansion: in fact, they've openly expressed their desire to do such a thing (UN violation anyone?).

But that's no surprise is it?

"Traveling around Israel (as defined by the now non-existent 1967 borders) I saw no evidence of a country girded for battle. (Admittedly I haven't been to Sderot where the Qassem rockets strike.). I thought I'd see tons of soldiers on duty but the only ones I saw were buying refreshments, shopping or being revved up about the holocaust at Vad Yashem. Michael Warshawsky, veteran Israeli peace activist, says I'm not wrong. News about Palestinians is not page one, he says, but page four."

They're so inured by occupying Palestinians that they don't even merit a second thought.

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