Monday, May 25, 2009

Settlements, Nakba, Culture and Netanyahu-Leiberman

The Netanyahu government has made so many bad decisions since its inception, and these last few days particularly, that it's hard to decide where to start criticizing it. I'll try, anyway.
  • Netanyahu has declared that construction in the settlements will not be halted. He claims it doesn't make sense not to allow for "natural growth". I'd say that if a family has a new baby and doesn't have enough room for him, or a new couple gets married, they should do something crazy like buy a house within the green line. What's so bad about the Galilee or the Sharon area?
  • A government panel has approved a bill banning the commemoration of the Nakba. Ministers from the Labor Party have appealed the decision, so the question will come before the whole cabinet prior to a vote in the Knesset. If this becomes law it will do nothing but incite violence and radicalize Israel's Arab population. Who proposed this bill? It's MK Alex Miller, of Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party. Ehud Barak, meanwhile, has avoided voicing an opinion on the matter, saying people should be dealing with "more serious issues". This powder keg is not a serious issue?
  • Another Liebermanite, Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovich, ordered the police to disrupt an international Palestinian literary fair in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority has declared Jerusalem as the Palestinian center of culture, and the Israeli government is scared shitless that this tag may stick. What does Israel gain by disrupting cultural events? It just ends up looking like a bully.


  1. I'm really interested to see how this Naqba commemorating bill is going to pan out. One Israeli critic I came across (link on request) called it 'sinking to the depths of stupidity'.

    It's with incredulity I watched this 'idea' being announced on Press TV.

    By and large I consider the Palestinian cause to be lost. But the sheer stubbornness and petty stupidity of this latest government offers a last glimmer of hope. Not much though...

  2. I really have no idea what will happen here. On the one hand, this is a glaringly stupid, undemocratic and counterproductive idea. On the other hand, many may be reluctant to oppose the bill because they think it would look like they themselves see Israel's establishment as a Nakba.

  3. And is it not also possible that Likud may not want to put this fragile coalition to the test, so early on in its term?

  4. Yes, Netanyahu probably will try to find a way to make this go away quietly. The question is what he'd do if Lieberman insists on this legislation.