The media is always looking for new exciting ‘stories,’ but when it comes to the Palestinians and to Israel’s rule over them, the threshold of stimulation is constantly rising.
By Amira Hass
In my op-ed of January 27 (“Israel’s logic of dispossession”) there was a mistake. I drew a connection between the violence of the settlers and the systematic violence of the state, the manufacturer of the dispossession, and I wrote the following sentence, which contradicts the reality: “It is very tempting to say that the road to disaster is paved with logical steps, but the disaster is long in coming.”
That’s nonsense of course, if you’ll excuse me. The Palestinians live in a routine of ongoing and incremental disasters. What is the deliberate imprisonment of 1.8 million people in a narrow strip of 360 square kilometers, if not ongoing calamity? And what is “Area C” and the prohibitions against construction and movement and drinking and irrigating there, if not an endless man-made disaster?
In my defense I will say that I fell into the trap of addressing one group (Israelis) as the target audience, and thereby ended up with a not-self-evident ignoring of the second group (Palestinians).
The nature of routine is that it doesn’t interest the media – which is always looking for new, exciting and stimulating “stories,” which are good for ratings. The threshold of stimulation and interest is constantly rising, especially when it comes to our rule over the Palestinians. The silencing of what is going on, and with it the negation of the routine Israeli violence, are explained as a simple professional journalistic choice. And in that way we get used to the disaster of the subjugated, until it’s as though it doesn’t exist. Thus there’s nothing new and exciting in the following sampling of disasters, which don’t make the headlines here:
Friday, January 29: The Civil Administration inspectors confiscated trucks and equipment for paving an agricultural road in the village of Khirbet al-Deir in the northern Jordan Valley. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, between January 12 and January 25 two vehicles used for an agricultural project funded by donors were confiscated in the village of Taysir, as well as three privately owned tractors in the areas of Jenin, Nablus and Bethlehem and excavation equipment in Umm Faghara in the southern Hebron district (confiscation = theft of livelihood = loss of work days due to the bureaucracy involved in returning property = giving up food/medicines/a trip with the kids or a visit to an elderly aunt = the searing difference: The Jews on the hills and in the valleys build and pave and prepare and irrigate their crops).
January 27, at 11:30 A.M: The Israel Navy fired at a fishing boat opposite the Al-Sudaniya coast in the northern Gaza Strip. The soldiers detained four fishermen (including a minor, aged 17) and confiscated the boat. The report of the negotiations department of the Palestine Liberation Organization doesn’t tell for how long they were detained, where and how they were returned (the detention and confiscation = fear of shooting = theft of livelihood = theft of time = hunger = the searing insult: There is nobody protecting the fishermen from the shark in uniform).
On January 26 the Israel Defense Forces forced several families in Al-Ras al-Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley to evacuate their dwelling place because of army training exercises (removal: Little children see the army boots approaching the tent or the hut and the butts of their rifles. It’s cold. Scary. They don’t understand why they have to evacuate. Confusion, you have to collect all the sheep and goats and movable possessions. Uncertainty, how long will it last this time. Every few weeks/months the evacuation is repeated. The searing discrimination: Have you heard of Jews whose neighborhood was declared a training area that they have to evacuate?).
Also on January 26, at dawn, a military force raided the Qalandiya refugee camp, arrested one person and measured the home of the family if Hussein Abu Ghosh, in preparation for demolition (Abu Gush, 17, stabbed Shlomit Krigman to death in the settlement of Beit Horon, and was killed). The raid: one of 11 that night, all over the West Bank (raid = a neighborhood, village, refugee camp awake at night and living in uncertainty for several hours = frightened children, recalling previous traumatic raids = humiliation = collective punishment).
Between January 12 and 25, in 24 separate incidents, representatives of the Civil Administration and the Jerusalem municipality demolished or dismantled and confiscated 58 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, with the excuse of the lack of a building permit. According to OCHA, 39 people, including 21 children, were uprooted from their homes, and 333 were harmed in other ways due to the demolitions. Sixteen buildings were demolished or confiscated in two Bedouin communities: Jabal al Baba and Abu Nuwar east of Jerusalem, and Al-Mashru’ in the Jericho area. Of these buildings, 14 had been donated as humanitarian assistance after previous demolitions (building without a permit – Israel doesn’t allow the Palestinians to build, it wants to remove them from the land where they live after they were evicted from other places, and to allot it to Jews in the settlements).
Twelve bodies of young people from East Jerusalem who were killed have yet to be returned for burial by their families. Some of the bodies are held for up to 110 days (a delay in burial and holding on to the bodies = emotional abuse = collective punishment = delaying the ability to mourn = a searing of the helplessness in the face of bottomless wickedness).
(Source / 03.02.2016)