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Friday, July 29, 2011

Tel Avivians overcome

It's only been a week since I noted that with the granting of 60,000 tourist visas for 'Palestinians' this summer, Tel Avivians would have to scrounge for 'Palestinians' to 'import' illegally into their city for their own pleasure and for that of the international media. But give Tel Aviv credit. With at least half its denizens living in tent cities to protest the fact that the government isn't handing out free apartments on Bograchov and Dizengoff, the remainder managed to sneak into Judea and Samaria, find 'Palestinians,' smuggle them back into Israel and get them photographed on the beach by an eager New York Times photographer.
Most had never seen the sea before.

The women were Palestinians from the southern part of the West Bank, which is landlocked, and Israel does not allow them in. They risked criminal prosecution, along with the dozen Israeli women who took them to the beach. And that, in fact, was part of the point: to protest what they and their hosts consider unjust laws.

In the grinding rut of Israeli-Palestinian relations — no negotiations, mutual recriminations, growing distance and dehumanization — the illicit trip was a rare event that joined the simplest of pleasures with the most complex of politics. It showed why coexistence here is hard, but also why there are, on both sides, people who refuse to give up on it.

“What we are doing here will not change the situation,” said Hanna Rubinstein, who traveled to Tel Aviv from Haifa to take part. “But it is one more activity to oppose the occupation. One day in the future, people will ask, like they did of the Germans: ‘Did you know?’ And I will be able to say, ‘I knew. And I acted.’ ”
Isn't that great? They even got the Times to publish a quote comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. I'm sure it wasn't too hard.

And you can bet that none of these women would be interested in taking landlocked kids from Jerusalem to the beach in the summer either. What a sickness!
The Palestinian visitors came with complicated histories. In most of their families the men have been locked up at some point. For example, Manal, who had never been to the sea before, is 36, the mother of three and pregnant; five of her brothers are in Israeli prisons, and another was killed when he entered a settler religious academy armed with a knife.

She brought with her an unsurprising stridency. “This is all ours,” she said in Tel Aviv. She did not go home a Zionist, but in the course of the day her views seemed to grow more textured — or less certain — as she found comfort in the company of Israeli women who said that they, too, had a home on this land.

Another visitor lives in a refugee camp with her husband and children. Her husband’s family does not approve of her visits (“ ‘How can you be with the Jews?’ they ask me. ‘Are you a collaborator?’ ”) but she did not hide the relief she felt at leaving her overcrowded camp for a day of friends and fun.

The beach trips — seven so far — have produced some tense moments. An effort to generate interest in a university library fell flat. An invitation to spend the night met with rejection by Palestinian husbands and fathers. Home-cooked Israeli food did not make a big impression. And at a predominantly Jewish beach, a policeman made everyone nervous.

So, on this latest visit, the selected beach was one in Jaffa that is frequented by Israeli Arabs. Nobody noticed the visitors.
I wonder how long it will take before these women manage to bring in a splodeydope. In July 2005, two 'Israeli Arabs' and an Israeli Jew drove a 'Palestinian' suicide bomber to the HaSharon mall in Netanya. The bomber blew himself up, and two years later the people who drove him to the spot were convicted of manslaughter. They claimed they didn't know what they were doing; these women have no such claim. But perhaps they just don't care about that.

One more thing. Speaking of the tent cities....
Dinner was a surprise. Hagit Aharoni, a psychotherapist and the wife of the celebrity chef Yisrael Aharoni, is a member of the organizing group, so the beachgoers dined on the roof of the Aharonis’ home, five floors above stylish Rothschild Boulevard, where hundreds of tents are currently pitched by Israelis angry with the high cost of housing. The guests loved Mr. Aharoni’s cooking. They lighted cigarettes — something they cannot do in public at home — and put on joyous Palestinian music. As the pink sun set over the Mediterranean, they danced with their Israeli friends.
What could go wrong?

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At 8:45 AM, Blogger יונתן said...

"Joyous Palestinian music?" It may be many things, but "joyous" it ain't.

At 1:33 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

If Israeli leftists want to host Arabs, that's their affair. They can just can leave the rest of Israel out of it!


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