Sunday, July 6, 2008

Two Israels

Nick Kristoff had a good column a couple weeks ago about the tightening security regime in the West Bank, particularly in Hebron. He concludes by challenging the U.S. presidential candidates to be more specific about which Israel they are referring to when they pledge their support and friendship. Kristoff hopes it is the Israel represented by organizations like B'Tselem, which would be wonderful but of course is not what anyone understands to be the case when Obama and McCain speak to AIPAC.

Unfortunately the Israel represented by the settlers is the one the authorities seem to be listening to here in Hebron. I'm not sure about B'Tselem, but Breaking the Silence and Bnei Avraham (Sons of Abraham), another Israeli peace group, have recently been prevented by military order from entering Hebron. Their case will go to court in a couple months, but in the meantime they will not be able to bring delegations or meet with their Palestinian counterparts. This not only hinders the work of these groups, it limits the Israelis in Hebron to those that carry machine guns and those that throw rocks. Doesn't seem like the way to create peace.

Speaking of B'Tselem, they've done a lot of work in Hebron and have a good description of the situation that has developed since the Oslo accords here.

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