Archives for posts with tag: Israel

what a peacemakers: a vivid image of our world.

Since 1967, Israel has practised a range of policies leading to the internal displacement of about 160,000 Palestinians within the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Of these actions, house demolitions are the most visible.

These are carried out by the Israeli army for a number of reasons, including “administrative” demolitions, where Palestinian homes have been built without Israeli-issued permits, as well as punitive demolitions –  where a family member is accused of being involved in militant activity.

The most devastating demolitions, however, are caused by large-scale military operations, such as those during the war on Gaza in 2008-09.

Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) argues that, seen in their totality since 1967, these home demolitions amount to an intentional “policy of displacement”.

Last year, ICAHD presented the United Nations with a report, charging that Israel had a deliberate policy of forcing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem, and that this might constitute a war crime.

The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, dismissed the report.

ICAHD said 2011 was the record year of displacement , with the destruction of some 622 Palestinian structures by Israeli authorities, of which 222 were family homes. This resulted in 1,094 people being displaced – almost double the number for 2010.

But Thomas Merton belonged to a generation that lived through real apocalypses brought about by political actors: Auschwitz, Hiroshima, and Vietnam. Mary Bryden, a specialist in modern literature, suggests that the recurrent apocalyptic motifs that surface in Merton’s writings reflect two somewhat contradictory notions of how the world might end: one emerging from religious expectation, and the other from a more plausible secular angst. In 1968, the year of his death (caused when an electric fan fell into his bathtub) he wrote in his diary that the news of the murder of Martin Luther King had pressed down upon him “like an animal, a beast of the apocalypse.”

But before this ends the article read:

This shift in doctrine clearly facilitates the cozy relationship between Mitt Romney, the first Mormon Saint ever to have a plausible shot at the US presidency, and his friend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During his recent visit to Jerusalem Romney delighted his hosts by calling the disputed city Israel’s capital, although the US and most other countries refuse to do so. He also suggested that because of their own cultural background (rather than the Israeli occupation) the Palestinians were incapable of showing the same level of ”economic vitality” as Israelis. Netanyahu was equally warm, praising and hugging Romney, clearly indicating that he wants Romney to defeat Obama in November. As the Haaretzcommentator Uri Misgav somewhat mischievously put it, the US-educated Netanyahu “doesn’t speak English or even American; he speaks fluent Republicanese.”

More alarming than “Republicanese,” however, may be the apocalyptic mindset both men share.