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‘Let Them Eat Coriander!’
by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth
As Israel this week declared the “easing” of the four-year blockade of Gaza, an official explained the new guiding principle: “Civilian goods for civilian people.” The severe and apparently arbitrary restrictions on foodstuffs entering the enclave – coriander bad, cinnamon good – will finally end, we are told. Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants will have all the coriander they want.
This “adjustment”, as the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu termed it, is aimed solely at damage limitation. With Israel responsible for killing nine civilians aboard a Gaza-bound aid flotilla three weeks ago, the world has finally begun to wonder what purpose the siege serves. Did those nine really need to die to stop coriander, chocolate and children’s toys from reaching Gaza? And, as Israel awaits other flotillas, will more need to be executed to enforce the policy?
Jonathan Cook reports about the latest phase of Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign:
Israel’s housing minister called for strict segregation between the country’s Jewish and Arab populations last week as he unveiled plans to move large numbers of fundamentalist religious Jews to Israel’s north to prevent what he described as an “Arab takeover” of the region.
Ariel Atias said he considered it a “national mission” to bring ultra-Orthodox Jews — or Haredim, distinctive for their formal black and white clothing — into Arab areas, and announced that he would also create the north’s first exclusively Haredi town.
The new settlement drive, according to Atias, is intended to revive previous failed efforts by the state to “Judaize,” or create a Jewish majority in, the country’s heavily Arab north.
To add to my earlier comments about Jonathan Cook, here is a video interview in which he discusses his book Blood and Religion: Unmasking the Jewish and Democratic State. His focus is on those Palestinians who hold Israeli nationality. Their plight illustrates problems at the heart of Zionism which the two-state solution can do nothing to solve. A good source of video interviews, documentaries and reportage from Palestine can be found at Palestine Video.
We tend to focus on the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza and to forget about their relatives in the refugee camps of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, and especially those inside the 1948 borders of Israel. It is becoming increasingly urgent to learn about the so-called ‘Arab-Israelis’, for two reasons. First, because their plight illustrates that Zionism, even without an occupation, requires some form of apartheid. Second, because as Israel’s Palestinian community grows to more than 20% of the total, and as fascist movements flourish, this community is increasingly at risk of another large-scale ethnic cleansing. Adalah is a good place to start researching the legal, political and economic discrimination against Arabs in Israel. Jonathan Cook’s website and his book, Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State, are excellent resources. Here is a recent article by Cook on Israel’s denial of basic services to the Bedouin population.
Bedouin Baby’s Power Struggle with Israel
Little Ashimah Abu Sbieh’s life hangs by a thread — or more specifically, an electricity cable that runs from a noisy diesel-powered generator in the family’s backyard. Should the generator’s engine fail, she could die within minutes. Continue reading “Palestinian Israelis”