Tag Archives: neo-colonialism

conspiracies no. 2

“Just watch, now that you have more advertising in the West Bank, you’re going to see this message creeping in: ‘You deserve it.’ It’s not about community, it’s about you. That’s the death knell for the society. That will finally drive the wedge between the Palestinians and their community. When people are out for “me, me, me”, it’s over. The community is the only thing holding them together. What the Israelis may not understand -or maybe they do and what’s happening is intentional- is that the biggest barrier they face is the tie that binds the Palestinians together, the glue that solidifies their protest. The fact that the neighbors bring over food. The men sitting out back singing old Palestinian folk songs late into the night. Once they destroy that sense of community the population is finally anesthetized, an anesthetized population doesn’t have the energy or the desire to resist the occupation. They buy into it, pun intended.”

Ramallah Syndrome

– Munir:
I wrote an article about Ramallah and Gaza. I said: Gaza is being destroyed form outside and the main tool is the Israeli army, Ramallah is being destroyed from the inside, and the main tool is the World Bank – which is the consumption. The consumption pattern is really getting inside of us, our thinking and our perceptions; and our relationships etc. are decided totally by this pattern.

All the talk about Gaza is about how can we ruin it from the inside. The idea of ‘help’ and paying money and reconstruction and so on, is actually to finish Gaza from the inside. As long as the destruction is only from the outside, Gaza is safe. Ramallah is not safe. Because on the outside it looks like everything is fine and everything is flourishing, so I feel… development projects change the city in ways that are much worse than sometimes destroying a few buildings here and there.

I want to say something about the word resistance. When an army invades you resist the army. When consumption invades you resist consumption. Ramallah is not resisting consumption.

– Manal:
What do you mean by consumption?

– Munir:
The number of workshops in Ramallah is consumption beyond belief, for example. Another one is the rise of the banks – Ramallah it is becoming the hub…

– Manal:
This is happening everywhere…!

– Munir:
We have to resist the pattern of living is being imposed on us but very sweetly … but this is how the world has been conquered.

– Manal:
I see consumption everywhere, not only in Ramallah. It’s the mentality of societies everywhere. In Damascus – an unoccupied place – consumption is everywhere. It is a world plan. I want you not to just collect the issues and see them in Ramallah…don’t just condense everything in Ramallah.

– Nasser:
But what’s interesting in Ramallah, what’s specific about it, is that the creation of a regime of consumption is precisely linked to the occupation by army Munir was talking about. Actually there is not such a split between occupation through consumption and occupation through army, they are two intertwined and interlinked things. It is about the creation of new subjectivities, people think differently, you are reconstituting subjects, reconfiguring people…the radicality of the situation here positions this in a much wider process of fragmentation and bantustanization; it means that here consumption cannot be separated from the colonial regime.

[Extracts from conversation No. 5]

I saw the first sign at Snobar and the second one today at Prontos. “Who is Celebrating Ramallah?” today’s sign asks. The signs are only in English and seem to be geared towards the audience of expats or those blessed to know today’s global lingua franca. I met with a friend in Jerusalem yesterday who is going north to watch checkpoints with EAPPI for a while. She just couldn’t believe what I was telling her about Ramallah. Wait’ll you see, I told her. Wait’ll you see. I tried to find out more about “Ramallah Syndrome”, and though the signs are new, their website hasn’t been updated in nearly a year. It’s delightfully surreal because I feel like I’ve been talking to a brick wall the whole time I’ve been in this city. These signs sit on walls like angels on my shoulders. If anyone knows where I can find them, please let me know.

Occupation Humor

Haaretz reports that settlers in Gush Etzion are protesting the Israeli apartheid wall that is supposed to cut through the land south of Jerusalem. In fact, the land is slated to be built into a new colony and I guess the settlers don’t want a big ugly wall running through the center of their “neighborhood”!

The Givat Yael company has launched a public campaign to persuade the Defense Ministry to reroute the separation fence southeast of Jerusalem to enable construction of a new neighborhood beyond the Green Line.

Environmental organizations, residents of the Arab village of Walaja – which abuts the planned neighborhood – and settlers from Gush Etzion have all joined the campaign, saying the fence’s present route is destructive both to people and the environment.

The fence could also crush Givat Yael’s chances of ever being built, as it cuts the new neighborhood’s planned area in two, reducing the land value.

Danny Tirza, a former top Defense Ministry official who planned the separation fence, today suggests moving it so that all of Walaja is on the Israeli side. The company had asked Tirza to propose an alternative fence route.

The present route is harmful to both Palestinians and the developers, he wrote in a document for the Givat Yael company, which Haaretz has obtained.

As currently proposed, the fence would be ineffective for security and detrimental to nature, Tirza wrote about the route he himself planned. The new route would improve security and eliminate local Palestinians’ “sense of suffocation.” It would also minimize the environmental damage and enable Givat Yael to be built, as well as being shorter and cheaper, he said.

“This route is good for both Jews and Arabs,” he asserted yesterday.

The greens and the settlers are holding a joint demonstration against the fence today. Palestinians have also demonstrated against the fence in recent days, at times clashing violently with security forces.

Businessmen Benny and Danny Cohen, who bought 2,500 dunams in the area 20 years ago, have been trying for years to promote the Givat Yael project, consisting of 13,000 housing units.

But the plan is expected to rouse the American administration’s ire, and is thus not likely to be implemented in the next few years.

“I realize that at the moment, the neighborhood is irrelevant,” Danny Cohen said. “But I believe it will rise even if we wait another 10 years. There will be no choice but to build it,” to accommodate Jerusalem’s need for new housing, he said.

The proposed neighborhood would be built in the city’s southeast, near the Malha mall and the Biblical Zoo. The plans, which were drawn up six years ago, call for a major residential area that would ultimately house some 45,000 people, as well as commercial areas and a sports club.

Defense officials yesterday blasted Tirza’s proposed new route, saying it violates the principle that the fence must be as close to the Green Line as possible to avoid annexing Palestinian lands and people.

“It is not proper for the man who planned the fence, and defended its route in court, to suddenly become a businessman and attack the route,” one defense official said.

The Defense Ministry commented: “The fence was approved by the government and the court. The planned route provides the best security solution and causes the least harm to the Palestinian community and the environment.”

My favorite part of this story is how the settlers feign concern for the Palestinians and their “sense of suffocation”. Personally, I think if they cared about that they probably wouldn’t have a fence or a blockade in place. If they were so concerned about negative feelings, why the occupation? Perhaps the more pressing concern is the “environment”. Make me laugh twice! It’s the pathetic excuse the Jerusalem municipality comes up with when they argue they don’t want to build in parts of West Jerusalem because it could harm some fluffy bunnies hopping along merrily in the hills. It follows that Palestinians are lower than fluffy bunnies, as they end up being tossed to the curb in the rabbit’s stead.  I suppose this means the settlers are incredibly sensitive people, as they’re worried about both the environment and the Palestinians!