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West Bank Heritage Sites Put Gasoline on the Fire

Posted on Feb 22, 2010
Flickr / welshkaren

Israel has added two shrines located in the West Bank to a list of national heritage sites, a decision that shows that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is actively working to sabotage the two-state solution,” said a Palestinian peace negotiator.

The U.N. special coordinator for the region expressed concern, noting that the sites—the Tomb of the Patriarchs, where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are believed to be buried, and the Tomb of Rachel—are not only in Palestinian territory, but also are considered holy places in Islam as well as Judaism.

Netanyahu said the sites are important because they represent the historic roots connecting Jews to the land.

The BBC reports that the Israeli prime minister may have been under pressure from nationalist influences.

The mayor of Hebron, where one of the sites is located, said, “This is a very sensitive religious issue, and Netanyahu just lit the fire.”  —PZS

Sources: Haaretz, BBC

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, February 23, 2010 at 2:22 am Link to this comment

On this thread diamond has drilled it,

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By diamond, February 22, 2010 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

What you are really talking about Robert is Israel’s smiling PR ‘drivel’ (not drive) which I’ve seen so many times on a TV screen I’ve lost count. At least that foolish, foolish man Regev has fallen silent. How many more sacred sites are there going to be? This has all been done before: in Hebron, the Golan Heights etc. There are so many sacred sites that Israel simply must have that there will be nothing left for the Palestinians, which is the plan of course. A typical false image is what has gone on with the Golan Heights. Israel claims they have to have the Golan Heights because of an incident where Jewish people took their own lives rather than surrender to the Romans, but the truth is much less sublime. Israel has massive spy facilities on the Golan Heights which allow it to spy on Egypt, Lebanon and Syria any time it wants. You always find that behind the sacred Jewishness that Israel pushes relentlessly is either a phosphorous bomb or an attack helicopter or a spy centre directing the assassins and the IDF on how and where to kill Palestinians and steal their land. It’s all very practical and there’s nothing spiritual about it at all. It’s not about religion: it’s about land, money, power and a new form of colonialism and ethnic cleansing with apartheid thrown in for good measure.

Today I heard someone on the radio saying that there are Muslims in the west with architecture and medical degrees who have been ‘seduced’ by jihad. Isn’t it more likely that they’re simply angry at how Muslims have become the new Communists, the new other, the new expendable enemy of all that is good and ‘sacred’? It’s always the educated ones that make trouble: look at Martin Luther. Without all that book learnin’ he would probably have been a docile monk, with it he got angry that the Catholic church was a den of iniquity and nailed up those theses on the door of the cathedral. The Palestinians are not the problem, the injustice and brutality visted on them daily is the problem. Things may very well be improving in the West Bank because they’ve done a deal with Israel but things are worse than ever in Gaza because Hamas got elected in an election that was freer and fairer by far than the one that put Bush and Cheney in the White House. Such is the madness of this conflict but anyone who says it’s mad gets called a terrorist or told they’re the crazy ones.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, February 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

Israel’s Smiling PR Drive

“Israeli citizens are being recruited to boost the country’s image abroad – but the campaign amounts to papering over cracks”

By Seth Freedman

February 22, 2010 “The Guardian”—Israel’s latest conscripts in the fight to improve the country’s image have been unveiled: ordinary Israeli citizens. Armed only with a government-issued hasbara pamphlet and a winning smile, they will be sent to wage war with their detractors, in an effort to present Israel as a benign, democratic utopia whose only achilles heel is poor public relations.

Into the breach has stepped a phalanx of Israeli spin doctors, who have devised a campaign in which they want all Israelis to participate when travelling overseas by “telling about the beautiful Israel you know”. To that end, three television commercials are currently being aired which mock the foreign media for its portrayal of the country. In one, a French newsreader is shown confusing Independence Day fireworks and flypasts with military action on Israel’s streets. “Fed up with how we’re portrayed abroad?” asks the advert. “You can change the picture.”

The ministry for public diplomacy goes to great lengths instructing Israelis how to conduct themselves when engaged in PR on behalf of the state: first listen, then speak; maintain eye contact; use relaxed body language and tone; don’t preach; ask questions; answer points raised; stick to two or three messages you want to convey; and maintain a sense of humour. If such rules are followed, the campaign literature suggests, there is a strong chance of winning over even the staunchest adversary.

Hasbara is seen as a vital weapon in Israel’s arsenal, both by government officials and ordinary Israelis. According to a poll, 85% of Israeli citizens want to help promote the country’s image abroad, and in itself there is nothing wrong with taking such a patriotic stance. However, as has been seen time and again with Israel’s attempts at hasbara, more often than not the campaigns are based more on witch-hunts and whitewashes than honest debate over the most thorny issues surrounding the state.”


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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, February 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm Link to this comment

There are reports that conditions on the West Bank are improving in many ways. If that’s true, maybe the suggestion floated recently that a “bottom up” rethinking of the dispute needs to take place.

Unlike 90+% of truthdiggers, I believe that Israel would welcome an economically, socially and politically stable West Bank Islamic Palestinian nation. Bob Dylan said, “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.” But the opposite is also true. Let the Palestinians create a polity and an economy they can believe in, that will support them, and their nihilism will vanish. Such a nation would feel it unnecessary to attack Israel.

Ah, but then there’s Gaza. What a mess.

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