It's the Occupation, Stupid...
With all this talk/non-talk about settlement freezes, natural growth, Jerkowitz' 'Hamas = Nazis' flap and other largely non-issues, it's easy to lose track of the bigger picture: the one that shows Israel maintaining a brutal and illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory for over fourty years now. A reminder that Israel can do what it wants there:
The Israeli military kidnapped on Wednesday four Palestinian civilians during pre dawn invasions targeting a number of villages near the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
Local sources said that Israeli troops stormed and searched homes in the villages of Barta'a Al shrkyia, Arraba abd Zaboba all located near Jenin city. Witnesses said that troops took the four men and left.
The Israeli military radio announced that the four men were taken to military detention camps for questioning.
And here's a letter to the Boston Globe from a writer who gets it:
It is a measure of the both the blindness and weakness of Israeli leaders that there is such an uproar about, and so little tolerance for, critical comments regarding Israeli policy made by the popular Israeli consul general Nadav Tamir. It is also distressing that when the Globe reporter looked for a "dissonant voice" in the Boston Jewish community, he chose the rightwing blog Solomonia.com, which is often filled with hateful rants about anyone to the left of Avigdor Lieberman. There is in fact another "dissonant voice" which has long been troubled by the mainstream Jewish community’s insistence in defending Israeli policy in the face of international as well as Israeli and Palestinian concerns about the impact of occupation and repeated human rights violations.
A few years ago, I heard Tamir state in contradiction to numerous UN, WHO, and international reports, "There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza." I could only wonder if he actually believed that statement or whether lying with impunity has become a national policy as well. Israel’s relations with the US are not strained by bad PR, but rather by continued settlement growth in the West Bank and Jerusalem, a brutal occupation, and a crushing blockade of Gaza that can no longer be hidden.