Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bye Bye

This visit is coming to an end.
From next week I am a London mink.

Rasta Jerusalem

Abyssinian Street, Jerusalem

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Khaled Mashal (Hamas) said today: Hamas's participation in the elections was a 'vital experience disregarding the results', and that this 'experiment' established that the Palestinian Authority has 'no sovereignty and no sound foundations'.

Did they really need to be in power for 10 months to find this out? I could have told them that from the start.

This proves to my mind how irresponsible the Hamas have been. They did not plan to win the elections and when they did, they had no plan. It took them by surprise. As a result they had no strategy to deal with the Israeli/American/European boycot. It is just as if an libertarian prisoner would be elected to head the prisoners' association and then find out -to his great surprise - that the Prison's management is not cooperating anymore.

I think they were just very happy with the titles 'Prime Minister' and 'Minister' and found them really difficult to give up, even if in practice they had no power over anything.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In my dream I learnt, by strange accident, that Kevin Spacey was the man behind the 9/11 attacks. Then I was part of an elaborate sting operation designed to catch him. I cannot quite remember what it entailed, apart from unsolicited sales calls. At some point - perhaps when he realized he had no way of escape - he kicked his pet-camel out of the window of his skyscraper penthouse. Then he followed suit. Spacey died almost instantly, but the poor creature, which had the skin of an alligator, writhed and wriggled for long minutes. I tried to help it by washing it with water. Then the water became a river, washing first the blood and soul of the beast, then its armoured skin, on its way to the ocean of consolation.

says it all


Once Again I'm posting a Haaretz caricuture, I just think they're good.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Iraqi Market, Jerusalem

The news of Rumsfeld's resignation was received with apathy in the Iraqi Market in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Pride

Jerusalem is not Soddom
Get Out of Here
Evil People
Haters of Israel

Jerusalem Pride is tomorrow. This is the fourth Pride; last year someone was stabbed, and this year the threats of violence - from the ultra orthodox community - are posted all around town. They had one saying 'Jews and Arabs against the March of Evil'. Yes homophobia creates strange bedfellows, bringing together Hamas, the Vatican, West Bank settlers and non-Zionist Hassidic Jews. Isn't it heartwarming to see that they can all put their differences aside for once.

The march was shifted from the original course around Nahlat Shiva (the seedy part of town in 1910-1920, but this is never mentioned in official histories) to a very short 500m 'march' to the University area. They are still threatening to cancel it - now because there is a threat of Palestinian retalliation to the bombing on Gaza, and the police say they need the troops elsewhere.

* * *
update: deal with the Orthdox:
Pride rally instead of March.
3,000 cops instead of 12,000
Rabbis call to avoid violence.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


On Tuesday I went to a discussion on the situation in Gaza. I was going to give you funny snippets of the Israeli lefty scene but the latest Beit Hanun massacre (19 civilians killed yesterday) makes this unimportant.

The daily killing is the more visible side of what is going on in Gaza. At the same time there is a sustained attempt to make life there as hellish as possible for the population - but also just about bearable. Israel does not want a visible humanitarian disaster so it allows the UN to provide food (80% of the population depend on it). Three things from the discussion:

(*) After years of restrictions, the Gaza fishermen are now virtually prohibited to go out to sea at all. The implication is not only 3500 families with no supporter, but also dangerous lack of protein in local diet.

(*) The local gross product has shrunk by 25% during the last year. Since the population is growing, this (very roughly) means that standard of living fell by more than 25%. Reasons? mainly the closure of crossing points and inability to export, but also electricity shortages, as a result of the attack on the local plant which provided about half of Gaza's electricity.

(*) If there was any military reason to harm Gaza’s electricity (for example, to stop the production of rockets) Israel could have pressed on the OFF button. Israeli plants provide the other half of Gazan electricity. But pressing a button doesn't give you a good picture.

The attack on Gaza's power station was an act of reprisal and revenge, a collective punishment. Not only did it make life much harder in Gaza, it also no doubt killed people - by limiting elecrticity for hospitals, by making it very hard to refridgerate food. Like the people who died in the Rafah crossing waiting for the border to open, and unlike the dead from yesterday, these people are invisible. All you have is the picture of the destroyed power station: a 'clean' act ("no casulties") of state rage.

Monday, November 06, 2006

warzone tourism

My visits always start with euphoria. Sudden exposure to high levels of sunlight and fabulous vegetables in the market prove to make me extremely happy. The simple things are so much better than in London: less pollution, better food, and a perfect climate. It's refreshing to be around Israelis: they are rude, friendly, lively, and being a visitor, things that would usually make me angry are just funny. Going out in Jerusalem, even more so in Tel Aviv, drinking bison vodka on a roof terrace near the sea, you would never guess a war raged here three months ago; and that a short drive away millions of people live under direct military occupation, or in the biggest prison on earth.

It usually takes me three to four weeks to swing back to reality, and then the encounter is ugly. Had I lived here, there would be networks of friends and work that would keep me going, linearities which I could follow. But as a visitor- the date of my departure is closing on me - I have just the glimpse of things here and now, and this glimpse is thoroughly depressing. To be sure, the war exacerbated things, but perhaps exposed some truths as well, about Israeli society. My own existence here relies critically on a detachment not only from the Israeli state but also from the Israeli army; yet because the military is interlocked so closely with daily life of many Israelis, this kind of detachment is extremely difficult to achieve.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Jaffa railway station 1920/2006


on the bus the other day I saw a dreadlocked girl wearing the Israeli army uniform . Her dreads were carefully tied together on the top of her head. I was very surprised and wanted to ask her:
Does the army allow you to have dreads?
Do your dreads allow you to be in the army?
But I shyed away.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Knafeh: sweet and cheesy