“Is this the face of a terrorist?” asks the American poster for Julian Schnabel’s new film, Miral, about a young Palestinian woman of the same name. Dressed as a schoolgirl, looking ten years younger than her actual age of 26, Freida Pinto stares back, the sullenness in her eyes a residue of shouldering the twin burdens of adolescence and occupation at once. – ‘Miral’: Taking the Israel-Palestine Conflict Personally
A film about a young girl’s coming of age is causing quite a storm juxtaposed against world news of an Arab spring, as rockets fly between Gaza and Israel.
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren has been on something of a media blitz recently, seen on Bill Maher’s show last week, today speaking with Chuck Todd, because opinion of Israel remains problematic in Europe, according to a March BBC poll. That’s because, for one thing, people are exhausted with Israel’s continuing claim, as Oren pressed recently, that they are ready to deal any time, but it’s all the Palestinian’s fault. At this point everyone believes both parties are being hopelessly unpractical, which in the end hurts Israel far more, if only based on demographics.
In relation to declining support in the West, Israel and its external supporters commonly talk about delegitimation, as though this decline reflected the malign efforts of people implacably hostile to the very idea of a Jewish state. But in relation to my own country, Britain, this is delusional. The decline of support for Israel simply does not reflect cunning propaganda from Palestinian advocates – whose efforts, taken in themselves, resonate among rather limited sections of the population. It is the actions and words of successive Israeli governments and their supporters in this country and in the United States which have shifted sympathy away from the country.
Coming together with the revelations in the ‘Palestine Papers’ in January about the extraordinary lengths to which Palestinian leaders were prepared to go to accommodate Netanyahu’s predecessors, the conclusion is increasingly being drawn that there is no Israeli ‘partner for peace’. And indeed, people have increasingly been asking themselves whether they have been deluding themselves, and failing to recognise that the continuation of the settlement of the West Bank throughout the period since the 1993 Oslo Accords meant that the whole ‘peace process’ has been misconceived.
In Britain, this scepticism has been moving into the journalistic mainstream. At the time of Obama’s attempts to resuscitate the ‘peace process’ last August, the international affairs editor of the Financial Times, David Gardner, published an article entitled ‘A poisoned process holds little hope.’ Having pointed to the ‘relentless and strategic Israeli colonisation of occupied Palestinian land’ as the fundamental problem vitiating the ‘peace process’, and he went on to remark…
PM Netanyahu, who just met with SecDef Gates, told him that Israel is prepared to act with “great force” to the spreading of violence that is now hitting Israeli – Palestinian regions. From AFP:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US Defence Secretary Robert Gates on Friday that Israel is ready to act with “great force” in response to a spate of rocket fire by Gaza militants and a deadly bus bombing in Jerusalem.
Israel had been “subjected to bouts of terror and rocket attacks,” Netanyahu told reporters before going into a meeting with Gates.
“We stand ready to act with great force and great determination to put a stop to it,” he added, with police saying Israel had not been hit by any projectiles Friday morning.
Netanyahu said he had received a “very warm” telephone call from US President Barack Obama on Thursday expressing his condolences after the latest flare-up in violence.
“Any civilised society will not tolerate such wanton attacks on its civilians,” he said.
Israeli nationalism is keeping Netanyahu and Mr. Oren, however well intentioned their efforts, from seeing the reality sitting in front of their great country. It makes you wonder if these two men are too preoccupied with the past to watch what’s unfolding in the present on Al Jazeera.