Saturday, October 13, 2007

American Idol


Did you notice how always candidates in the "initial screening" stage of the competition always wear a "serial number" on their shirt?
I mean, I'm sure that logistically the judging crew could be informed in advance for the number of the next candidate, or they could write the candidate name instead.
I guess that it sheds a certain kind of "light" on the show, one desired by its producers, when every candidate in the beginning is just a "number" in big ol' America. That is, of course, until he makes it big and goes to Hollywood. In Hollywood they wouldn't introduce "Number 555753 now on stage!", in Hollywood you have a name. You made it big, you deserve a name.
One reason I noticed this fact is that in the Israeli parallel to "American Idol" people do not wear numbers when they audition.. Cultural difference I guess.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Plan

I have decided not to waste any time, so on the first day of the Blog's existence, the first post will have to do with a political issue.

Benny Elon is a Knesset Member (MP) in Israel. Recently he started a new initiative (yozma) aiming for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, his entire initiative is flawed.
I do not know exactly what went through his mind when he thought about it, but I'll explain exactly all the reasons I have to think it is wrong, and will not solve a single issue of the conflict.

First of all, you can read about the initiative in the official website: Hayozma.

Now concerning the flaws of the initiative, as deduced from the website:

1. Israel will annex the West Bank. Note that there is no indication of partial annexation whatsoever, so the conclusion, until written otherwise, is of full annexation.

2. Palestinians will "be allowed" to remain there. Even the hint that it is in Israel's moral jurisdiction and responsibility to decide what non-Jews remain in the area after it was occupied militarily smells of fascism. I do not need to remind you that settling Jews in the area after 1967 was illegal to begin with?

3. Palestinians will become "Jordanian Citizens". Last time I checked, Jordan has no jurisdiction over the West Bank, no military presence there, and no political aspirations of controlling the area. So what do we have here? A proposal to make the Palestinians citizens of a nation that does not desire them, giving them voting rights to a government that has no jurisdiction over the territory they reside in, and deny Palestinian independence due to egotistical ideals. If Israel annexes the West Bank, why not make Palestinians Israeli citizens? Because he wants to conserve the Jewish majority. Understandable. But to occupy land and deny basic rights in order to conserve a religious majority is non-democratic, no matter which way you look at it.

4. Hundreds of thousands of refugees will get financial assistance etc. Oh, but now he mentions it, along with his plan of annexing the West Bank? Surely we missed until this day Elon's deep humanitarian concerns. Or is it a pathetic attempt, a wolf in sheep's clothing?

5. He (Elon) suggests it is possible to convince King Abdullah II of the plan. What does he base this on? Abdullah has shown no interest in accepting the West Bank before, and Palestinians were not granted citizenship when the West Bank was under Jordanian rule [2/1/08 correction - they were granted citizenship, but Jordan renounced any intentions of keeping the West Bank and acknowledged the PLO as the sole representatives of the Palestinian people in 1988, -Eyal]. In addition, no word is said about the national aspirations of the Palestinians. Did he forget there are millions of people who desire independence here? I guess it didn't cross his mind.

6. He asserts the establishment of Israel did not deprive the Palestinians of a state, because such a state never existed. True, but irrelevant. Just because it doesn't exist doesn't mean it shouldn't be established. The Palestinians exist, they define themselves nationally today, and they have shown national aspirations. The past is irrelevant, typical rightist populism.

7. He asserts UN Relief and Works agency failed. I think it is against his interest asserting such a thing considering it is the Israeli security forces (who should be blessed every day, don't get me wrong) that prevent them from doing their work on a regular basis. That, and Israeli government policy in the territories of preferring 1 Jewish settler over the basics to the well being of 100 Palestinians.

8. He says his path is beyond politics. That would be true if his campaign was solely based on aiding the population. However, he wants to give a political solution to a political problem. Which makes his statement populist and purely demagogic.

These are the outlines of why Elon's plan is detached, insincere and plainly unjust.
An anecdote: The Hebrew slogan for the initiative reads "What is good for Israel", while the English slogan for the initiative reads "The Right Road to Peace". Did someone say insincerity?

To further bring it home, I think the Jordanians made it quite clear they do not want the Palestinian burden just as much as we do. In fact, they would only sign the peace treaty with Israel after it was made clear that with the Oslo accords, Jordan will be not held responsible to the territory, and might be left out of the game.
It's the basics of the plan which make it absurd and irrational, ignoring reality, and having no foresight or hindsight at the same time. Trying to pull back Jordan into the game this way is not only idiotic, it's also endangering the Israeli-Jordanian peace. However, I wouldn't expect better from Elon.