The British promised the Arabs that they would create a new and better world for them. The only problem is that they promised the Jews the very same thing...
In the 1920s Britain took over the running of Palestine and came face to face with their hypocrisy and deceit.
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War, or Second Arab-Israeli War (Arabic: أزمة السويس – العدوان الثلاثي ʾAzmat al-Sūwais / al-ʿUdwān al-Thulāthī; French: Crise du canal de Suez; Hebrew: מבצע קדש Mivtza' Kadesh "Operation Kadesh," or מלחמת סיני Milẖemet Sinai, "Sinai War"), was a diplomatic and military confrontation in late 1956 between Egypt on one side, and Britain, France, and Israel on the other, with the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations playing major roles in forcing Britain, France, and Israel to withdraw.
Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel, and then began to bomb Cairo. Despite the denials of the Israeli, British, and French governments, evidence began to emerge that the invasion of Egypt had been planned beforehand by the three powers. Anglo-French forces withdrew before the end of the year, but Israeli forces remained until March 1957, prolonging the crisis. In April, the canal was fully reopened to shipping, but other repercussions followed.
The attack followed the President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser's decision of 26 July 1956 to nationalize the Suez Canal, after the withdrawal of an offer by Britain and the United States to fund the building of the Aswan Dam, which was in response to Egypt's new ties with the Soviet Union and recognizing the People's Republic of China during the height of tensions between China and Taiwan. The aims of the attack were primarily to regain Western control of the canal and to remove Nasser from power.
In the 1950s Nasser used his power to try and enforce his vision of a progressive, planned world. Now Morsi is doing the same - to try and enforce his vision of a deeply conservative, rigid world.
Again it will fail because it is impossible to control the world in that way - either for progressive or conservative aims. What is badly needed in the Middle East - and in the West - is a new, sophisticated politics that accepts the dynamic forces of history, yet tries to seize them and use the chaotic events of this incredibly exciting time we are living through to try and change the world for the better.
In the novel the characters listen to a phonograph roll that describes the achievements of The New Society for the Colonisation of Palestine. It describes how the benevolent technocracy that runs this new society has brought the benefits of European progress to a backward and sparsely populated land. [emphasis mine]
Here’s a paragraph that sums up Curtis’ approach to history:
“Starting in the 1930s, the Israelis set out to try and build in Palestine the new kind of Zionist society that Theodor Herzl had laid out in his novel Altneuland – Old New Land. ”
What? Quite apart from the howler of calling them Israelis in the 1930s, everybody knows that the first large Zionist (as opposed to just Jewish) settlement was Rishon LeZion ("first to Zion"), founded in 1882. Even this was long after the first Zionist projects there, e.g Mikveh Israel in 1870.
Then he says that "The new capital was called Tel Aviv [....]"
In fact Tel Aviv was named and formally laid out in 1910 after decades of Jewish migration to the then-small town of Jaffa nearby. The architect Patrick Geddes, referred to by Curtis presented his plan to the Tel Aviv council in 1925 – but Curtis describes this as being based on “the technocratic belief that flourished in the 1930s – and again in the 1950s – that you could shape the environment around human beings as a total system that would make them stronger, more confident and morally better human beings. ”
So, not only late, but fascist.
You will reenact this moment in mirrored reversal the next day, back in Jerusalem, with other friends who are Israeli, whom you had invited naïvely the previous day to also come to Palestine and who had reacted with bewildered astonishment. Of course I can’t go, one of these friends had told you. I’m a Jew. This will have seemed impossibly oversimplified but will soon become axiomatic. But before it does, you will still be hoping to effect only the smallest of changes, aiming, you hope, for an achievable goal: telling stories is something that can make a difference. You will be proud of yourself for maintaining idealism without veering into naïve foolishness or neocolonialism. You are only telling stories, after all, and their effect will be small, but that (you will reason) is at the heart of why it just might work; this is how real change happens. So you will tell your Israeli friends, whom you love and who are beautiful and kind, of your day in Ramallah. We met the nicest guy, you will say. We were a bit worried to say my friends lived in Tel Aviv, but he didn’t care at all. Wait for the impact of this statement on your Israeli friends. Small changes, you will think. All they want, your friend will say, is for us to die. Disagree with this. Assume you are well traveled and erudite and sophisticated and very well informed. Say something like All they want is to live their lives in peace, just like you. Try not to be offended when the look on your friend’s face resembles a parent’s. You are good friends; there is room for disagreement without hurt feelings or dismissal. But you have been rebuffed. Even your smallest dose of optimism has been undone.
For the first time in five years, Israel on Sunday allowed 20 truckloads of building materials into Gaza for use by the private sector, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials. One of the first tangible concessions under a cease-fire deal reached after eight days of intensive fighting in November, it signaled a shift in Israel’s approach to the Palestinian enclave.
Israeli officials said that construction materials would now be allowed in on a daily basis via the Kerem Shalom crossing on Israel’s border with Gaza.
The shipment on Sunday came in addition to 34 trucks of gravel that crossed into Gaza over the weekend from Egypt, which also had Israel’s approval. The materials from Egypt were earmarked for housing complexes and other construction projects that the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, pledged to pay for when he visited Gaza in October.
« Older A soccer stadium in Palestine was destroyed recent... | Dispatch from the Boring 2012 ... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt