Village of Turmos Ayya from top of Shilo
Originally uploaded by ePublicist
A Jewish "Settler" resident of the modern Jewish community of Shilo which grew up beside the site of ancient Biblical Shilo exchanges email messages with an Arab, resident of the village of Turmosayya, located in the valley beneath Shilo. Is there a place for true dialog between the two?
Ray Hanania, Arab News
JERUSALEM, 9 December 2007 — Palestinians I meet always point to the Israeli occupation as the main stumbling block preventing them from achieving independence and driving their oppressive lives. But I think far more obstacles exist that Palestinians are afraid to acknowledge, most that begin right in their own back yards.
Maybe because I was raised in America where tyranny is far more subtle and less violent than the real threats and physical dangers facing people in the Arab and Muslim Worlds. Or, maybe it is also because I am a realist, a state of mind that apparently continues to elude Palestinian society. Palestinians live in the past. Even when they emigrate to the Western countries, they may live physically in their adopted homelands, but they remain mentally imprisoned in “the balad. “The heaviest chains of this self-oppression may in fact be something Palestinians call “normalization.”
“Normalization” is a state of mind in which Palestinians prevent themselves from living in the present so they can dwell in the long lost past. Normalization is the act of refusing to accept reality, insisting that Palestinian existence is not in the present but in the past In this “unreality,” fading memories are more important than the clarity of the present.
Palestinian activists use “Normalization” as a bludgeon to keep Palestinians in line like sheep. Extremists pull the strings of suffering and frustration, throwing down the “normalization” card whenever a Palestinian tries to break free of the mental bondage and address the reality of the Israeli occupation.
By working with Israelis, Palestinians argue, they might some how undermine their rights. Maybe Palestinians haven’t looked around, but they are dealing with Israelis in every circumstance, every location and on every level humanly possible.
Earlier this year, a group of mostly Israelis involved in a movement called “OneVoice” sought to organize an event that would showcase Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace. Music. Speeches. And “normalization.” Of course, the extremists spoke out against OneVoice, and so did the so-called moderates like Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas reportedly spread the word that he did not support OneVoice, and the plans for the music festivals were canceled.
Had Abbas trashed the movement because of Lubetzky’s personal failings as a leader, I might have sympathized. But that was not the reason. The reason was that they are against anything that might allow Palestinians to start thinking outside of their self-imposed imprisonment.
Visiting the PNA’s “Ministry of Information” a few years back, I was handed a business card from one of the officials that had a chuckling error. The card did not identify him as a “Public Relations” specialist, but rather as a “Pubic Relations” specialist, an unfortunate typo with embarrassing meaning. I didn’t have the heart to explain how stupid the card made him look.
During this trip through Palestine, I worked closely with many Palestinian journalists, trying to help them find ways to navigate through this real tragedy of Palestinian immobilization. All said they wanted to attend a journalism conference in which editors and reporters of several prominent Israeli newspapers were also scheduled to speak. But, they said they were pressured to stay away. “Normalization,” they said, means Palestinians are not yet ready to, well, deal with Israelis as regular people. Only as enemies. That didn’t stop many Palestinians from coming to my standup
I leave Palestine and Israel this trip recognizing that Palestinians are suffering from several layers of occupation, and a self-imposed oppression that has become the excuse for their failings. They say they want peace with Israel, but many deep down can’t accept the damage to their pride that compromise means accepting that their efforts over the past 60 years have been an utter failure caused by their own failed leadership.
While Palestinians are stifled in their aspirations, only miles away, Israelis are enjoying life, growing as a people and flourishing as a people. The ability of Palestinians to establish their own state continues to erode. That the people driving this erosion are Palestinians themselves is most troubling to me. Imprisoned in a wall of ignorance constructed by their own foolish failure to see through the rhetoric and the hatred of the past to the reality of today, Palestinians have only one option. They can either start living in the reality or they can disappear in the past.
— Ray Hanania is an award winning Palestinian columnist and author. He can be reached at www.hanania.com.
I am also hoping Ghanem can give us some documentation about the claim that land was confiscated and the Shilo sits on Tumos-Ayya land. And I am hoping Yoel can give us some background on Israel's claim that the land was owner less or "state-land" whatever that means.Let me provide you with the following up-to-date links to information that might help you understand. The Palestinians seek and receive a great deal of support in their efforts to thwart the continued existence of Jewish communities throughout the Land of Israel from Peace Now (Shalom Achshav). Recently Peace Now came out with a bombastic claim that 86% of the land Jewish communities were built on were stolen Arab lands. Recent revelations from the IDF's data base of land usage/allocation appears to put the lie to these allegations.
IDF shows flaws in Peace Now reportTo better understand why the discrepancy between Arab (and Peace Now) claims and how the law abiding Israeli government agencies see it, it might be insightful to read the explanation published in a number of places. You see in Ottoman Law there are several different concepts to what we would call "ownership".
JPost March 14, 2007
The Civil Administration noted that the Peace Now report was full of
inaccuracies, and implied that it had included in its figures outposts that the state considered illegal.
"For a number of years, the Civil Administration routinely examined the status of land prior to approving planning procedures and/or prior to allocating land," the letter stated. "This is done carrying out an in-depth re-examination of the status of the land in order to ensure that no harm comes to or use is made of privately held Palestinian land for the needs of Israeli settlement."
Peace Now is calling “private Palestine land” is under the Ottoman Code at best miri land, and it is therefore not privately owned. Rather, it is land in which a person is granted by the state a limited right of use (whence the term usufruct). The rights include, for example, that once registered someone else cannot try to cultivate the same land. This is similar to the rights one has in renting an apartment – someone else cannot come and try to live without permission in the same apartment, but that doesn't mean the renter owns the apartment.Of course the emotional issues are not as rational and cut and dried as legal issues, but for the most part, at least for certain since 1979, no Arab land was confiscated unless for dire security reasons, and then full compensation was provided. Moreover, there are many cases where Arab property was damaged as a result of their direct and active involvement in anti-Jewish activities where none-the-less Israel's champions of civil rights, the Israeli Supreme Court, granted the Arabs compensations for the damage they sustained. Difficult to believe they'd let the Israeli government steal vast tracks of land against the law when they are willing to compensate Arabs involved in endangering Israeli lives.
... contrary to Peace Now, the land remains the property of the state, and therefore it does not revert to the state only if there is a failure to cultivate. Miri land – the land of the Emir, or equivalently, of the sovereign – is state land, period. If there is a failure to cultivate the limited rights granted by the state are withdrawn, not ownership of the land, which was never granted in the first place.
“By the way do you think that any miracle can happen and you guys leave Shilo and return the land to its original owners?”In a manner of speaking, miracles have already happened. You just need to be able to open your eyes to recognize them for what they are.