Politics, Race

A conversation between, Ghassan Shakah, the mayor of Israeli occupied Nablus, and the unnamed occupying Colonel, as reported by Ghassan Shakah:

Mayor: Our people are suffering terribly. You destroy our electricity and water systems, we repair them with German and Norwegian money, and you destroy them again. We can’t bear this collective punishment any longer.

Colonel: One third of the suicide bombings originate in Nablus. Yes, we’re hurting you, but we’ve no other way to stop the terror.

Mayor: You’ve destroyed our police stations, and we have no police and no courts. You never mention the cause of all the trouble—your cruel occupation.

Colonel: Stop the terror.

Mayor: But I told you, we have no police in the streets. You’ve forbidden them to wear uniforms or to carry guns.

Colonel: Oh, that is a policy issue, so I have nothing to say. The occupation is a political decision, so I have nothing to say. As a soldier, I am here to obey orders.

Mayor: You are not only destroying our houses, but our economy and our culture.

The article goes on to ask the question: Does the Geneva Accord signed last December still offer any hope for peace?” It gives a good account of the strengths and weaknesses of the plan, but the question is rather beside the point, as Bush has already endorsed Sharon’s plan. What is Sharon’s plan?

Sharon’s master plan, as revealed in many articles in the Israeli press, is to create three Palestinian cantons—to the north of Jerusalem, to the south of Jerusalem, and the third (very small) around Jericho near the Jordan River. Another fence, not yet approved by his cabinet or the Knesset, would cordon off for Israel a large swath of eastern Palestine mostly in the Jordan Valley. The Palestinians already call the cantons Bantustans; Sharon will call them a Palestinian state.

In another article in the same issue of the New York Review of Books, Samantha Power writes about Hannah Arendt’s theory of totalitarianism:

… the targets of persecution also had to be subtly removed from the realm of legal, national, and ultimately moral obligation. In Origins, Arendt showed totalitarian regimes only gradually denying a person his legal right to have rights, or his government’s protection; forcing him into such subhuman conditions that he began to lose his capacity for human solidarity; and destroying his individuality and spontaneity so that nothing remained but ghastly marionettes with human faces.” By the end of this sequential, determined process, the rightless,” as Arendt classified them, had become not merely a means to an end, but an utterly superflurous” subsection of humanity.