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Jerusalem, October 2009

Battle for JerusalemHello everybody,
Given that the news has swung away from settlement freeze to Iran’s nuclear threat to Israel, I want to bring my friends’ focus back to what is happening in Jerusalem.

Attention on Iran serves to minimise the ‘local’ Israeli occupation, which is after all why I am here. But I do very much regret Iran’s misdemeanours coinciding with the UN debate on the Goldstone Report on war crimes in Gaza. It means opinion changes back once again to what might potentially be done to Israel rather than what Israel is doing to the Palestinians. (Also Yasmin Alibhai-Brown pointed out in the Guardian the other day, what price the IAEI inspecting Israel’s undisclosed nuclear facility at Dimona when it has finished at Qom?) Obama’s tiny window of opportunity for an even-handed consideration of the Israel/Palestinian conflict is closing as the West seems now back to Israel’s view of itself as the tiny state besieged by the huge Arab world. When we went to the settlement of Efrat the other day (see below) the PR man started with a map showing how small Israel is and how the Muslim enemy stretches all along North Africa, down East Africa, over the Indian subcontinent, to the Far East etc. I pointed out that I was from an equally tiny country that had nonetheless bullied the world (including its neighbours) for three hundreds years or more. The size doesn’t matter argument didn’t impress him. And I wasn’t impressed by his view either.

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