A Palestine That Israelis Can't See

How Does an Unsustainable Situation Keep On Going?

Dead End: It’s a truism to say that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is unsustainable. So why does it show no sign of ending anytime soon?
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Dead End: It’s a truism to say that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is unsustainable. So why does it show no sign of ending anytime soon?

By Sam Bahour

Published November 18, 2012, issue of November 23, 2012.
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The dominant narrative, especially in the United States — that any change in the status quo would put Israel in existential danger — is one that Israel has sustained for decades, spending hefty amounts on professional public relation firms and masters of spin to disseminate this message. Listening to world leaders and consuming today’s corporate media, the average person would have a hard time reaching a different conclusion.

Enter reality.

Israel’s 10-meter high separation barrier and the country’s decades of indoctrination have blocked its view and allowed Israelis to simply stop seeing real live Palestinians — decidedly alive, even if not well, and determined to live normal lives.

They can’t see an army of telecommunication engineers and call center operators struggling to create a commercially viable network with a full suite of services even though the needed, imported equipment is routinely delayed — at times for years — at Israeli ports.

They can’t see an army of youth pocketing the latest 3G-enabled smartphones that are useless because the electromagnetic spectrum required to operate a 3G network is controlled by the Israel military, and therefore use of 3G frequencies — like pasta and crayons in Gaza, not long ago — is prohibited by Israel.

They can’t see the dozen or so business incubators that host innovative entrepreneurs, many of them women, who routinely pitch their ideas to investors and enter their business plans in competition, only to be vulnerable to failure because of the innumerable structural impediments imposed by the Israeli occupation.

They can’t see the 18 banks and half-dozen or so equity capital funds that, day in and day out, seek viable businesses to invest in, only to end up with more funds than this militarily occupied market can absorb. They can’t see the enthusiastic young men and women at the Hereditary Research Lab at Bethlehem University exploring the genetics of hearing loss and breast cancer.

They can’t see hundreds of parents — yes, mothers and fathers — holding their children’s hands as they lead them to watch the performances of the Palestinian Circus School or Al Kamandjâti music school.


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