Postcards from Gaza
Photographs by Kitra Cahana
Commentary by Jay Michaelson
Page two

Then again, it's those same people who have benefited from government subsidies, race-based privilege, and violence. They are being treated badly now, and that is both disgraceful and stupid. But they've had it unfairly good for a long time now, on the backs of others.

The disengagement is bad, the separation barrier is bad, the weakness of Palestinian moderates is bad -- nothing is pretty here. Yet I have still not seen a right-wing alternative that makes any sense at all, except for ethnic cleansing. There are two million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Whether we like it or not, they are not leaving. Thus the choice is clear: either (1) continue the occupation, which costs lives and money and which creates all kinds of cruelty and injustice, or (2) discontinue the occupation, by getting out of there. Option (2) used to mean a Palestinian state, but the disengagement is a unilateral move: it's happening whether there's a state or not. The only other option is (3) keep the territories but end the occupation -- i.e., a Palestine without Palestinians. Once unthinkable except on the extreme radical right, one hears this option -- "transfer" -- suggested more and more.

The bumper stickers read: "A Jew Does Not Expel A Jew." A friend of mine wrote "A Jew Does Not Expel an Arab... A Jew Does Not Expel a Thai..."

Closure or no, Gush Katif is now a stewpot. Radicals, messianists, soldiers, Palestinian terrorists, Palestinian civilians, settlers, peace workers, journalists, protesters. In a way, this is a more truthful Gaza. The Gush Katif of only a month or two ago was a peaceful, gated community where residents didn't lock their doors. But it was an illusion. The tranquility, spaciousness, and beauty existed only because of tanks and guns, sometimes visible, sometimes not. If you went to Gush Katif, you would see a loving community of religious families, tending their gardens. Just like at Disneyland, which also has a network of secret jails.

It's nuts that the settlements are going to be razed. Gaza has thousands of homeless Palestinians -- and Israel and the Palestinians are now arguing about where to put the rubble of homes. But in reality, it's the only way. The Israelis can't stomach seeing Palestinian flags over former Jewish settlements -- or, more likely, Palestinian teenagers trashing and destroying them. The Palestinian Authority doesn't want them either. The settlements are a symbol to be eradicated. What's more, everyone knows what would happen if these spacious villas were suddenly made available: corruption, infighting, and, in the end, the privileged, powerful few would grab the prize for themselves. In this conflict, the only sensible way is the absurd.

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August 2005

Tisha B'Av
David Harris Ebenbach

Postcards from Gaza
Photographs by
Kitra Cahana

Morituri Te Salutant
Ari Belenkiy

The Place of Anger
Fiction by Jay Michaelson

Much Ado on 2nd Avenue
Leah Koenig

Elinor Carucci: Diary of a Dancer
Commentary by Eliot Markell

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