Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Quiet Dream of A Normal Life: Angela Godfrey-Goldstien

We continue with the theme of: The Quiet Dream of A Normal Life, as we speak to Angela Godfrey-Goldstien. An Israeli activist working with The Israeli Coalition Against House Demolitions.

Angela Godfrey: The current situation is not good, obviously. I personally am not that threatened by Hamas as many Israelis feel. Many Israelis see Hamas as synonymous with terror because of they're past, they're history. Which I see as resistance to occupation. And the occupation of course being the biggest problem here. This is what it is really all about. We have to end this occupation and even Sharon said so.

Unfortunately, Israel is not intending to end the occupation. It is going to create a Palestine. We can see the infrastructure it has already been built. All the tunnels for example to join all the Palestinian mountain tracks together and pass it off as a road system, when its not. No territorial contiguity, but they call it transport contiguity.

So, you'll have these cantons, this was what Sharon was calling it, which is what they are. You can call them Bantustans if you like. You can call them ghettos or prisons.

And with the permit system very much in place, Israel will still be occupying, for all intense and purposes, Palestine which will not be viable as a sovergin entity. And therefore Israel is becoming an apartheid state, a police state. An imperialist colonial enterprise that will be divesting itself of the population of Palestinians, putting them in these reservations. And then Israel will turn around and say: "There is a Palestine."

Well, they won't be able to get on without water, for example. So if we've kept all the water which is what the wall has done, and the settlement blocs, which we're talking about keeping: The Ariel Bloc, Gush Etzion Bloc, The Jordan Valley Bloc, have done then there will be no peace. There can't be! The Palestinians will not be able to live in peace with us if this is so.

The Israeli public doesn't understand the details. But the people in charge do. And they think (The government) we've got a big army and it might cost us a few young men they're lives, maybe a lot. And its crazy because, you need to get stability in this region. You need to calm it down you need to de-militarize and disarm. What happens in ten years time if we continue to build upour military force out of fear? What happens when Al Qaeda and other groups start getting they're hands on bombs because of our Islamaphobia? Is this the world we want to live in?

Wouldn't it be easier and healthier to wake up in the morning, to feel good about yourself and say: "We made peace."? That one day we can know that our neighbors all around us in other countries in the region are now our friends for the first time? We can start to thrive and live with hope. And plan for the future and have a decent future where everybody can go to work, feed they're families, get a decent education, and be free in the world?! Travel abroad, travel around, go swimming in the sea? Isn' that a better thing to have?

Otherwise your into repression and that, very fast, becomes fascist. Of course we could stay in Gaza and the West Bank, but the price for staying is fascism. And it s too high a price to pay.

There are many great Israelis. People with ideals. People with morals. But there is a huge level of fatigue. Many people are war-weary. There is a huge level of pessimism. People say: "Well we tried peace. It didn't work." But they didn't try hard enough and they didn't try real peace. But, many people in the consensus feel that we gave peace a chance and the Palestinians, the Arabs, they don't want peace. Many Israelis are very emotional, very insecure, very fearful. And they can change overnight. The minute that there is a new political party, that gives them hope, everybody sides with them. Like Kadima (Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's party.) In a year's time they may well be very disillusioned with Kadima, as they were with previous parties in power.

But the problem is, if your stirring up hornets nests, and those hornets are becoming more and more strong, like Hamas for example, they will not be messed with.

I hope that the civil society starts to understand that we cannot allow for ethnic cleansing. I hope the civil society becomes strong and stands up for the Palestinians. Because we need to be empowered. I know that diplomats know this, I don't know if the politicians know it or not.

In the long term I am hopeful because I am sure, in the long term, there is such a thing as common sense. And it has to prevail. But how long it will take and how many more people have to die, for no good reason, I don't know.

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