No 202 Posted by fw, June 20, 2011
Jeff Halper, the remarkable Israeli political activist and founder of The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) likes to tell the allegorical story about the woman, the Rabbi the goat and the cow to illustrate a point about what Israel is systematically doing to the Palestinians. The story, included in a one-hour video that is part of a two-disc set titled Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land, goes like this –
A woman goes to her rabbi complaining, “My house is too small. I’ve got my kids and my husband. It’s so crowded. It’s impossible. What can I do?
The rabbi says, “You know what. Bring a goat into the house.”
Puzzled, she says “Okay”, returns home and brings the goat in.
She goes back to the rabbi. “Rabbi,” she says, “it’s terrible. This goat in the house. You know, it’s worse than before.”
The rabbi says, “You know what. Bring a cow into the house.”
So she brings a cow into the house. Again she comes back to the rabbi. “Rabbi,” she says, “it’s intolerable. It’s terrible. What can I do?”
“You know what,” says the rabbi, “Take the goat and the cow out.”
So she takes the goat and the cow out. She comes back and says, “Rabbi! What a big house I have. I have so much room, so much space. It’s wonderful. Thank you.”
Halper explains that this allegory illustrates precisely what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories over the decades. With their “neighbourhoods” and “security wall” they have gradually created the equivalent of a Palestinian Bantusland. In so doing, the expectations of the Palestinians have been lowered to a point where once Israel – with the help of the US – makes the Palestinians an offer they can’t refuse – like 40% of the West Bank, (chopped up in dis-contiguous islands), with the right to travel freely from Hebron to Jenine (through a labyrinth of Israeli checkpoints) — the Palestinians will say “Wow! What a big space we have. It’s wonderful. I haven’t been to Jenine in years.”
According to Halper, the world of the Palestinians has been so disoriented by this calculated Israeli strategy that they no longer expect to get the entire West Bank. “Island” living is beginning to look like a good deal – as good as a house without goats and cows.