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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Ammo In The Olives?

Let me start with a confession: I detest Amira Hass. To me, she is the Vicarious Outlaw Incarnate. I knew this type in college: always out-radical-ing the radicals. It isn't prompted by concern for world justice, or fair play, or peace. It's prompted entirely by Gigantic EGO. "Look at me! I'm a RADICAL! I'm for (insert cause here) and listen to my Words of Wisdom. Pay Attention To Me, darn it!"

I thought then, and I think now, that (1) people like this make lousy journalists and (2) I don't want to read someone's therapy, because that's what people like this write---stories designed to make them look important and radical and hip in the hopes of overcoming whatever childhood crisis makes them so toxicly insecure and attention-seeking.

Amira Hass is, IMHO, the ultimate Palestine Pimp who has never really given a moment's thought to reporting objectively or truthfully, for that matter.

However, every once in a while, even the worst so-called "journalist" can come up with a story that deserves outrage and action.

Even Amira-I-Want-To-Be-A-Palestinian-Hass.

ASUMMING any of this is TRUE (a huge assumption with the stuff she writes) this posted in Wednesday's HaAretz:

A West Bank checkpoint managed by a private security company is not allowing Palestinians to pass through with large water bottles and some food items, Haaretz has learned.

MachsomWatch discovered the policy, which Palestinian workers confirmed to Haaretz.

The Defense Ministry stated in response that non-commercial quantities of food were not being limited. It made no reference to the issue of water.
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The checkpoint, Sha'ar Efraim, is south of Tul Karm, and is managed for the Defense Ministry by the private security company Modi'in Ezrahi. The company stops Palestinian workers from passing through the checkpoint with the following items: Large bottles of frozen water, large bottles of soft drinks, home-cooked food, coffee, tea and the spice zaatar. The security company also dictates the quantity of items allowed: Five pitas, one container of hummus and canned tuna, one small bottle or can of beverage, one or two slices of cheese, a few spoonfuls of sugar, and 5 to 10 olives. Workers are also not allowed to carry cooking utensils and work tools.

MachsomWatch told Haaretz that Sunday, a 32-year-old construction worker from Tul Karm, who is employed in Hadera, was not allowed to carry his lunch bag through the checkpoint. The bag contained six pitas, 2 cans of cream cheese, one kilogram of sugar in a plastic bag, and a salad, also in a plastic bag.

The typical Palestinian laborer in Israel has a 12-hour workday, including travel time and checkpoint delays. Many leave home as early as 2 A.M. in order to wait in line at the checkpoint; tardiness to work often results in immediate dismissal. Workers return home around 5 P.M. The wait at the checkpoint can take one to two hours in each direction, if not longer.

The food quantities allowed by Modi'in Ezrahi do not meet the daily dietary needs of the workers, and they prefer not to buy food at the considerably more expensive Israeli stores.


IF this is true, it's outrageous. Har Homa has dozens of Palestinian workers, and these guys get here (by Municipal bus) around 0600. [Those that don't qualify for the bus, i.e. they snuck across the border, are in place much earlier--before dawn generally.]

They sit down and brew a cup of coffee in the morning over some burning scrap lumber. This requires a coffee pot. And coffee. And sugar. They currently work in temperatures up in the 90s doing construction. This requires food and water. Lots of both. MDA recommends two liters a day in this weather if you're going outside for a walk -- I would assume doing heavy construction work requires a lot more. You're a worker supporting a non-working wife and at least two small children, and the pay is peanuts....you're going to WALK to the top of our extremely steep, large hill and BUY overpriced bottled water, hummous, vegetables, cheese and so on? I don't think so--not if you want to have money left over to give your wife to pay the bills and feed the family. Hey, even locals don't buy in the market if they can get to Rami-Levy.

What, someone's afraid that bullets will be smuggled in in the olives? A full-clip of semi-auto rounds will be buried in the humous container?

Okay, I get the concept that maybe someone, somewhere, has smuggled some Taiba beer and resold it for a hefty mark-up on the Israeli side [note: if we ever put paid to this conflict, we can all drive to the supermarket and buy it ourselves...or even go to the Oktoberfest at Taiba!] so we have to have some controls.

But controlling what the daily laborers bring in for lunch, and limiting water and food to half-rations is bad for two reasons: first, it's unjust, unnecessary and unkind and second (if the first reason doesn't move you) it makes US look like goons.

So, knock it off already!

Yes, I have my issues with the Holocaust-denying, incitement-promoting, no-offer-is-ever-good-enough-to-even-talk-about leadership of the PA -- but that's no reason to take it out on the working stiffs who just want to feed their families.

And if anyone has an official government address to which I can complain, let me know...

And if anyone finds out Hass is making it all up, also let me know.....

Nothing surprises me any more.

6 Comments:

Blogger Esther said...

Good post. Let me know too.
Isn't Taibe beer really something? "The best beer of the middle East".

Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 10:41:00 AM GMT+3  
Blogger LB said...

When in 2005-06, soldiers at Erez were replaced by a private company (is it still sheleg lavan) - problems started to pile up. The thing is, they are given strict instructions (by whom, I don't know) and they follow them, even though they might be ridiculous, or even contrary to Israeli policy. I'm not sure what happened in the end there, but this is not the first time private companies that replaced the IDF at crossings, well, screw things up.

Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 7:26:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger RivkA with a capital A said...

Just wondering why you single out Har Homa?

Btw, the real name of our neighborhood is Homat Shmuel, named after Shmuel Meir, the former deputy Mayor of Jerusalem.

Shmuel Meir was a very special man, and it is an honor to have our neighborhood called after him.

Anyway, I just stopped by to thank you for visiting my blog and for your words of encouragement and your tefillot.

Sunday, July 5, 2009 at 12:52:00 AM GMT+3  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

Esther--wish I could find Taibe beer here--excellent stuff!

LB--nice to get your perspective on this; I was not aware we were 'privatizing' crossings!!

RivkA--Har Homa because I live here--we moved from Baka almost a year ago, but I left the blog title intact...thinking of changing it, but.....Shmuel Meir I know of, and agree he is due his name, BUT Har Homa is older, going back to the Palmachnikim who named it for the old wall that was its landmark. The city is often giving us "official" names which no one uses: Katamon is still Katamom (not Gonen), Baka is still Baka (not Geulim), Talbie is still Talbie (not Kommeniut), Abu Tor is still Abu Tor (not Giva'at Hananya), and Talpiot Mitzrach is still called Armon Hanatziv by its residents. You are the first neighbor I've met in Har Homa who doesn't call it Har Homa, regardless of what municipal maps say. It's not an insult to Schmuel--its simply that people seem to always use the older names.

BTW, where ARE you if you live out here? (why did I think you lived farther north for some reason?) I lurk at your blog a lot--since we met at last year's conference. We live down on the circle road "on the flats"--are you up the hill?

You have a mob of writers and readers storming Heaven on your behalf, so keep up the good work!

Sunday, July 5, 2009 at 6:44:00 AM GMT+3  
Blogger RivkA with a capital A said...

Woah, we met at the bloggers conference??? OK, I do not know who you are, but we should totally meet again!!

Please send me your phone number or email and I will send you mine -off line, of course:
coffeeandchemo@gmail.com

One day I am just going to write a post about why people should call it Homat Shmuel. I have a lot to say on this matter, but after three years I have gotten tired of repeating the same things over and over again.

Thankfully, I am no longer the only one to call the neighborhood by it's rightful name.

I know there are more, but one neighborhoods where it took several years for the new name to take hold jumps to mind: Ramat Shlomo (Reches Shuafat). QED

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 2:11:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger RivkA with a capital A said...

ps. R U Jameel's friend???

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 2:11:00 PM GMT+3  

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