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a different side of Israel

Tag: Green Line

Cast Down Your Buckets

Those who point fingers at Jewish Settlers and cry, “Colonialists, go back where you belong!” should kick rocks. They are in desperate need of a history lesson, if they are not hopelessly anti-Semitic.

What makes the Israeli “occupation” of the “West Bank” comparison with South African Apartheid false is the fact that the true colonizers of the Holy Land were the British, beginning with their defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. When the Jews were partitioned the land in 1947 – all actual colonizing stopped. Lands acquired after 1967 are no different.

Besides for what is written in the Old Testament – that the Jews were divinely awarded all the land stretching to the Jordan River – archeology can attest to the fact that the majority of the land’s population belonged indeed to Jews, until the Europeans came and destroyed it.

The tomb of Rachel is in Bethlehem, a stone’s throw from Jerusalem. The tomb of Joseph (partially destroyed in 2000 by Palestinians) is in Shechem, near Nablus. And Hebron is famously the resting place of the patriarchs, Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah.

The irony is that the Israeli government cannot get the majority of Palestinians to recognize the Jewishness of the country (something Abbas claims actually happened during the 1993 Oslo Accords). The victory of truth would have Palestinians recognizing the right of the Jewish people to the land of the Palestinian Authority.

On May 8, 2007, Hebrew University Professor Ehud Netzer reported that he had discovered the tomb of Herod the Great, the once-king of Judea (the southernmost division of Judea), above tunnels and water pools at a flattened site halfway up the hill to the ancient town of Herodium, 7.5 miles inside the “West Bank.”

Further excavations from 2009-2010 uncovered near the tomb base a small 450-seat capacity theater with an elaborately decorated royal theater box; excavations of which are currently being continued, under the decried “Jewish Occupation.” Herod’s royal box once loomed over the “nosebleed” seats at the circa-15 B.C. private amphitheater.

“In order to attract people, there were gardens and waterworks, and the place became famous,”

Said Ehud Netzer, a professor emeritus of archeology at the Hebrew University.

“The theater indicates that the experiment worked: there was lots of life there. Hundreds, if not thousands, of guests would visit the place and there was justification to provide them with entertainment.”

Indeed Jewish life was once rich in the “West Bank.” And Arab history has never seen the likes of the annexations and genocide which caused the Jews’ expulsion between two-thousand and one-thousand years ago.

Shortly before the King’s death in 4 B.C – less than ten years after its construction,

“The theater and other structures were dismantled, so that the mountain would have a clean cone shape to host his grave,”

Said Netzer, The mausoleum stood out but all the other structures were demolished.

“The moment a decision was made to dismantle the theater, it was used as housing by site managers and laborers responsible for the reconstruction work…They scrawled graffiti on the walls while they stayed there, mostly in Greek and Aramaic.”

The true magic of the excavations is the artwork on the walls of the amphitheatre.

“Our art history expert said, ‘Hang on, this is something very familiar from Italy,'”

In terms of both style and method, exclaimed Netzer.

“The technique used here was not particularly accepted in this region; it was secco rather than fresco”

That means painted on dry plaster instead of moist.
The pictures are not only Roman style but Roman made. “It was a one-time mission,” perhaps executed in advance of the visit of Roman leader, Marcus Agrippa to Judea, he said.

“The artists came, they painted, and they returned to Italy.”

Also, a synagogue dating to before the year-70 A.D., one of the oldest in the Jewish Country, found at Herodium is of the “Galilean-type,” and features stone benches built along the walls and aisles formed by columns that supported the roof.

In August, a group of Israeli and then eventually Hollywood performers – actors, writers and producers – declared that they would not perform at a brand new theatre of the Cultural Center in Ariel, near the University Center.

The boycott was the brain-child of one Palestinian-rights activist, Harriet Sherwood:

“More than 60 have joined the protest over plans by Israel‘s national theatre, the Habima, and other leading companies to stage performances in Ariel, a settlement 12 miles inside the West Bank…

…Ariel, home to almost 20,000 people, was founded in 1978 deep in the West Bank. Israel wants it to remain on its side of any border resulting from peace negotiations with the Palestinians. All settlements on occupied territory are illegal under international law.”

Prime-Minister Netanyahu complained:

“The State of Israel is under an attack of delegitimization by elements in the international community. This attack includes attempts to enact economic, academic and cultural boycotts. The last thing we need at this time is to be under such an attack – I mean this attempt at a boycott – from within.”

“I do not want to deny the right of any person, of any artist, to hold to a political opinion. He or she can express this opinion, but we, as a government, do not need to fund boycotts. We do not have to support boycotts directed at Israeli citizens in any manner whatsoever.

“I was pleased to hear Culture Minister Limor Livnat announce that the theaters concerned have stated that they would continue to hold their performances in the various communities as planned.”

He continued,

“This is the correct approach, as opposed to the incorrect approach of pushing or trying to promote boycotts against Israeli citizens.”

As it happens, European, Israeli and American activists have a habit of putting the muzzle on those for whom they are protesting. The following is from Ynet:

Some 11,500 students, among them 500 Arab and Druze Israelis, began the academic year Sunday at the Ariel University Center of Samaria, which is located in the West Bank, beyond the Green Line.

“I scored high on my psychometric exam and could have enrolled in Tel Aviv University and other institutions, but here the enrollment process was quicker. This was the first place that accepted me, so I decided to go for it,”

Said 20-year-old Tayibe resident Manar Diuani, who is studying computer science….

Joana Moussa, a 20-year-old behavioral sciences student from Abu Snan, an Arab village in the Galilee region, said politics does play a role.

“All of the students in Ariel fear the day will come when they’ll be told their diploma cannot be recognized because they studied in the territories. But as of today, our diploma is recognized everywhere.

“I am very pleased because the professors give us personal attention and there is no racism here. Perhaps in other places people would have commented on my name or ethnicity, but here I’m accepted for who I am,” She said.

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

The London branch of the Ahava cosmetics store was closed for three and a half hours (11:30 am until 3pm) on Shabbat when activists, acting on behalf of the International Solidarity Movement, locked their arms together on a concrete slab with tubing leading into the middle of the shop.

The protestors were removed and consequently arrested by London Police.

Ahava store in London shut down

The aggravated trespass charge will be challenged on grounds that Ahava is an unlawful business ergo no lawful activity was stopped by the provisional blockade.

For those who have not felt the mineral magic of Ahava’s Holy Land blessed face, body and hand, bath and hair, botanic, spa, anti-aging, dermud and various other products – I feel bad for you.

You don’t know what you’re missing!

A privately held Israeli firm founded in 1988, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories’ central location and much-visited visitors’ center is located in Mitzpe Shalem, in the spectacular Judean desert; a spitting distance from the magical Dead Sea and the freshwater springs of Ein Gedi: playground for the Syrian Brown Bear, Mountain Gazelle and Nubian Ibex, where King David hid from his persecutors and composed Psalms to Elohim.

37% of Ahava company shares are held by the settlement of Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, 37% by Hamashbir Holdings (investment fund of B. Gaon Holdings and the Livnat family), 18% by Shamrock Holdings (investment fund of the Roy E. Disney family), and 7% by Kibbutz Kalia.

Mitzpe Shalem is about 9 km from the green line, Kibbutz Kalia too lays in disputed territory.

According to international law, a person of any nationality may establish a factory in any country, so long as they pay taxes to the local government. The Palestinian Authority does not receive any kind of bursary from the lucrative Israeli cosmetics firm, and therein is found the grievance.

To put things into context, listen to this:

Last year, while on display in London at the British Library, the antiquities minister of Jordan urged the Britons to return the Dead Sea Scrolls to them, rather than to their home at the Israel Museum. The reason? The ancient Hebrew Biblical scriptures on sheepskin parchment, dating from 50 AD and backward were uncovered in Qumran in the Judean Hills before the founding of the State of Israel, in “annexed territory.”

Come on! Like Jordanians can read Hebrew!

The “pillage” or “plunder” of materials, referencing the all-natural ingredients of Ahava products is illegal under international humanitarian law; specifically Articles 23, 53 and 55 of the Hague Regulations; Articles 51 and 53 of the 4th Geneva Conventions and Article 8(2)(b) of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court.

Once an Israeli government official was asked about the legality behind the activities of the Ahava firm and this is what they said:

“The Palestinians did nothing with this land when they had it…And the Palestinians still have access to the Dead Sea. If they wanted to, they could set up a factory themselves.”

In November 2009, the Dutch Foreign Minister launched an investigation into the conditions which Ahava products are made to determine if the firm’s practices and location flouted international law and European Union labeling regulations.

This is what a representative of Ahava had to say:

“The Dead Sea and its treasures are international and do not belong to one nation…The company was founded out of love for the magical environs of the Dead Sea and throughout the years has been driven by a deep passion to reveal the secrets of the minerals’ rejuvenating effects on the skin. Therefore, the natural location of the factory is along the western shore of the Dead Sea.”

The Ahava factory outlet in Israel is open Sunday through Thursday 8-5, Friday 8-4, and Saturday 8:30-5.

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