DAY 89: Those Elections

May 28th, 2014 § 0 comments

As shocked as you all are by the earthquake of the Euro-elections, I hastened as you probably did to grab a reassuring copy of Le Monde, from which it appeared that there was not too much to panic about. The neoliberals had won again, as they always do. I agree that the rise of parties whose members hate Romanians (except in Romania, where they hate Roma) is disturbing; but the true picture is best shown by the following pie-chart which I drew up thanks to my faltering grasp of Excel and a rather inaccurate reference to the actual results:

Screen shot 2014-05-29 at 09.14.40

European Parliament membership (projections)

As you can see, the august European Parliament is not about to be engulfed by beer-swilling, cigar-smoking populist skinheads. Is it, even so, the time to revive the Popular Front? Those of us who were alive in those times (say between 1936 and 1940) – and I count myself, though by the time I was two years old there wasn’t much left of it – are still nostalgic. Though building a mass movement on the basis of nostalgia for something which failed seventy years ago seems a doubtful programme.

The hand of God (cont.)

I have been unjust – not for the first time – to the current Pope, who, whatever one’s natural prejudices against Argentinians, seems a bit more like Roncalli than Montini, Wojtyla, or that German shit. Since his trip to Bethlehem, that is, and the iconic (that word again) moment at the WallPope Francis touches the wall that divides Israel from the West Bank in the West Bank city of Bethlehem

On which Richard Falk, long-term human rights hack has come up with an appropriate commentary.

In related news, if you are still up to reading about Israeli injustices: tomorrow , Monday June 2, 2014, at 9 am, the Supreme Court in Jerusalem will hear the appeal of the heirs of Sheikh Suleiman Al-Ukbi regarding the right of ownership of land at Al Araqib and Zazhilika, northwest of Be’er Sheba. The panel including Justices Elyahim Rubinstein , Esther Hayut and Salim Jubran will deliberate on an appeal of the ruling of Judge Sarah Dovrat of the Be’er Sheba District Court , who had ruled against the heirs.

Nuri al-Ukbi , a veteran Bedouin rights campaigner who is one of the appellants , said : “In 1951, members of my tribe were expelled from their village and lands in Al Araqib , and deported by force to Hora, about twenty kilometers to the east, close to the then border with Jordan. The authorities in the State of Israel used methods of intimidation and fraud in order to justify the criminal deportation of civilians from their homes and lands.

Documents and written history  prove that  Araqib was a place of residence and cultivated land of the al-Ukbi Tribe for generations , ever since the days of the Ottoman Empire , and they still lived there during the first four years after the establishment of Israel. As a citizen of Israel, Sheikh Suleiman Muhammad al-Ukbi voted in the first elections to the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) in 1949 , the ballot box being placed at his residence in El Araqib. The same residence served every Monday and Thursday as the venue for a Tribal Court, acting under authorization of the State of Israel and sitting with it National Flag and State Emblem displayed. Then, the state suddenly turned on its Bedouin citizens and violated their basic  rights, solely because of their ethnicity, and in 1951 expelled them mercilessly from their land. We have appealed to the Be’er Sheva District Court, seeking justice – and were rejected. We hope that the Supreme Court will now redress this long-lasting injustice.”

Attorney Michael Sfard, who represents the appellants , said : ” For the first time was  joined together a team of experts on Geography , Judicial History and International Law to challenge the legal doctrine by which the State of Israel for decades dispossessed the Negev Bedouin and denied their land rights.  has

The appellants seek to overturn a precedent set in the early 1980’s, under which the determination regarding Bedouin rights is made by examining the Negev situation in the Nineteenth Century and relying extensively on travelogues published by European missionaries, who asserted that at that time there were no fixed Bedouin abodes and that the Bedouins maintained no agriculture in the Negev. These were momentary ans superficial guests from another continent ,who  judged what was and was not “an agricultural settlement” by European standards. They failed to notice that the people which they saw were living on the land,  maintaining agriculture under the harsh conditions of an arid region and with endless struggle making use of every drop of water available to them.

As part of a research conducted on behalf of the appellants , there were submitted to the Be’er Sheva District Court dozens of documents found at archives in Israel and abroad – indicating that the precedent set in the eighties was based both on a judicial error and on an incorrect analysis of the reality of the Negev in the Nineteenth Century . However, Judge Dovrat in the District Court preferred to cling to the precedent and ignored the innovative facts presented to her. Now the Supreme Court will have to deliberate on the issue.

A central argument brought by the appellants  is that the state practices a blatant  double standard: On the one hand, it does not recognize Bedouin land ownership in the Negev; on the other, it does recognize the land deeds in transactions when Zionist organizations bought Bedouin land at Ottoman British Mandatory times. At the time, naturally, Zionist bodies such as the JNF and Hachsharat Ha’Yishuv did recognize the rights of the Bedouin sellers over the land, and paid an appropriate price for their land.

Importance of the deliberations goes beyond the specific question of ownership in the lands of Araqib Village, which in recent years has become a symbol . Success of the appellants can also affect hundreds of other land disputes between the state and the Bedouin, and might even impact the  status of the government’s ‘Prawer  Plan’, which assumes that the Bedouin of the Negev have no land ownership rights.

True or false?

1. Yotam Ottolenghi’s real name is Paddy McPhee, and he lives in Haggerston.

2. Jupiter has over 60 moons.

3. The Second Coming of Jesus will occur within one Biblical generation of the founding of the State of Israel.

4. A simply-connected closed 3-manifold is homeomorphic to a 3-sphere.

5.Richard III is still alive.

6. Osama Bin Laden is still alive and is working for the NSA.

7. Money grows on trees.

8. The security at the Aljazeera office in Doha is controlled by the Qatar police, and if you call them stupid you risk a jail sentence.

More later; I’m conscious of my failure to keep the blog up to date owing to the constant nagging need to insert enough material for a decent-sized entry. Enough of that! More of this post will follow, in the meanwhile here‘s Ernst Busch’s rendering of the ‘Einheitsfrontlied’;

and here, in contrast, is the bewitching Ayano Kataoka performing Xenakis’ ‘Rebonds A’.  Can’t get enough of that Greek Commie mathematical soul.

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