gaza, the bad, bad neighbor

Thought I’d pass on this analogy from the Jewish activist and psychologist Rolf Verleger, originally published in the German magazine Hindergrund.

It has been translated from German by MoA commentor Sabine.

By Rolf Verleger, January 5 2009

What would you do – such wrote on Dec. 31 the Israeli historian Prof. Fania Oz-Salzberger in the FAZ – if your neighbor would continuously threw stones and Molotov cocktails at your apartment. Would you not at some stage grab a rifle and try to put an end to this? And if your neighbor would crowed himself with his kids, so that you could not hit him, would you not get a rifle with telescopic sight?
Just as this presumed neighbor, Hamas is acting in Gaza, when they shot at Israeli cities with rockets. Therefore the current Israeli war against Gaza is a just war.

I am very thankful to Mrs. Oz-Salzberger for this example with the neighbor. A lot can be visually explained with it. For simplicities sake, let’s call you and your family, so terrorized by your bad neighbor, the house owners and let’s have a look at the curious circumstances in your housing block. The apartment of you neighbor is Gaza.

1. Three years ago you took the neighbors keys away.

Without your agreement as landlord the neighbors family can not leave there apartment, neither to go to work, nor to study, nor to travel, nor to shop. Without your agreement, the neighbor will not receive their mail, no food, no electricity, no gas or visits: The apartment is locked, and you as the landlord have the keys, and the bad, bad neighbor is locked in. And this since 2006, almost three years.

That’s when the bad, bad neighbor got furious.

The mistake of the bad, bad neighbor and his friends in the other apartment block: These people voted for the wrong party.

Although you having been so kind to the neighbor, as to move freely, four years ago – 2005, out of his balcony with sea views, which you took over earlier on. Of course without paying him a look or word, and the balconies furniture got trashed when you left. Where would life come to, if we would be speaking with our neighbors?

That’s when the bad, bad neighbor got furious.

2. Two years ago you send a gang of rowdies to your neighbor

You and your north american friends from the house owner society send a hit gang ro squat in the apartment of the neighbor, the Mohamed-Dahlan-Gang. They were supposed to take the apartment away from the bad, bad neighbor. Unfortunately the neighbor defended himself against this coup, and that got you really angry. Thereafter you tried to tell everyone, that the bad, bad neighbor has forcefully taken over power in his apartment, that he was not legitimized to do so. You yourself have been surprised by how many journalists have spread this lie. From Silke Mertins of the TAZ it was kind of expected, but that even Torsten Schmitz of the Sueddeutsche would write this nonsense was surprising.

That’s when the bad, bad Neighbor got furious.

3. You have not charged the running costs of the apartment correctly.

For years have the taxes and fees owned to the department of apartment autonomy not been paid in time and completely.

4. You have already killed many people from the neighbors apartment.

That was in the year 2006. Those were hundreds of dead. This was also a reason for the war in Lebanon, as the Hezbollah wanted to revenge the deeds of Israel.

5. You took away the bad, bad neighbors car.

The bad, bad Neighbor once had an airport – build with money from the EU. You have destroyed that airport: Bad Neighbors don’t need an airport.

6. You took away the neighbors work.

At times the neighbor went fishing. You don’t allow that anymore. The neighbor used to have factories. You bombed them in 2006. He used to have agriculture. You have ruined that, by not allowing export. The bad neighbors, who only want to shoot, are not supposed to go fishing, to work in factories or to work the soil.

The bad, bad neighbor is supposed to shoot at you, so that you can shoot back. And this is what the neighbor did.

7. The courts rule in the favor of the bad neighbor.

Many experts of neighborhood law, like Amnesty International, experts of the UN, winner of the Nobel Peace Prices have stated clearly that your doing as house owner against your neighbors throughout the years is breaking the law . Luckily that these people don’t have a police to enforce law and order. “How many divisions has the pope?” joked Stalin.

That’s when the bad, bad Neighbor got furious.

8. You have been chasing the friends of the neighbors out of their apartments for years.

Unfortunately the bad neighbor still has mobile phones and landlines. That’s how he gets to know daily, how friends and relatives of the bad neighbor, who live in the apartment block West Bank get chased out of their houses. A very important tool for this is the large wall, that you have build in the middle of the apartment block. Because you have build this wall, which is to serve your security, not around your house, but straight through the apartments of these friends. What do need these friends two living rooms for. One suffices enough, and in the other you can have your friends living. And that those within their smaller apartment must pass a security check, before going from the living room to the bathroom, that’s nothing: The whole live is a waiting room! And who peacefully demonstrates against these measures will get in Germany the Ossietzky Price, but will be shot at with teargas at home, and if out of luck be shot in legal self-defense. Of course the friends of the bad neighbor went to complain against the wall in front of a court of law, the German foreign minister of the time, a loud man named Fischer, called this “not helpful”, they of course were given right by the law, but again there is no police there, who would enforce their right.

That’s when the bad, bad neighbor got furious.

9. You took away ownership of the houses from your neighbor 60 years ago.

Long, long time ago, the grandfather of the neighbor was the owner of the whole house. At that time your grandparents came into the house, desperate, hunted, it was a good shelter from the storm. Soon you build a house in the yard, after all the yard belonged to no one. Of course, the others could now not go from one house to the other anymore, oh well, they are only Arabs. From time to time some humanitarian do gooders passed by, they were named Achad ha’AM, Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt, plus a couple of others, who said, it would be good to live in peace with the house owners, but by Marx’s will, these Arabs are to primitive for the creation of socialism, with these country folks one can not be friend. And later when Marx was out of fashion, it was Gods will, these Arabs have the wrong religion, what do they want in the holy house. There plenty of other houses around, they should go there.
And then, since 1947, your parents took most of the apartments and the whole house of the parents of the bad, bad neighbor, as they fled, in panic from the armed terror of your parents. And now, the descendants of the neighbors of these people live in the one apartment, in the most populated stretch of the world, in Gaza. Yes, why is now so densely populated?

That’s when the bad, bad neighbor got furious.

And so said the German chancellor and Mrs. Prof. Oz-Salzberger: The fault for the war falls on the bad, bad neighbor.

10. Last words

As the first Jewish Zionist, around 1890, came to today’s Israel, they were fleeing the discrimination in the land of the Tsar, from burnings and killings in the search of a free, self controlled life, which was not possible in their old country. This was not a conflict of good versus evil, but a fight about a piece of land, that was home to Palestinian Arabs, and that seemed to be the only possible home to the migrants.

The Jewish side has won that war, for the price of constant war. But a peace plan is since long ago on the table. The two state solution based on the frontier of 1967, with a solution on the problems of the Palestinian refugees, with solutions in regards to Jerusalem. This was proposed by the States of the Arab League in 2002 and again confirmed just a short time ago. Israel will not agree to this plan, as Israel can not decide if they do not rather want to keep the illegally gained land in the West Bank and even expand on it. As long as Israel does not say yes we would rather have peace, we will stop the occupation regime, there will be no peace.

The position of Germany in this conflict is split. But can the fact, that we European Jews, victims of Germany’s injustice, give the Jewish state now the rights to commit injustice against others. Do German politicians really believe, it is reparation of the killing of my Jewish relatives, that Israel can, without stops and binds, do what it pleases?

On the contrary, it would do Israel good, if it were taken out of its fantasized position of the eternal victim, if it were let away and as any other state be embedded into the international system of rules and regulations. That means, that the wrongful occupation of the West Bank, and the long lasting and illegal occupation of Gaza must be sanctioned and boycotted. The EU should measure Israel’s advances on state rights and human rights as they measure Serbia and Turkey. The legal evaluation of the case Olmert should as the case Milosevic take place in Den Haag.

2 Responses to “gaza, the bad, bad neighbor”

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