November 22, 2004
Of course no time to write. As I get older, approaching the age which we can honestly blame for forgetfulness and slowing-down, the World around us, at least that in which I am involved, is getting faster and faster: the famous running faster on the same spot. It’s just not fair.
Yesterday was an important day over here.
First it was, by the Jewish calendar, the 31st anniversary of the death of David Ben-Gurion (December 1st by the Georgian calendar). Why didn’t the Arabs believe this great little man? (Not all are Napoleons). Well, it seems that belief in the man and his words was not the deal. They just wanted those Jewish neighbours out.
Yesterday also marked the arrival in Israel of Colin Powell. Lame duck is such a sad title for this man of stature. His visit is, of course, timed with the preparations for the coming Palestinian elections (surely an oxymoron if ever I heard one).
And yesterday saw the arrival of the first locusts in Tel Aviv. Eilat and the southern parts of the Negev desert have seen swarms of the things, reminding us that we are joined at the foot to Africa, where enourmous swathes of land have been gobbled up recently by these ugly insects. Hopefully, a combination of dull wintry weather and the appetites of the local Thai workers will keep the locusts away from my already sad-looking roof garden.
November 5th was also a special day. The front page of Haaretz (the Israeli paper which shares it’s English edition with the Intl Herald Tribune) shows 3 important faces: the living Sharon, the dying Arafat and ….my Mum. Well, it shows the 1908 portrait of my Mum. As you see, I am not against exporting criticism of this country’s mistakes. We are, one needs to remember, only human. Without going into detail, we are fighting on and shall not rest until the ‘mistake’ has been rectified.
While we’re on the subject of the Palestinian elections, I was one of the ones expounding the sense of releasing Marwan Barghouti from prison so that he can stand for the elections, as he does appear to be the one attractive to the widest spectrum of Palestinian society. He is fluent in Hebrew and has spoken openly of peace with Israel.
‘Releasing’? He is currently in jail for 5 x life, having been found guilty of killing 5 Israelis. Could he be the next Mandela (which Arafat certainly wasn’t)?
Then I read letters of protest written to the paper, alluding to the fact that they’ve just buried a leader who has blood on his hands thorughout his life, and here we are, only days later, saying we should release this killer as he is the ‘best man for the job’. Where are we???
Good friends of ours from South Africa were here recently, visiting Israel and Egypt. I won’t dwell on the fact that they had a happy time and survived, thereby proving that the country is safe. But I do like to realise that, of all places we took them to lunch, we chose Abu Ghosh – the Arab village I have mentioned in the past as one of the best examples of peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Why can’t you peoples live in peace together? they ask.
We do. Come here to Israel and see.
I send you greetings from a cool and wintry Tel Aviv.