“Life Under Occupation”

I’ve been reading The New York Times just about every day for the last 35 years, paying special attention to their coverage of Palestinian-Israeli issues, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen coverage like this, below. I don’t know what took so long, but this article, for once, captures the lived reality of Palestinian experience in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Better late than never.

The comments of Zeev Hacohen, an Israeli parks official, are as revealing as they are obtuse and tone deaf. Hacohen is offering a justification for mass evictions of Palestinians by the Israeli authorities:

Zeev Hacohen, an authority official, said erasing Mr. Sandouka’s neighborhood was necessary to restore views of the Old City “as they were in the days of the Bible.”

“The personal stories are always painful,” he allowed. But the Palestinian neighborhood, he said, “looks like the Third World.”

You’ve got to admire the candor, and love the chutzpa.

Then again, how different is Hacohen’s comment from things I’ve heard from homeowners grousing about low income housing right here in New Jersey? Just the other day, I was in my old lily-white town of Whitehouse Station, when I heard two guys complaining that low income housing was turning Whitehouse Station into some declasse equivalent of North Plainfield–a nearby town with slightly greater population density, and a slightly greater proportion of black people.

Suddenly voices were lowered. You never know who’s listening. Could be some blogger out to compare regular Jerseyans to a bunch of Israeli settlers. Or is it the other way around?

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