Saturday, September 27, 2008

Between the Lines: The "Occupation" Ended Long Ago

Every once in a while, a bit of anti-Israel propaganda contains a tacit admission that it is the Palestinian Arabs themselves, along with their Arab brethren, who are responsible for their miserable condition.

This propaganda piece, appearing in This Week in Palestine, contained that inadvertent admission in its first paragraph.

Obsessed with Taybeh

By Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.

I have developed a deep obsession, given that I live full time in Palestine. Following the historic Oslo Agreement, I was fooled into believing that Israelis and Palestinians can actually live side by side.

[They could, if only the Palestinian Arabs were willing.

It wasn't long after that agreement when the newly created legislature of the Palestinian Authority chose, as one of its first acts, to make it a capital crime to sell land to a Jew.

Apparently it's okay for Arabs and Jews to live side by side in Israel, at least until the Arabs destroy Israel, but not in any of the territory controlled by Arabs.]

I can only say that since 28 September 2000, the landmark day for the Second Uprising, I simply have not had a normal day, due to the collapsed economy and the reoccupation of the Palestinian Territories.

[There hasn't been a true "reoccupation;" Israel has only temporarily entered Palestinian Authority areas when necessary to minimize terror attacks. However, by even calling anything a "reoccupation," Khoury implicitly recognized that Israel had ended any occupation prior to that time.

Obviously, had the Palestinian Arabs chosen peace rather than terror when they were offered a sweetheart deal by Ehud Barak, she would have had plenty of normal days in the last eight years.]

I have developed a deep obsession with inviting people to our small Palestinian village of Taybeh, which is my way of trying to be normal. Probably inviting people to a beer festival in Palestine does not sound normal at all since we hardly have a country; but technically speaking, the country has a national beer that carries with it our pride in Palestine. My husband David returned to Taybeh with his brother Nadim to boost the economy by opening the one and only microbrewery in the Middle East region (1995), and in 2005, they initiated an Oktoberfest - Palestinian style. Well, who could imagine that, after the tragic attack on Taybeh that burned down fourteen houses, we would actually celebrate our existence with the first Oktoberfest, which turned out to be a great success.?

Taybeh Beer means everything right now. It means that we want to work for a modern Palestine where democracy, freedom, and human rights would encourage all to thrive. It means that we are just craving to be normal.

[Far more effective means of achieving normality would include ending incitement, terrorism and the inculcation of hatred in the young.]

The Taybeh Oktoberfest has become the big open day in Taybeh, specifically Taybeh-Ramallah. (There are about four Taybeh locations in the Middle East. But one of the most ancient places in Palestine with Taybeh as its modern name is actually the biblical Ephraim.) You will not find Taybeh-Ramallah on any map since it is such a tiny spot in one of the highest mountain regions in Palestine and quickly being swallowed up by the illegal Israeli settlements.

[One may question the wisdom of some of the Israeli communities in parts of the disputed territory, territory to which Israel has at least as much a moral, legal and historical claim as the Palestinian Arabs, but they are not illegal are not "swallowing up" land.]

As we try to find creative ways to survive the closure and the high rate of unemployment, we are promoting local products, one more time, with the 2008 Taybeh Oktoberfest on Saturday and Sunday, 11 and 12 October 2008. Thus, if you catch me telling you that I would love to see you in Taybeh, it is not just an obsession but a genuine invitation.

[One way for them to "survive the closure and the high rate of unemployment" would be to work towards peace rather than the destruction of Israel.]

Dr. Maria C. Khoury, author of Christina Goes to the Holy Land, has been the coordinator for four Oktoberfest festivals.

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