Saturday, May 15, 2010


I hate politics and am not too fond of politicians either.  They ruin my interfaith meetings.  On the day of our latest interfaith meeting, where we were going to get together to watch the film "Arranged" about a friendship between an Orthodox Jewish woman and a religions Moslem woman, I got a call from one of the Moslem participants.

"We won't be able to come to the meeting, because the issue of settlements is hot right now."

"Isn't it always a hot issue?"

"Yes, but the PA police in some areas are not even allowing Palestinians with work permits, who work in the settlements, to work in the settlements.  They are confiscating their permits."

"Huh?  But no one is working in a settlement at our meetings.  This has nothing to do with politics."

"It doesn't matter. It's too risky to meet with settlers right now." said the voice on the other end of the line.

"Your permits will be taken away if you visit us?"
"It could be."

"Thinking about it, don't you think it's good in a way that your people are cracking down on settlement building?  Isn't that what you really want? No settlement expansion?"

"The people have no other income.  Their income is being taken away.  It's terrible."

"Indeed.  What if the PA people who get all this funding from Europe and all these other places, use that money to specially compensate the workers who are no longer allowed to work in settlements by their own Palestinian police at your own checkpoints" asked I, surprised that there were also Palestinian checkpoints.

"That's a good idea. "

Yeah.  I'm a real whiz at good ideas.  Maybe I should even be in politics.  But I'll admit.  I'll be similar to our politicians.  I'll take bribes.  But they'll be selective bribes.

Say, some land dealer wants to build Arab-Jewish housing on the perimeter of Jerusalem, and wants to win the tender.  Sure!  I'll take some bucks and give him the tender.

But if they want to tear down a beautiful Arab historical home in West Jerusalem to build a 10 storey housing project and offer me millions, hmmmm.  I won't do that.  Not for any money. And I'll grant thousands of building permits for East Jerusalem residents who never were able to get permits before.

But I'm stuck in my mini-political world.  I called some other Moslem participants who come from a different part of the country the afternoon of the meeting.  They had a different story.

"X told us yesterday that there were permits for us.  But today, he said that he's not bringing anyone in because of the 'situation'.  But when he found out we might come anyway, he then told us there were no permits.  What's going on?"

I don't know.  I really don't know anymore.

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