A day at the seaside
A day at the seaside with three girls could cost an Israeli journalist two years in jail. The girls, you see, were Palestinian, and the journalist had illegally smuggled them from the West Bank and then had the chutzpa to write about it.
This brought forth sanctimonious garbage demanding that she be prosecuted and punished because although the escapade was innocent and posed no security risk to Israel, she had “openly flouted the law”. And the law is the law. Unless, that is, it’s international human rights law, or unless it’s flouted by settler vigilantes attacking children and old people and setting fire to mosques and fields.
The moving account of these girls’ first sight of the sea should remind us what the Right of Return to where the exiles came from, and the basic right to freedom of movement are all about. So in its way, the little stunt did constitute a risk — to the concept of Israel’s existence as a majority Jewish state. Just as the Freedom Flotilla approaching Gaza was an existential threat to Israel by challenging its illegal authority.
The Sea itself figures prominently in Israel’s paranoid mythology, as in “we’ll all be thrown into the sea”, conjuring up images of defeated British troops in 1940, scrambling onto boats under fire. Or maybe images nearer home, such as this depicting the supposedly voluntary departure of 1948 refugees from the beaches of Jaffa.
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