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Issue 93, September/October 2005

Forecast: Hurricane

A taboo has been broken. Israel has pulled its settlers out of Gaza. Many, on the right and left, did not believe it would happen. But does this signify an end to occupation there? And does it mean that the situation of the Palestinians will improve? Our editorial answers in the negative. With 1.3 million people mewed up in the world’s biggest prison, cut off from the West Bank – cut off too from jobs and markets in Israel – we forecast Hurricane Gaza.

In the heat of August, the world saw scenes of heartbreak as Jewish settlers were Disengaged. The media hype did not pause to recall another Disaster, 57 years old, whose victims did not get an average of $450,000 per family, and whose descendants still sat in squalid camps while the Six-Day Tearjerker took place a few hundred yards away. The disengagement did, however, have this positive effect: The Myth of Settler Invincibility has been Deflated.

Not so in Jerusalem, though, where a Dark Cloud of massive house demolition hangs over the Arab neighborhood of Silwan.

This Challenge also takes on the government’s attempt to apply the Wisconsin Plan in Israel. In an economy that cannot create jobs, the plan already shows signs of accomplishing little but to Punish the Poor.

More upbeat news comes in smaller packages. The Arab Artists in Israel have understood that they cannot wait around for government favors. They are moving back to their villages, bringing their art to public consciousness with grass-roots action. And the Baqa Centers have held their annual Summer Camp, where the children had fun experiencing History from a Worker’s Point of View.

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