The ultimate in chutzpah??

Israeli citizens living quite illegally in the settlement of “Ateret” in the occupied West Bank are now protesting the Palestinian Authority’s pursuit of a project to build the first-ever Palestinian “new town” just a few miles north of Ramallah.
Some of those settlers now have the chutzpah to complain that the new Palestinian town will “be a burden on the environment” of the West Bank… that it will contribute to traffic congestion… that its effluents might flow into West Bank valleys… and even that it “will only benefit Palestinian elites.”
The new town, to be named Rawabi, will have around 5,000 housing units, for a total population of around 25,000 people.
This is the first planned new town development the West Bank’s 2.6 million Palestinians have been allowed to build in 43 years of living under Israel’s foreign military occupation. During those years, their numbers have just about doubled.
And in those 43 years, successive Israeli governments have worked hard to implant more than 500,000 settlers, quite illegally, into the West Bank (including East Jerusalem.)
Are we supposed to be touched by the concern these settlers show for the interests of the West Bank’s environment and of those Palestinians who not members of the elite???
Nah. I am not touched. Let them all go home.

10 thoughts on “The ultimate in chutzpah??

  1. Michael W.

    You’ve used the word “quite” twice in this post. It means “to a degree”.
    So in what degree, are you referring to in regards to the settlements, are they somewhat legal?

  2. Jack

    Duh, Michael. Merriam-Webster online: Quite – 1) wholly, completely. Perhaps you have a different dictionary?

  3. Helena

    Merriam-Webster:
    quite
    1 : wholly, completely
    2 : to an extreme : positively —often used as an intensifier with a
    3 : to a considerable extent : rather
    … Michael, why do you waste everyone’s time with false etymological claims like this rather than engaging with the substance of the post? (Please do not both answering this question, which is wholly rhetorical.)

  4. Alexno

    I imagine this is so-called ‘Area C’ land, that is the minimal areas where the Palestinian Authority is supposed to have complete control. If Israel had any say, as in ‘B’ land, there wouldn’t have been the slightest chance of the project gaining acceptance.

  5. Domza

    Dear Helena,
    Jeff Halper has an article called “Towards a Global Gaza – How Israel is Rewriting Laws of War” in the print edition of Counterpunch, which I don’t get. It looks like it is right in the middle of all your spheres of interest, and it would be great to have your response to it.
    Just en passant, somebody in my family used to like to quote out loud from a play this line: “I think I’ll go quite quietly into a nunnery”. Do you remember that? Where was it from?

  6. Michael Murry

    You make a mistake, Helen, in summarily blowing off Michael W.’s comments as “false etymological claims.” In the first place, the word “etymology” refers to the historical origin and development of words, and not their grammatical classifications or logical imputations, the real issue here. If you truly understood the grammatical and logical point Michael W. somewhat maladroitly made (leaving aside his motives and intentions) you could have easily silenced him by turning his point back upon him with: “I stand corrected. The concept of “illegality” brooks no modification and the simple truth of the Apartheid Zionist Entity’s illegality says everything one needs to – or can – say about this pariah crusader infestation. Illegal means against the law
    In fact, Helen, you would improve and clarify your arguments if you dropped the vapid and useless word “quite” from your writing henceforth. As George Orwell said in Politics and the English Language: “If you can cut a word out, always cut it out.” You can always cut out the word “quite,” and it won’t hurt you in the least to do so.
    You should understand –- as I know you aspire to help the Palestinian people free themselves from Apartheid Zionist persecution — that the grammatical and semantic implications of words often sway people more than their formal dictionary definitions, especially in sub-educated America. For example, English has three classes of adjectives: descriptive, comparative, and superlative. So we can say “good,” “better,” “best,” but we cannot say “illegal,” “illegaler,” and “illegalest.” We cannot do this because the concept of “illegality” implies only one other related meaning: namely, its opposite concept, “legality” — and vice versa. Therefore, if we attempt any modification of either “illegal” or “legal,” then we in fact imply the only other meaning that our brains associate with the word in question – its contradictory opposite. I would say it appears that Michael W. understands this and that you do not. I wish that I could have said otherwise.
    I know why I never use the word “quite” (or any of its vapid synonyms) and you would do well to know why you shouldn’t, either. Illegal means “not legal,” “against the law,” and “illegitimate.” Stick with those concepts and Michael W. will have to acknowledge the illegality in question or else directly contradict it. If he does the latter, he will have to advance legal authorities in support of his arguments, something that you can easily refute with the facts at your disposal.
    George Orwell did mankind an enormous favor with his exhaustive analyses of totalitarian linguistic abuse, yet we tarnish his legacy whenever we fail to treat language with the respect and fear it deserves.

  7. Michael Murry

    Domza,
    In Shakespeare’s Hamlet you can find the exhortation that the Prince of Denmark leveled at Ophelia:
    “Get thee to a nunnery, why woulds’t thou be a breeder of sinners?!”
    I don’t recall if what she answered involved any instance of the flabby adverb “quite,” but if one wishes to parody the inflated use of unnecessary modifiers, how about:
    “I think I’ll quit quite quietly this very vitally important Vietnam.”
    And so I did, thirty-eight years ago.

  8. Helena

    Michael, I stand somewhat corrected. Of course the concept of illegality admits of no substantive modification. (Like the status of being “unique”– and I hate to see that one being modified.) It would be possible to say, though, that something is “quite simply, illegal” or “quite simply, unique.”
    But I shall aspire to eat my vegetables, drop my “quites”, and become, quite simply, la plus belle des belles-lettristes.
    Btw, I’d appreciate it if you could get my name right.
    … and now, about those settlers??

  9. Michael W.

    Thank you Mr. Murry for explaining the point I was trying to make.
    If “quite” means to a “full degree”, that would mean that there are things that are more illegal than others, as Mr. Murry explained so well in a comment above.
    I have no problem with you stating that the settlements are illegal.

  10. Michael Murry

    My apologies for not adding the last letter of your first name, Helena. I don’t normally do that.
    Just as a cordial aside to our subsidiary discussion of needless and self-enfeebling verbal baggage, I note your example of the superlative adjective “unique” as yet another of our candidates for words that we should leave alone to do their work. As luck would have it this morning, I stumbled upon an exasperated reader — on the Salon.com website — who took exception to an article by Steve Kornacki regarding the perilous political prospects of Democratic Party Senators Harry Reid, Arlen Spector, and Blanche Lincoln. Wrote ryan476:
    “A Minor Quibble
    This is a relatively small point that has nothing to do with the central claims of the article, but I believe that it is still worth mentioning. Kornacki describes Reid’s situation as ‘very unique.’ This is wrong on two levels. First, things cannot be very, somewhat, or mostly unique. A thing is either one of a kind (i.e., unique) or it is not. Second, and perhaps more importantly, immediately after describing Reid’s situation as ‘very unique,’ Kornacki then goes on to describe ten senate incumbents who have been in a similar situation in the past twenty-six years alone … Moreover, he then adds two other senators currently facing almost identical situations. In what sense, then, could Reid’s situation conceivably be described as ‘very unique’?”
    Personally, I very much appreciate comments like those of Michael W. and ryan476 because they do not amount to “minor quibbles” in my estimation, but rather a clear and necessary call for us to clear up our language (at every opportunity) so as to make us more effective communicators of our various views.
    And I apologize to Michael W. for even implying that his valid linguistic critique may have masked a rhetorical intention to undermine Helena’s point about illegality itself. I only left open the possibility because, unfortunately, the world’s greatest propagandists and word-magicians understand their Orwell and Korzybski much better — obviously — than those whom they routinely victimize. As someone once said of notorious hired-gun Newspeak consultants like Dr. Frank Luntz: “They know their General Semantics only too well. They just don’t have any use for its ethics.”
    Some other time we ought to perhaps delve into superlative adjectives such as “vital” (which used to mean “a matter of life and death”) along with bastardized derivative expressions such as “vitally important.” I can’t wait to hear my government run that one by me again tomorrow — most likely in the context of Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Apartheid Zionist Entity.

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