Sunday, July 21, 2013

The West Wing

Two years ago I had been watching reruns of the Fifth and Sixth season of the "West Wing", rebroadcast on the Israeli cable "Yes" TV channel. And I had written this Blog entry at that time and I was amazed at some of the things that were written and acted out Leaders of the EU, US President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry should take heed of  of the dialogue which is out of date but some still very rings true today. It is amazing how on the Arab side nothing has changed. The hate is still the same as mentioned in Abba Eban’s famous quote after the Geneva Peace Conference with Arab countries (21 December 1973); “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

The story of the fictional Palestinian – Israeli Peace Initiative  begins with episode 21 from the fifth season filmed in 2003(?), written by Peter Noah and directed by Christopher Misiano,; before the Israeli one sided "Disengagement of 2005" from the Gaza Strip and the brutal taken over by Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2007.

The character Donna - Donatella Moss - is sent on a congressional fact-finding mission with Admiral Fitzwallace and a few congressmen to the Middle East. Just as they enter the Gaza Strip they encounter an IED ‎‎-a road side bomb which kills Admiral Fitzwallace and two Congressmen DeSantos and Korb. The then  Democratic President Bartlet, sounding strong as Republican George Bush or a Ronald Reagan Republican type of US president states:
President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet: What do we know? - Roadside bomb, detonated by cell phone. They knew they were targeting Americans. The black Suburbans are well-known. Up to now, that's been advantageous U.S. officials have long been off-limits to Palestinian terror attacks. What's striking is no claim of responsibility. They usually can't take credit fast enough Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad. All announced they had nothing to do with this. They don't wanna wake up to a cruise missile for breakfast.”

Donna is seriously injured in the terrorist car bombing. Three Americans are killed. And as President Bartlet is considering targets for military action, the staff struggle to deal with the tragedy emotionally. The most realistic part of the episode takes place as we are given this 2003 version flashback view of "Life in Gaza" where we learn through Donna about the conflict between the Israelis and "Falestinians" through an "Irish" photojournalist introduces her to a "Falestinian" "Electrician" by the name of “Ashraf” from Gaza.
Episode Dialogue: Voice Over-
“When you get out of the hotel and into the streets what hits you about Gaza isn't the overcrowding and poverty. You've been briefed about that.What strikes you is something else. Idleness. (When I served there in the late ‘70s it was the stench that struck me) The sense of a people waiting, but with no expectation. It's hard to convey.
 Colin (speaking to Ashraf)  I'd like you to meet someone.
Colin: Ashraf Monsour, this is Donna Moss.(Please note the name Monsour is an Egyptian name)
Donna: Hi.
Colin: Miss Moss is with the American government delegation.She'd like to understand Gaza better.
Ashraf: (Replying in bad English) I am not an employee. I'm electrician.
Colin: (Speaking to Donna) Ashraf works in construction in Israel.
Ashraf: I am not an employee.(Ashraf attempts to explain here that he does not live on the dole from the Palestinian Authority) and that he is unemployed because....
Ashraf:  I don't
Colin: The Israelis closed the checkpoints after a suicide bombing. Last week.
Donna: Right.
Ashraf: I can't work to feed my family.
(Asharaf’s friend comments in Arabic “Better you should be one of them pointing at a poster of a “Shahid-Martyr”)
Ashraf: He says I should become one of them.
Donna: What's it say?  
Ashraf: "The glory of eternity for our martyrs.”
Colin: The Palestinian Authority pays 2000 U.S.dollars to the families of ‎‎"martyrs.”Plus 150 a month until the last child leaves home.
Ashraf:I wish to work. These martyrs, These martyrs take food out of my children's mouths.
Colin: When it's open, 19,000 Palestinians a day pass through the Erez checkpoint to work jobs in Israel.”

To recap:  In the dialogue from this scene we learn that the "ordinary Falestinian" in the post Oslo Accords period works not in "Falestine" (Gaza) but in Israel. He tells Donna that he is not a member of the "Falestinian" Authority- run by the Nobel Peace Prize winner Yasser Arafat. That he Ashraf the “ordinary Falestinian”, is a person living on the UNWRA dole from US and foreign aid. That he, the “ordinary Falestinian”, cannot enter Israel to work because a suicide bomber had committed an atrocity and the Checkpoints that would have been open to allow him to work and feed his family were closed due to Arafat's secret prompting of suicide bombing attacks.
That "IF" he were to be a "Martyr" = suicide bomber his family would receive $2,000 (in actuality it was $20,000) dollars from ‎‎"Falestinian" Authority plus his wife and children $150 each a month until age 18.‎(This is still true until today)

Continuing in the episode we see Donna and the photojournalist in their hotel room watching the video of a Palestinian suicide bomber on “Palestinian Authority Television".
Donna: Shes so young
Colin: “Yeah Suicide bombers often leave these videotapes behind.
Donna: What's she saying?
He backs up the tape and translates for Donna.
Colin: Um... "It was always my wish to turn my body into deadly shrapnel to knock on the door of heaven with the skulls of Zionists.God gave me two children who I love so"
Donna: She had children?
Colin: Oh, yeah.One and 3.
Donna: Her husband had no idea she was planning to do it?
Colin: Here. Families of suicide bombers get showered with gifts. It's customary at the funeral to hand out sweets.
Donna: It's unimaginable.
Colin: Well, you don't have to imagine it, do you? It's real.”

Now do you know WHY? we built the security wall. Now back to 2003…..

Donna [Voice Over]
Getting in and out of the Israeli settlement of Kfar Durom requires a military
escort. 500 mortar shells have landed there in the last three years. Duringout pre-dinner break, I met an Israeli settler family. Two days before,a mortar round had exploded in their kitchen.
"CUT TO: EXT. - HOME - GAZA - DAY" Supposedly a scene shot in a an Israeli ‎‎"Settlement" in the Gaza Strip before the "Disengagement" Donna and Colin are talking with an Israeli man and woman.
Israeli Mother: It came through the roof. Israeli Father: One half hour later, my wife would have been giving breakfast to our children. Israeli Mother: Four others have fallen around the house.
Colin: See, when the Palestinians get a hit, what they do is secure the launchers,
and that way they can make sure and repeat the strike.
Donna: You must live in constant fear.
Israeli Mother: Our soldiers will find the mortar.
Israeli Father:  You replace the tile roof with concrete and pray.
Donna: In Israel there's talk of giving up these settlements.
Israeli Mother: God wants us in this place. It is our divine, moral obligation to be here.
Israeli Father: If we give in to the Arabs, they'll take more and more, and eventually we'll all end up in Tel Aviv.
Israeli Mother: And then they'll take that.
Donna: All of this... it doesn't make you want to leave?
Israeli Father:  This is the more safe environment.

And there is a scene where the script writers include this conversation with an Israeli soldier:

"Yossi" an Israeli Soldier: “Once, we're sent to dismantle an illegal settlement. The settlers punch and kick us.A woman bit my arm so hard, she drew blood. My own people.
Colin:  Yossi spent some time guarding the settlement in Kfar Darom.

In 2005 Israel forcibly ejected Israeli residents from their homes in Gaza in the hopes that the world would see that Israel will sacrifice for peace. And what have we received in return? More than 13,000 rockets and mortar rounds fired at innocent civilians in our towns and cities.

In regards to the disengagement. The words from the dialogue of Episode 2 Season Six at Camp David, we have this exchange written in 2004 where the fictional Israeli PM Zahavy, His Israeli Defense Minister Massar, The Palestinian Josh are sitting around a table, talking.
Mukarat, Toby, Will, and
Israeli PM Zahavy: And the removal of our forces from the territories would create a power vacuum. How are we to prevent rocket attacks from Palestinian-controlled areas.
Palestinian Mukarat: It would be our responsibility to gain control over our militants.
Israeli Defense Minister Massar: We've tried that before.
Palestinian Mukarat: You've never given us enough time to assert ourselves before you come rushing back in with your tanks.

In this excerpt from the dialogue we hear the constant lame and feeble excuse of the Palestinians to prevent terrorism which is quoted:
Palestinian Mukarat: They've done everything in their power to undermine moderate leadership. Don't they understand when the blow up leaders of Hamas with bombs, all those Palestinian homes, they only make them stronger? Boys and girls, they no longer want to be doctors, teachers, engineers. Now, they all want to be martyrs.

When the Palestinian Chairman "Farad" calls to offer his condolences to President Bartlet what “prophetic*” statement does the Presidents Secretary of Defense say in the War Room?
Leo: Condolences?
Toby: Let's see what he has to say about it in Arabic for domestic consumption.
Secretary of Defense Hutchinson: He knows who did it.
Barrow: I'm sure that's what the Israelis will say.
Secretary of Defense Hutchinson: They've lived thirty years with this guy's track record.Harper: The Chairman's control over Gaza is not absolute. *Hamas has a strong power-base there.

And this conversation between "senior" White House Staff: Will Bailey Deputy Communications Director, Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg Press Secretary, Charlie Young, Personal Aide to the President ,Kate Harper Deputy National Security Advisor, Toby Ziegler Communications Director and Leo McGarry, Chief of Staff.

Will: Israel is not the problem.
C.J.: The settlement, the wall...
Charlie: Israel didn't just blow Americans up.
C.J.: I'm not saying there's equivalence.
Will: Israelis don't talk about driving the Palestinians into the sea.
Harper: Some do.
Will: Oh, come on.
C.J.: Ever heard the phrase "Greater Israel"?
Leo: Not from anyone serious.
Harper: One reason some people say nothing can happen till these guys are gone is the feeling they both may be stuck in old attitudes or assumptions. There‎ was a time when Palestinians and all Arabs wanted to drive Jews into the sea,‎ but some would argue that time's past.
Will: Listen to some Arab broadcasts.
C.J.: Rabble-rousing to distract their street.
Harper: I'm not sure any credible Arab leader truly expects Israel's demise anymore,
not even the Chairman.
Leo: Don't be so sure.
Harper:  Well, there's a view that...
Will: Don't keep saying "Some argue" and "There's a view." Can we restrict it to
your view?
Harper:  Okay. Palestinians are no longer fighting to destroy the Jewish state. They're fighting for a state of their own, a revolutionary struggle against an occupying force, and revolutionaries will outlast and out-die occupiers every time.
Will: I don't know if that's more simplistic or naive.
Toby: It's tribal. It can't be solved. It's Hatfield and McCoy and there is no end.

Here is what is said about the “Peace Process” before Ehud Olmert’s better deal that was also refused in an exchange between Leo McGarry and President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet:

Leo: The peace process? The Israelis handed the Chairman the deal of the century in Taba five years ago - he started smuggling Katyusha rockets into Gaza on fishing boats. There is no long-term. The Israelis are right: there is only one way to bring stability to this region and we should be out there with them digging ditches and putting up barbed wire.
President Bartlet: The fence?
Leo: It's a realistic solution.
President Bartlet: It's a land-grab.
Leo: There's no alternative! - There's no partner for peace.”

Toby Ziegler Communications Director: Last time, Israel offered up Gaza, half of Jerusalem, Temple Mount, and the lead role in the Temple Beth el Purim Play.”

Back in the time of the filming the show in 2003 of the story of the total corruption of the “Palestinian Authority” and Hamas was not well publisized. While visiting the wounded Donna Moss in the Hospital in Germany Josh Lyman is called to meet with a representative of the Palestinians.
Palestinian: Hamas grows stronger every day.
Josh Lyman: Because of frustration with Israel.
Palestinian: Yes, but even more because of what Hamas can offer the Palestinian
people. Food, education, health care.
Josh Lyman: But doesn't the Palestinian Authority...
Palestinian: The Palestinian Authority lines its own pockets. Chairman Farad cannot... will not change, and he's willing to pull the temple down on his head. But there are
other, more reasonable men, who with help could affect change, challenge Hamas.
Josh Lyman: Moderates?
Palestinian: I tell you this in the strictest of confidence. I bring word from Prime Minister Mukarat of Palestine. He is concerned with the ongoing situation,‎ and he feels the time has come for opening a new line of dialogue with Israel and your country; a line of dialogue that does not include Chairman Farad.

And then there is this Liberal Leftist American poke at the Bush presidency in this  exchange between the fictional characters Leo McGarry Chief of Staff and Kate Harper Deputy National Security Advisor: 
Kate Harper: American intervention is responsible for propping up nearly every dictator
in the Middle East.
Leo McGarry: And look where that's gotten us. Sir, it's time to focus on the terrorist
elements who have declared war against us.
Kate Harper: We're at war with the plague of jealousy and hatred and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the index patient. Shouldn't that be our focus?

And for the people of Israel a special message from the “Yordim” Israeli expatriates and Jewish writers of Hollywood:
Leo McGarry:  You know on May 13, the day before Israeli Independence Day, the TV stations screen the name of every soldier who has fallen for the country. A name flashes
on the screen for a second or two, then the next name appears. You go to bed,you get up, the names are still flashing. It takes 24 hours. That's how they observe Memorial Day.
President Bartlet: Yeah, and they keep firing missiles into Gaza, we start encouraging it,
how long until that broadcast last 48 hours? Or 72?

Then there is the exchange between the "Irish" photojournalist and Josh Lyman:

Colin: Looks like your boy's got himself into a bit of trouble.
Josh: My boy?
Colin: Bartlet.
Josh: He's been President Bartlet for six years; he hasn't been a boy for about 50.
Colin: Israelis are never gonna meet with Farad. Why should they? They've got him
surrounded in the West Bank. What does Bartlet think they're going to do,knock on the door of his compound and say, "I'm so sorry about the tanks and stuff, but would you like to pop over to America and have a nice wee chat and sort this out?"?
Josh:  Where are you from?
Colin: Belfast.
Josh: You guys are really the model on how to work things out over there.
Colin: Yeah, we are, actually.
Josh: The Israelis have every right to protect themselves from terrorists.
Colin: They don't occupy a force to oppress...
Josh: They're citizen soldiers trying to keep their sisters from getting blown up
on a bus.
Colin: You Jewish?
Josh: Why? You anti-Semitic?
Colin: Anyone who thinks the Palestinians have a point is anti-Semitic.
Josh: And anyone who thinks the Jews don't after being chased and exiled and persecuted for centuries is either an idiot or a fool, probably both.

And then there is this exchange between President Josiah Bartlett and the Israeli PM Zahavy on the phone:

President Bartlet: It's a show of good faith on Chairman Farad's part; an example of his renewed willingness to address the peace process. Mr. Prime Minister, the territories are undermining your legitimacy as a modern Democracy and sapping your moral authority in the eyes of the world.
Israeli PM Zahavy: Farad is beholden to the very forces that wish to push us back into the Sea. It's not a negotiating point for him. It's a religious and a moral imperative to take back all of Israel for Palestine.
President Bartlet: Sir, you cannot hold yourself out as the Promised Land while occupying the territories and oppressing other peoples.
Israeli PM Zahavy: Our Arab citizens enjoy the most freedoms of any Arabs in the Middle East. Palestinians are oppressed as opposed to... We don't stone women who refuse to wear head scarves in Tel Aviv.

At the fictional negotiations at Camp David :  Palestinian Chairman Farad, Israeli ‎‎ Ambassador to the USA Shira Galit , National Security Advisor Kate Harper, and several other people are sitting at a table and are talking.

Farad: A million Palestinians were being forced from their homes, their...
Galit: Closer to 700,000, and they weren't expelled. They left after being urged to do so by our...
Farad: We were being terrorized by Zionist troops who were threatening to torch every Arab village in the...
Galit:  You accepted the Partition Plan in '47. Not a single Palestinian would become a refugee...
Kate: If I might interrupt...
Farad: The Palestinians were being massacred. Even Israeli historians admit this.
Galit: It was war, only three years after the Holocaust. If we had lost there would have been another wholesale slaughter of Jews.

BASKETBALL COURT - CAMP DAVID - DAY We see that Charlie, Toby, Will, Josh and Bartlet are playing basketball while discussing the negotiations. President Bartlet's wife Abigail "Abbey" and Deputy National Security Advisor Kate Harper are sitting on the sidelines watching.

Will: The Israelis will return the territories but they want a military presence.
Toby: The Palestinians don't get how it's going to be their house if it comes furnished with Israeli tanks.
Josh: Have you mentioned Germany? We've had troops there for 50 years.
Toby: They asked how many British troops were still stationed in Philadelphia after the American Revolution.
Josh: Plenty. But they were, you know, shackled to the wall.
President Bartlet: What about settlements?
Kate: The Israelis are hinting they'll abandon everything in Gaza but they want 75%
of the West Bank settlements to remainMukarat  (the TV Palestinian fictional President) might go for it if he gets land in exchange.
President Bartlet: Sounds promising.
Kate:  Only Mukarat wants twice as much as Israelis say the settlements sit on.
Abbey: How's he justifying that?
Kate:  Says Israelis took the best land. Wants two-for-one in exchange.
President Bartlet:  Dismantling terror?
Will: Israelis want Farad to renounce terrorism. But in Arabic on Al Jazeera. They want more than a promise to disarm Hamas. They want it before they leave.
President Bartlet: What do the Palestinians say? -
Toby: That Farad's renounced terrorism.
Josh:  Is that why he calls for the blood of a million martyrs in all his speeches?
Will: I thought that was a problem with the interpretation.
President Bartlet:  Right of return?
Kate: Farad wants the right of return to apply to all Palestinians. The Israelis are understandably concerned about 3 million Palestinians moving back in.
Josh:  Gallop did some polling in the West Bank. Found that, while refugees wanted the right to come back, most wouldn't.
Will: That's great. Then they won't be disappointed.

Meanwhile at the fictional Camp David "Peace" negotiations Israeli Ambassador to the USA Shira Galit has a heated exchange with the Palestinian Chairman Farad

Galit: The Palestinians only became refugees when our Arab neighbors refused to accept them. 800,000 Jews were similarly expelled from Arab nations. 600,000 of them were resettled in Israel without compensation from Arab countries.
Kate: Madame Ambassador, you bring up the issue of compensation. Would Israel
be prepared...
Farad: We are not asking for money. We want the right of return.
Galit: We can't allow 3 million refugees the right to freely reenter.
Farad: Of course not! Since the 19th century, Zionist leaders have advocated a
transfer of Arabs out of Palestine.
Galit: We can not accept an unlimited right of immigration.  If the Arab population hadn't been uprooted (?)- no Jewish state could've arisen.
Farad: So it was right for Palestine to be cleansed of its native population to establish a Jewish state? We are prepared to sacrifice, but not to formalize our dispossession."

Fawzi al-Qawuqji 
The following dialogue could have been taken directly from the "Palestine Loss" web site. It is the typical "Nachba" dialogue that only gives the “Falestinian” version of what occurred. There is no mention that none of this would have occurred if the ex Waffen SS members of the Arab Irregulars forces of the  Arab Liberation Army   (Jaysh al-Inqadh al-Arabi) Fawzi al-Qawuqji  had not begun butchering the mainly Orthodox Jewish residents of Safed.It is also interesting that when the script was written it supposedly is the fictional Palestine Chairman Farad who relating “his” life story and it is similar to the true story of the real current Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Kate: "Chairman, I know how difficult it would be for you to appear to be abandoning the principle.
It's not reasonable to ask that Israelis allow an unlimited number of refugees to return.
Farad: I was born in the city of Zefat. Do you know Zefat? It's in the mountains of upper Galilee.I was 8 years old when the British left. There were 52,000 Arabs in Zefat. Only 1300 Jews. Within a month, the Haganah had taken over the city. My eldest sister, Amira, was killed. The body of my brother, Aziz was found hanging from a burned cypress tree. We fled to Syria lived in tents, ate United Nations handouts and surplus American cheese. I still remember the view of the valley from the roof of our house. The smell of the pomegranates. The sound of children playing in our orchard.
The home of my father, of my aunts, my uncles. They are now art galleries and bed-and-breakfasts.
Will I get to go home, Miss Harper?
Kate: No, sir. Probably not."

In the narrative of the conflict of the Middle East we are constantly exposed, as in the scene above, of the terrible consequences of Arab hatred towards the Jews during the foundation of Israel. The imagery of “Deir Yassin” and the massive rout of the seven Arab League armies by the defiant Jews in the “Nachba” (Catastrophe) of 1948 has been poured onto the world media since 1974. The once proud imagery of Israel as the brave David fighting a massive Goliath has been brushed aside by Pro Palestinian and Liberal haters of Isarel and Zion after Arafat’s 1974 UN Speech. 
It is due to this that the writer of the “West Wing” failed to put in a similar narrative from a European Holocaust survivor(s) who after losing his/her family and home fled Europe to Israel, the story of Jewish residents of the Old Quarter of Jerusalem or the Gush Etzion Block or the story of a wealthy Jewish family from Iraq who were stripped of their property and money by the Moslems and kicked out or barely fled with their lives. This lack of showing the full narrative  only shows how messages are played out in Hollywood.

Upon Negotiating Jerusalem - A Classical Hollywood Fictional Account

President Bartlet is on the terrace at Camp David talking with Palestinian Chairman Farad.

President Bartlet: Shared sovereignty of Jerusalem is the only realistic approach.
Palestinian Chairman Farad: No. If anyone led you to believe we could agree...
President Bartlet: Mr. Chairman, do you really want to see your people oppressed for another generation? Shared custody of the city and its holy sites is the only...
Palestinian Chairman Farad: Why do you continue to support Israel? Hatred of America grows because of this, and not just in the Muslim countries.
President Bartlet: I've done more to support the Palestinian cause than anyone who's ever sat in my chair.
Palestinian Chairman Farad: The Haram Sharif, the Dome of the Rock, stands on the site where the prophet Mohammed landed in his divine journey from  Mecca to Jerusalem.
President Bartlet: Mr. Chairman, there isn't a single member of your delegation who doesn't think turning down the offer of a Palestinian homeland in 1947 was lunacy,
a colossal mistake. Please, do not make the same mistake today.

Next scene: President Bartlet is walking along a path with Israeli PM Zahavy: and they are talking about the status of Jerusalem.

President Bartlet: The general principle would be that Arab areas are Palestinian and Jewish areas   are Israeli; Israeli sovereignty over the Western Wall, Palestinian sovereignty over the Haram. There would have to be a firm commitment from both parties not to excavate under the Haram or behind the wall, of course.
Israeli PM Zahavy: You have kept us here for five days, negotiating contriving little things we did not want to do but we have tried, struggled to find a common ground because we value your friendship and that of the United States; but I have taken a solemn oath before God and my people not to give up Jerusalem. I told that on the first day. I told you.
Israeli PM Zahavy begins gesticulating with great fervor to try to get his point across to Bartlet.
Israeli PM Zahavy continues: And yet you continue to talk and to talk; you have not been listening. Mr. President, my right eye will fall out, my right arm will fall off before I ever sign a document giving up Jerusalem.

I wonder just how much of this "script"  will be repeated?