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The part of Israel so often blocked from American eyesight..... Deep unease as Israel celebrates its 60th anniversary By Jean Shaoul 8 May 2008  Today, order styplon cod Israel marks the 60th anniversary, order styplon cod according to the Hebrew calendar, order styplon cod of its founding. Order styplon cod World leaders will endorse the event with a major international conference in Jerusalem on May 14-16, order styplon cod the actual date of its founding. Order styplon cod It will be attended by United States President George W. Order styplon cod Bush, order styplon cod former president of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, order styplon cod Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, order styplon cod 12 heads of state, order styplon cod media and business tycoon Rupert Murdoch and Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin. The official celebrations—aeronautical displays, order styplon cod a naval review along the Mediterranean coast, order styplon cod and mass parachute drops—illustrate the character of Israel as a garrison state that polices the region on behalf of US imperialism. Despite the celebrations, order styplon cod not one of the commentators outside or within Israel has been able to disguise the deep sense of unease and disillusionment that pervades Israel. Order styplon cod Many Israelis had opposed a flamboyant celebration: an online petition calling for a scaling back of expenditure achieved 90, order styplon cod000 signatures by the end of March against the original target of 10, order styplon cod000. Order styplon cod As a result, order styplon cod the government was forced to announce that 35 percent of the $28 million budget—far less than the $70 million spent on the 50th anniversary in 1998—would be spent on educational, order styplon cod infrastructure and remembrance projects. Neither could commentators fail to contrast this with how the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, order styplon cod the squalid refugee camps of Lebanon, order styplon cod Syria and Jordan, order styplon cod and in the Diaspora, order styplon cod regard the event. For them, order styplon cod the creation of Israel, order styplon cod which they call the Naqba, order styplon cod or catastrophe, order styplon cod is synonymous with the forcible expulsion and flight of more than 700, order styplon cod000 Palestinians from their homes, order styplon cod and the start of a life of exile and poverty. Order styplon cod Their property was expropriated and they were not allowed to return. Order styplon cod Today, order styplon cod the original refugees and their descendants as well as those who became refugees after the 1967 war now number around 4.5 million. On the occasion of Israel’s anniversary, order styplon cod Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza face a three-day lockdown. Order styplon cod Public sector workers and students will stop work at 11 a.m. Order styplon cod to join rallies in the West Bank and Gaza. Order styplon cod Sirens will start a two-minute silence at noon. (snip) Behind the smokescreen of the US-sponsored “peace process, order styplon cod” and with the complicity of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, order styplon cod Israel has further consolidated its land-grab in the West Bank. Order styplon cod The government has encircled Jerusalem with settlements that will make it impossible for Palestinians to live in and travel to and from Jerusalem, order styplon cod much less make any part of its capital in any putative state. Order styplon cod At the same time, order styplon cod Israel has waged war against the Gaza Strip, order styplon cod assassinated its opponents, order styplon cod killed hundreds of Palestinians and inflicted illegal and cruel collective punishment on the entire population. Order styplon cod It has laid siege to Gaza in order to starve the Palestinians into submission. Order styplon cod Once again, order styplon cod however, order styplon cod Israel’s inhuman and illegal actions against the Palestinians have served to increase support for Hamas and political Islam and have sickened the majority of Israelis who want a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians.   Social schisms The last, order styplon cod and in may ways most important, order styplon cod factor in generating the public unease surrounding the anniversary is the phenomenal growth of social differences in Israel as a result of the free-market policies pursued by successive governments. Order styplon cod Privatisation, order styplon cod pension, order styplon cod and welfare reform, order styplon cod budget and tax cuts, order styplon cod and deregulation have turned the dream of the egalitarianism and collectivism, order styplon cod once proclaimed as the raison d’etre of a national home for the Jews, order styplon cod into a nightmare. Israel’s economy is entirely dependent upon financial support from the US and preferential trade agreements. Order styplon cod Its high-tech industries, order styplon cod biotech, order styplon cod nanotech, order styplon cod smart materials, order styplon cod alternative energy and arms are geared towards the US and Europe. Order styplon cod But while economic growth has been more than 3 percent a year for the last four years, order styplon cod Israel’s new wealth is highly concentrated. Order styplon cod The Gini coefficient, order styplon cod measuring income inequality, order styplon cod has risen continually, order styplon cod ranking Israel as one of the most unequal states in the developed world. Because Israel is so heavily dependent on Washington’s subventions, order styplon cod this situation is set to worsen dramatically as the economic crisis takes its toll on the US budget. In addition to the growing social polarisation, order styplon cod Israel is split along ethnic, order styplon cod religious, order styplon cod and ideological lines. Order styplon cod Fully 20 percent of the Israeli population are Arabs, order styplon cod who are treated as second-class citizens. Order styplon cod Their refugee relatives cannot return to Israel, order styplon cod whereas Jews abroad automatically qualify for citizenship. Order styplon cod (snip) Those Jews whose families came from the Middle East and North Africa are also treated as second-class citizens, order styplon cod when compared to those from Europe. Order styplon cod (snip) These social and political developments have undermined the central pillar of Zionism, order styplon cod its demand for national political unity against those deemed to be the external “enemies” of the Jewish people. Order styplon cod As such, order styplon cod they threaten the country’s political and social stability. (snip) All this is a far cry from the secure economic future that the Zionist dream seemed to offer the Jewish people 60 years ago. Order styplon cod It is this that underpins the increasing disillusionment with Israel today. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/may2008/isra-m08.shtml