Angered by the U.N. General Assembly vote to grant Palestine status as an observer state, the Israeli government will build 3,000 more housing units in areas near Jerusalem and on the West Bank. It will also withhold $100 million in tax revenues it collected from the financially strapped Palestine Authority.
As the New York Times editorialized: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions were “punitive and shortsighted moves that threaten to crush the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, who has recognized Israel’s right to exist.”
The Times goes too far, however, when it says the actions threaten the peace process. Israel under Netanyahu does not want peace negotiations. It does not want a two-state solution. It wants it all.
“The all” was defined in a sign held aloft by a man living in Gaza: “You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all but I am to blame. I shot a rocket back.”
The U.N. vote allows Palestine to sign treaties protecting its air space, natural gas fields off the Gaza coast and electromagnetic airwaves. And most importantly, Palestine can join the International Court of Justice and the International Court to challenge Israel’s unpunished violations of international law.
Wonder of wonders
•Catholic bishops voted unanimously to push for canonization of a woman who had an abortion, had a child out of wedlock, backed strikers against the Catholic Church, considered joining the Communist Party and caroused in taverns with “abandoned” young people like playwright Eugene O’Neill.
Adding to the wonder: her cause was recommended by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, conservative archbishop of New York.
His cause is Dorothy Day. It could not be worthier.
Day was an incredible woman: fiery social activist who lived like a Christian instead of merely preaching like one. She was arrested at protests for farm workers led by Cesar Chavez. She founded the Catholic Worker, radical newspaper, with Peter Maurin in 1933.
The Catholic Worker still publishes, always on the side of labor while much of the U.S. media are not. The organization has more than 200 hospitality houses. You do not have to be a Catholic to use their facilities to aid the poor: soup kitchens, rooms and clothing distribution.
In a church that has created scores of non-entities as saints, Day was a true saint.
Pope, Twitter and hope
•Pope Benedict XVI has moved into the 21st century by posting messages on Twitter, a social media outlet for 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
Is it too much to hope that now the pope will abandon his medieval stance against abortion, contraceptives and women in the priesthood?
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.