Goodbye Gaza, Hello Paris...

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

If you listen to the show regularly, at some point in the last few years you've probably heard Neal talk with Steven Erlanger. He's been the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for The New York Times since 2004. Now, he's getting ready to move on... to Paris, actually, to take up the Bureau Chief position there for the Times. In his years covering Israel, Gaza, and the surrounding region, he's seen political progress, violent setbacks, significant elections, presidential visits, and the list goes on. Before he leaves Jerusalem, we'll talk with him one last time from the Middle East, about what's happened there — and what hasn't — in the last four years.

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I must take issue with Mr. Erlanger for his opening summary of the current state of affairs in Gaza. If Gaza is "semi-occupied," then inmates of San Quentin are "semi-incarcerated." The prison analogy is apt: by controlling what and who goes in and out, Israel exercises control over every aspect of life in Gaza.

I wish NPR, as well as other media, would help people realize the outrageous nature of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as Gaza. Imagine if, in some alternative universe, Canada suddenly commandeered the greater Seattle area, installed checkpoints, built Canadian-only roads, constructed Canadian-only luxury suburbs, etc. Would you blame Seattle's residents for resisting their occupation? No? And how is the actual Israeli occupation different from this imagined Canadian one?

Sent by Emily Wheeler | 3:15 PM | 2-19-2008