been made: maybe pro-Davis, maybernpro-Jordan. Whatever the result, therncommunity would have known that representativerndemocracy had, in some importantrnsense, had its innings.rnWe all know that sort of thing was neverrnin the cards. Honesty regarding race,rnand especially race in history, no longer isrnpossible. Those who attempt to display itrnget flayed. Why, the chief of New Jersey’srnhighway patrol lost his job recendy justrnfor remarking publicly on the statisricalrntruth that a lot of black people are involvedrnin drugs. Hush! You don’t sayrnsuch things. Even if they’re true.rnTruth? We’re not interested in that.rnWe’re interested in—well, face it. Peacernis what we’re interested in. Don’trnyell at me! Pleeeeeeease. You can sayrnwhat you want, believe what you want.rnJust don’t —sob, sniffle —call me arnRacist/Sexist/Homophobe.rn”If there is one thing more unedifyingrnthan a ruling class in a position of dominance,”rnMalcolm Muggeridge wroternnearly 30 years ago, without even havingrnvisited modern Dallas, “it is a ruling class,rnlike ours, on the run. They are capable ofrnevery folly and misjudgment, mistakerntheir enemies for friends, and, of course,rnvice versa, and feel bound to go out ofrntheir way to encourage whatever andrnwhoever seek their destruction.”rnFailure of nerve. Coming to a communityrnnear you —if it isn’t already livingrnthere under an assumed name.rnWilliam Murchison is a nationally syndicatedrncolumnist for the Dallas MorningrnNews.rnLetter From Gazarnand the West Bankrnby Tom ]enneyrnEaster in Palestinern”Welcome to the world’s largest open-airrnprison.” That was how Tom Getman,rnthe Israel country director for World Vision,rnintroduced us to life in the GazarnStrip. Our pilgrimage tour bus motoredrnaway from the Erez security checkpoint,rnwith its coils of barbed wire and walls ofrnsandbags, and onto the highway to GazarnCity. Soon we were winding our wayrnthrough the sea of concrete hovels in thernU.N.-serviced Jabalia refugee camp, thernbuildings sitting brown and gray andrndusty in the April sun. When the busrndoors opened at the Jabalia Health Center,rnwe were met by the twin stenches ofrnopen sewage and never-collectedrngarbage. In less than five miles, we hadrngone from one of the wealthiest countriesrnin the world (Israel’s per-capita GDP isrnaround $17,000 U.S.) to a scene of intenserneconomic devastation, where 36rnpercent of Gaza’s Palestinian populacernlives on less than $650 a year, imemploymentrnhovers behveen 20 and 30 percent,rnpopulation density is over 7,000 perrnsquare mile, and some 400,000 peoplernlive in squalid refugee camps.rnEor most of us, this was our first acquaintancernwith the largest and longeststandingrnrefugee problem in the world.rnIn Gaza alone, there are approximatelyrn700,000 refugees, and the total numberrnof Palestinian refugees in the world approachesrn3.5 million. This figure representsrnnot only the original 750,000 PalestinianrnArabs (and their descendants) whornfled from Israeli terrorism and ethnicrncleansing in the late 1940’s but also thosernwho have been pushed off their land byrnIsraeli settlers moving into Gaza and thernWest Bank since the 1967 Six Day War,rnwhen Israel conquered and began to occupyrnthose territories.rnFrom Jabalia, we went to Gaza Git}’ torntour the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children,rnrun by an American womanrnnamed Gerry Shawwa. After limch, Gerry’srnhusband, Isam, a local bigwig withrnthe Palestinian National Authority,rnbriefed us on the precarious water situationrnin Gaza. As in the West Bank, sincern1967 all of the best sources of water havernbeen owned, controlled, and diverted forrnconsumption by the Israelis. One millionrnGazans are left to draw their drinkingrnwater from several brackish and contaminatedrnaquifers, while farmers workrnwith water that is too saline for anythingrnbut modest citrus production.rnOur last visit in Gaza was to the LatinrnPatriarch School, run by Fr. “Abuna”rnManuel Musallam. Although there arernonly 2,000 Christians in the Gaza Strip,rnFather Abuna is known as the “priest ofrnthe million” because of his efforts tornmaintain good relations between Christiansrnand Muslims. As he explained,rnPalesdnian Arabs of the two faiths had arnlong history of peaceful coexistence inrnthe region and had banded together tornfight off a series of outside aggressors: thernCrusaders, the Ottoman Turks, thernBritish, and the Zionists. Abuna is alsornknown as the “political priest,” and I notedrnthat the reception room was watchedrnover by twin photo portraits of Pope JohnrnPaul II and Yassir Arafat.rnThe day concluded with a driving tourrnof Gaza, where we saw more evidence ofrnthe “de-development” caused by thernPalestinians’ forced isolation from thernrest of the world. Since 1967, Gaza andrnthe West Bank have been economicrncolonies of Israel, serving as captive marketsrnfor Israeli goods and pools of cheaprnlabor for its industries. The constructionrnof a seaport and an airport in Gaza—allowedrnunder the Oslo talks —has beenrnhampered by Israeli authorities. Addrnthese facts to the diversion of water andrnthe constant encroachment of Israeli setdements,rnand one begins to suspect thatrndomination — rather than security — isrnthe driving rationale behind the continuedrnoccupation of the West Bank andrnGaza. Also, with the Palestinian Authorityrnso dependent on foreign aid, it is notrnsurprising to find rampant corruptionrnand mismanagement of funds.rnIn recent years, this economic isolationrnhas been tightened by the cripplingrneffect of long-term closure, a form of collectivernpunishment that has actually intensifiedrnsince the Oslo Accords were firstrnsigned in 1993. Under closure, acts ofrnterrorism are met by a complete shutdownrnof Palestinian movements to Israel.rnSome closures—like the two-week onernfor Passover in April 1997 —are precautionaryrnmeasures, applied on top of permanentrngeneral restrictions on the movementrnof Palestinians. Currently, permitsrnfor Palestinians to enter Israel are only issuedrnto married men over the age of 3 5rnand single women over 30. The WestrnBank and Gaza are almost completelyrnisolated from each other, and visitingrnJerusalem for religious reasons is out ofrnthe question. Indeed, during the closuresrnin 1995,1996, and 1997, Tom Getman’srnpeople had to bring the EasterrnHoly Fire from Jerusalem to OrthodoxrnChrishans in Gaza.rnWhile we were at the Jabalia clinic,rnthe director explained that they receivedrnvisits from tour groups only three or fourrntimes per year. Why ruin a perfecdy nicernpilgrimage to the Holy Land by visitingrnthe Gaza Strip and the West Bank? Whyrnnot opt for a standard tour, with an Israelirnguide, where the pilgrims are steeredrnaway from all the troubled areas? Whyrn38/CHRONICLESrnrnrn