Friday, March 29, 2013

A Vision for Rockport

A Vision for Rockport’s
Green Jewel

 Millbrook Meadow – Imagining its Future by Ken Knowles

            Sixty Rockporters gathered at the Town Library recently to imagine the future for the parkland and pond that sit right in the middle of downtown. 
            Rockporters have skated on the Mill Pond for centuries, and they’ve walked and played in Millbrook Meadow for 75 years.
            It’s been a blessed refuge for townspeople—the green, grassy Meadow and the blissful blue water of the Pond.  We’ve had Maypole dances, fairs, weddings there.  We’ve had library reading hours for kids from all over the North Shore.  Our large Scandinavian community has gathered at Midsummer each year to celebrate in Old World style. 
            Kids have hauled fish out of the Pond, and skated all over it, from Henderson Court to the Dam.
            Then, at Mother’s Day of 2006 the rains came, and it rained and rained for days, and the old dam, first built in 1702, blew out.  The deluge poured out of the Pond and flooded the Meadow and Beach Street beyond. 
            It took nearly seven years to get federal, state and local approval, funding and plans lined up to rebuild the dam, but in July 2012 construction began on a new dam, and in January, 2013 we had a nice new dam.

New Dam for the Mill Pond

            In order to build the new dam, they lowered the water in the Pond until it was nearly dry, and they ripped up nearly half of our beautiful Meadow for all the piles of stones and heavy equipment. 
            This all demonstrated to Rockporters a fact that has been hard to swallow.  Our beautiful Meadow  needs some serious help. 
            The granite blocks that line our Mill Brook are all strewn about, so that the water often floods its banks and turns the Meadow into a soggy mess.

Here, ducks swim where children used to play.

            Over a year ago, John Sparks, a landscape architect and member of the Rockport Garden Club, started to gather people to work on a plan to Restore the Meadow.  We started to gather a group of interested volunteers, and joined forces with a very willing ally, Joe Parisi, Director of Public Works.
            Several people had been working for years to move the reconstruction of the dam forward, and they joined the group, as the Millbrook Meadow Committee expanded to tackle this project. 
            We have a basic plan.  We need to raise the money to hire a skilled design team to dig and prod and measure the Meadow and the Pond, to find out more about the soil, the subsoil, the sediment in the pond, the plantings in the Meadow, in the Pond, and around its edges, and design an improved drainage system for the Meadow, an improved water course for the Mill Brook, and to dredge and re-shape the banks of the Pond.
            We began by requesting $60,000 from a trust fund established for just this kind of thing.  Lura Hall Phillips was the feisty activist who saved this Meadow 62 years ago, when it had gotten so disused that the town leaders decided to pave it and turn it into a parking lot.
Lura knew that it had been given to the Town 13 years before, with the stipulation that it always be a greenspace, so she found a willing local attorney and gathered support from townspeople, and went to battle with the selectmen. 
            When Lura died in 1994, she left money in a trust for the Meadow. 
            Now, her money will be the seed money to get the Restoration project started.  Millbrook Meadow Committee, which now includes John Sparks, has joined with the Department of Public Works to request funds from the Community Preservation Fund, and at Town Meeting on April 6th, we’ll ask the Town for another $60,000. 

            This Meadow and Pond belong to the people of Rockport, and we felt it was time to gather them to hear their ideas about this Green Gem for Rockport, so Millbrook Meadow Committee organized a Visioning Session on March 20th
                        Gaynelle and Paul Weiss and Ken Knowles were invited to join to help with the event. Gaynelle, a veteran group facilitator, collaborated to develop the program. Rockport Artist Ken prepared visual illustrations which showed how the restored Meadow might look.  Paul Weiss prepared the visual display.   Barbara Sparks, Beverly Robbins, Charmaine Blanchard,  Shannon Mason, Maura Wadlinger, Marcia Lombardo and Ted Tarr  all helped prepare and conduct the session.

Skating on the Pond has always been popular.

Brainstorming the Past.  Facilitator Gaynelle invited attendees to share their memories, and recall features they liked and didn’t like. 

Yellow ducks—Council on Aging Duck Race, other such events.
Maypole Dance. Dancing and dressing for Maypole.
Blessing of Animals. (1)
Fishing, Feeding Ducks.. Turtles…(2)
Playground is the only one in town that pre-schoolers can use during school hours.
Teddy Bear Parade, including Pets and Hobbies Fairs.
Library Story Hour.
Easter Egg Hunt.
Rockport Garden Club’s Welcoming Garden.
Mike Parillo telling stories under the great willow.
Meadow as a spiritual, peaceful place—a place of beauty.
Girl Scouts crossing (the bridge) from Brownies.
Granite cracking demonstrations.
Playing on swings.
Pooh Sticks.

Pond:   What do you like about Mill Pond? What made it special? What has changed?

Pond used to be larger, no trees had fallen down into it. 
Would like to see Pond as it WAS.
Remember skating and fishing.
Skating – it was huge!  [This drew enormous response!]

Next came the real “Visioning”: Brainstorming the Future.  After we had finished our lists, we asked attendees to affix stickers to the items they thought were most important.  Everyone had four stickers to “vote” with.  Numbers in parentheses indicate what they thought was most important.  

Gardens and Plantings – What is needed to improve the Meadow and Pond?

Add trees! (6)
Arrange for individuals or groups to adopt trees.
Install the plant maze again—kids used to love that! (2)
Shade is important for usage.  (4)
Remove invasives and plant native plants immediately after removal. (10)
Like cattails to remain. 
Avoid poisons to remove invasive species.
Offer to consult:  Mary Mintz, professional gardener.
Offer to consult: Don Bishop, gardener.
Need native plants that can take flooding. (1)
Encourage butterflies.
Lot of tree work needs to be done. Public safety issue (1)
Volunteer knotweed removal—High school students? 
Dredge Frog Pond, deepen it, remove the bad plants. (2)
Major work needs to be done (2)
Caution about soil being brought in.  Ensure it is carefully tested, so that we don’t get lead or arsenic.
Soil fertility and compaction are issues!
Compost recommended.
Would like to see more garden beds, better results not using chemicals.
Include a lot of trees, lots of shade. (5)
Take away that “terrible brush”!
New, healthier willows would be a help.
Need mid-level shrubs, like red-twig dogwood. Native plants, like Viburnum. (3)
I like the wild roses. (3)
Use compost: Conduct demonstration using Millbrook Meadow compost.
Before restoration get a good inventory of existing plant life. (1)
Self help…. use volunteers!

           Gunilla Caulfield, Laura Hallowell and Judy Spurr “vote” their priorities.

Engineering and Architecture – What is needed?

Keep Rockport granite (retaining walls) in the Brook—don’t substitute concrete!  Traditional—the way it was once built. (4)
Brook could be serpentine.  Channel does not have to be exactly the same straight run.  Allow access to North side. (1)
Preserve open space! (11)
Work on creating a path to Pond through Henderson Court. (4)
Restore playground.  Make Playground safer for kids. (13)
Provide picnic tables next to playground. (3)
Provide climbing device for kids. (5)
Provide comfortable seating in the Meadow.
Ensure future design builds in ease of maintenance. (2)
Eliminate light trespass from parking lot lights.
Make area around swing sets safer—eliminate rocks. (1)
Provide baby swings (1)
Keep your eye on upstream sources of pollution. Look at the watershed!!
Fix Mill Brook channel. (11)
Fix problem of ocean backwash through culvert.  Fix problem of pipes running transversely through culvert. (15)
On ramp from Mill Lane to the Meadow, provide a handrail. (stair retaining wall is too low for safe use as handrail.)
Clean up the pond. Remove dead trees, sediment, etc.

                                      Attendees “vote” their priorities. Left to right, Mike 
                                      Anderson, Ted Tarr, Eleanor Hoy and Nancy Perkins

Nature and Ecology – What is needed? 

Need to test soil and water.
Attack invasives. (4)
Protect, aid eels and elvers. (5)
Remove trees. (1)
Fix Frog Pond. (1)
Provide layered plantings.

Events and Usage – What is needed?

Restore playground (age appropriate) (4)
Ensure open space for Frisbee and Whiffleball.
Library programs under trees. (2)

Ken Knowles addresses Rockporters at Visioning Session

Top Priorities: 

Fix problem of ocean backwash through culvert.  Fix problem of pipes running transversely through culvert. (15)
Restore playground.  Make Playground safer for kids. (13)
Preserve open space! (11)
Remove invasives and plant native plants immediately. (10)
Restore Skating all over the pond, like the old days. (14)

            We ask Rockporters to come to Town Meeting on Saturday, April 6th and vote to support funding for restoration of Millbrook Meadow and Mill Pond  in the amount of $60,000.  (Article I). 


Samuel W. Coulbourn
Chairman, Millbrook Meadow Committee

Vision of how the Pond could be reshaped, and Meadow redesigned, by Ken Knowles.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our Wonderful Electrical World

Slow Music…
The Persistence of Memory by Salvadore Dali, 1931

            Have you ever had the feeling that everything was moving at half speed?  The simplest thing took more time… and everything seemed kind of hard?
            My world s..l..o..w..e..d  down. 

            The whole thing reminded me of a Salvadore Dali painting. 

            A few days ago I left a building in Beverly and walked to my car, and the short walk wiped me out. 
            I’ve had a pacemaker helping my heart work for nine years, and it occurred to me that something was not right.  These pacemakers are marvelous little devices.  They have kept millions of people alive and living active lives for years, and each year they get better.
            I quickly got an appointment to see the Pacer clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital, and as soon as I sat in the chair and the technician hooked up the sensors, she said, “Your battery is down!” She confirmed the exact moment when the battery slowed.
            In our world today, we live with batteries on our cell phones, our laptops, our flashlights, our car key remotes, our cars, our wristwatches.
            But when your battery on your pacemaker gets low, it helps pump only one chamber of the heart, and leaves the other on its own. 
            That means that when you stand up after sitting, or you climb three steps, you feel like you’ve sprinted up a seven-story building.  You are wiped slick!
            When you think of it, imagine a battery there next to your heart that has been sending out tiny electrical pulses day in and day out, for nine years!  That is one incredible battery!

            However, it would be nice if you had a little warning that your heart was going to be going on half-power.

  Pacemaker in body (

            Mass. General immediately scheduled me for blood tests, an x-ray, an electrocardiogram and all the rest. While I was waiting to see a doctor during all this hurried-up process, my hearing aid battery started to beep at me. 
            Yep, right there waiting to get my pacemaker fixed, I needed to replace the battery in my hearing aid.  Isn’t this a wonderful world?

            Next week I will go in for the operation to replace the pacemaker. 
 I went in to Mass. General Tuesday, Apr. 2 at 9 a.m. and by 11:30 a.m., like the tin woodsman, I had a nice new pacemaker, selling pleasant little electrons to both upper and lower chambersof my heart so that I could walk up hills and stairways like a regular person.  It's wonderful to be back!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Palestine and Israel


Palestine and IsraelOne State, Two States or ????

Palestinian boy

 فلسطين   ישראל 

            Rockport’s History Book Club meets monthly at Rockport Public Library.  If you live nearby, we invite you to join us.  Next month we’ll read and discuss books on modern history of Mexico and Central America.  For details, see the end of this post.

"To move back from the edge of this abyss, (Israeli and Palestinian) leaders and their societies alike must now begin to acknowledge that the writing of their own unfinished story depends, in great part, on the ability of the other society to continue writing its story."—Kimmerling and Migdal, The Palestinian People, 2003.
      On February 27th, Rockport’s History Book Club met to discuss Israel and Palestine in the 20th and 21st centuries.  Following are reviews of books that members read. 

Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal, The Palestinian People: A History, 2003.Harvard University Press

            The Israelis we know.  Some of them have strong Jewish roots in the Zionist movement that began in the 1880s.  Others were Jews who came to Palestine from all over the world after World War II, determined to establish an internationally recognized Jewish homeland after the terrible years of the Holocaust.  By well-planned force of arms, they carved out the Jewish state of Israel which has become a vibrant democracy with a strong economy.
            But who are the Palestinians?  What are their roots?  Are they a nation, too, as their leadership forcefully contends?
            These questions and many more shape an important and highly informative book, written by two highly regarded teachers and scholars of the politics, sociology, and history of the interminable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The authors are the late Baruch Kimmerling, Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at the time of publication, and Joel S. Migdal, currently Robert F. Philip Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington who has also taught at Harvard and Tel-Aviv University.          
            On the highly contentious question about Palestinian nationality, Kimmerling and Migdal disagree with the conventional interpretations repeated by both Palestinian and Israeli historians.  Palestinian historiography takes the position that Palestinians have always been a singular people whose solidarity and cohesion date back to the Fertile Crescent.  Conversely, Israeli scholars assert that no self-identified Palestinian people ever existed until the Arabs living in the region's villages and cities began to struggle against Zionism and Jewish settlement.
            No one could have presented this historical perspective better than Golda Meier, prime minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974.  She said:
            "There was no such thing as Palestinians.  When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state?......It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country from them.  They did not exist."
            In response to the Israeli and Palestinian interpretations, Kimmerling and Migdal construct a strong argument from recent scholarship that Palestinian identity began to emerge at a grassroots village and city level in the early years of the nineteenth century when the region's Arab populations began to encounter European market society and government administration.  Later in the century this identity became stronger in reaction to Zionism and Jewish settlement.
            In taking a strong position against established Israeli historiography, Baruch Kimmerling was considered one of the New Historians of the last quarter of the twentieth century in Israel.  The New Historians not only questioned the official historical narrative of the Israeli state but most importantly became outspoken critics of government policy toward the Palestinians.
            In finding the roots of Palestinian identity in the nineteenth century, Kimmerling and Migdal open their presentation with several well-crafted chapters on Palestinian society and economy in the nineteenth century.  The Ottomans controlled Palestine except for a brief period in the 1830s when an upstart Egyptian governor overran the region and allowed his son to rule with a heavy hand that brought rebellion by the Palestinian population, a revolt that is still seen as a formative time of Palestinian identity because of the atrocities committed by the Egyptian forces in curtailing the opposition.
            After the Ottomans reestablished control of Palestine in 1840, the Palestinian peoples prospered for the rest of the century, according to the authors.
            "Palestine on the eve of the Great War scarcely resembled the country of a century earlier.  It was now a land connected to Europe by railroads, shipping lines, and a telegraph network.  It joined Europe, too, through the increased number of Europeans, both Jews and gentiles, now appearing on the docks almost daily; by the cinema; and by the European plays that began to be staged in 1911.  More and more, the notable Arab families sent their children to foreign schools in the country, or even abroad.  Life in Jaffa, Haifa, and Gaza resembled that in other Mediterranean cities---Marseilles, AthensBeirut, and Alexandria---more than the towns of the Palestinian hinterland."
            Kimmerling and Migdal tell us that while the empire of the Ottomans may have been crumbling elsewhere, in Palestine there were no wars, no major revolts, and much less internal violence.  Then everything changed with the war to end all wars.  British troops arrived to replace the Ottomans after the war.  Very little would go right for the Palestinians in the twentieth century.
            During the interwar period the British mandate was harsh.  Increased Jewish immigration brought growing ethnic friction.  Arab rebellion against British rule in the years 1936 to1939 was severely suppressed by thousands of additional British troops.  The authors also mention that the increasingly capable Jewish leadership mobilized 15,000 armed militia to protect Jewish settlers.              Palestinian leadership was demoralized and decimated.
            When Jewish forces mobilized to take control of Palestine in 1948, the Palestinians were unable to respond.  The Jews won Palestine.  Thousands of Palestinians were herded into refugee camps that still exist today, more than sixty years later.  Hundreds of Palestinian villages were deserted.  The British left.  The new state of Israel was born.
            The telling of this history by Kimmerling and Migdal does not glorify or condemn either Palestinians or Israelis.  Their ambition is not to support either side's interpretation but to offer their own.  They are critical of leaders on both sides for their inability to understand the suffering of their opposite, the other.
            What they want to do is to challenge the too-easy answers inherent in the national myths told by both Israelis and Palestinians.  They want to change the relationship between the two peoples in order to find a way Palestinians and Israelis can accept each other on the tiny piece of earthly space that each has claimed for itself.
            The authors approach this well-written, extraordinarily detailed work as historians using the tools of sociology and political science and not as partisans for one side or the other.  They conclude:
            "To move back from the edge of this abyss, (Israeli and Palestinian) leaders and their societies alike must now begin to acknowledge that the writing of their own unfinished story depends, in great part, on the ability of the other society to continue writing its story."
            Kimmerling died a few years ago.  Migdal has moved onto other projects in international studies at the University of Washington.  Tragically, Israelis and Palestinians still cannot talk to each other.  They cannot hear the other's historical narrative.  Without recognition, there can be no peace, no future for either people.
                                                                                                --Rick Heuser

 Tyler, Patrick, Fortress Israel: The Inside Story of the Military Elite Who Run the Country, and Why They Can’t Make Peace. 2012.

            Patrick Tyler has spent 30 years as a journalist in many overseas assignments, first for the Washington Post as their Near East reporter and then for 18 years as bureau chief for the New York Times in Moscow, Beijing, Baghdad and London.  Fortress Israel is his third book on international relations and history.  Tyler’s thesis is that a peaceful solution to the Palestine/Israel situation has failed because harsh military force was preferred to diplomacy by Israel leadership, which has always been dominated by hard-liners.
            Westerners have been encouraged to view Israel as a tiny besieged democracy in a sea of Arab hostility.  Israel’s leaders have preached that their dominant national focus is the pursuit of peace.  However, Moshe Sharett, the Jewish state’s second prime minister, documented in his journals: military ambition too often smothered moral aspirations so coveted by the founding Zionists.
            Today Israel has formidable constituencies in the free world, lending economic and military support to encourage “shared values” in less than a decade.  Under the strong armed leadership of David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister, Israel fielded the most powerful army and air force in the Middle East.  Then, with the help of France, it secretly became a nuclear power.  By the time the United States got deeply involved in arming Israel during the late 1960s, Israel had already defeated the Arabs in two rounds of war.
            After the Six Days’ War in 1967, any thoughts of relinquishing hard-won occupied territory was a moot point for the cabinet and military.
            The Israelis had good cause to be unforgiving in settling claims with any Arab foe.  From the outset, Arab leaders, with few exceptions, displayed a deep hatred towards a Jewish homeland and Zionist dreams. The Muslim leaders rejected Palestinian a United Nations partition plan in 1947 and showed no sympathy for a people almost annihilated in Europe.  The Jews stood alone, hated by all their neighbors.
            This book seeks to explain how Israel’s militarily dominated society has ruined many chances for reconciliation with neighboring foes.  Only Egypt was able to secure a peaceful solution to the chaos in the Sinai.  Israel had the solid opportunity to build on this great success but the unremitted distrust within the Israeli power brokers stalled any other peace accords.
            Jordan was ready to accept new borders and thousands of refugees.  The United States guaranteed the Golan Heights as a neutral zone, allaying all impediments to a pact between Syria and IsraelLebanon was battered by war on three fronts and desperately wanted a solution to the political nightmare.  Years passed, the borders remained scenes of carnage.
            After seven wars and hundreds of terrorist attacks, over 60 years, the same military elitism dominates all political decisions in Israel with no end in sight.  This military force has worked for the Jewish state.  The real question, according to Tyler, is whether diplomacy instead of force would have yielded better peace solutions with the Palestinians.
--- Richard Varrengia

Palestinian schoolchildren at Jenin

Gerner, Deborah L., One Land, Two Peoples: The Conflict Over Palestine, 1991, Westview Press.

            Deborah Gerner is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Kansas, and a lecturer on U.S. foreign policy in relation to the Middle East.  Her book is one of six in  a collection, Dilemmas in World Politics, written for introductory classes at the college level.  The text is augmented by an extensive chronology, maps, photos, charts, tables and five discussion questions per chapter that serve to direct the reader’s attention to key issues.
            Gerner describes the conflict over Israel and Palestine as one of the most significant and difficult dilemmas facing the international community. She lists a dozen fundamental concerns, among which are national identity, self-determination, the role of non-state powers, the impact of violence in conflict resolution, strategic location, natural resources and religion in politics.  Four of these factors provide the themes that run through the four long chapters that make up the book.
            Search for National Identity and Self Determination.  Israelites ruled the area intermittently beginning with Abraham around 2000 BCE, and were finally driven out, first by the Babylonians in the 6th century BCED and then by the Romans in 135 CE.  They’ve lived in other parts of the world, but they’ve retained their religion and culture and continued to view Palestine as their homeland.  Late in the 19th century a Zionist movement began, which inspired European Jews to migrate back to Palestine.
            The Palestinian Arabs occupied the land at the eastern end of the Mediterranean continuously since the 7th century, although ruled by a succession of subjugators, and never as an independent nation.  By the mid-15th century in Europe people began to shift from loyalty to the church to formation of nation states, e.e. political unites with fixed territory and population.  However, people in the Levant, under control of the Ottoman Empire were slow to join this change.  When the British succeeded the Ottomans in 1918 they kept a tight lid on the Arabs, even forcing their leaders into exile in Tunisia.  In 1948 when the Americans and British cooperated to allow the Jews to emigrate to Palestine, many Palestinians were forced from their homes, often into squalid refugee camps, in Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, Syria and Iraq.
            Pressures by External Powers that have manipulated the conflict to enhance their own interests. Britain, the U.S., France and Russia, over the years, have been involved in this debate for many reasons.  Oil, strategic alignments, Cold-War side-taking,  socialism, military, economic factors are among the pressures.
            Domestic factors within each side that influence attitudes and actions and make efforts to resolve the conflict so complicated.  Gerner lists eight political organizations that the PLO has to deal with and Israel had 14 smaller political groups.  Then there are dissenting religious groups, especially among the Jews.
            Efforts of international interest groups attempting to mediate the conflict and the failure of their involvement to bring about a lasting solution.  Participation by nations and organizations has contributed to the extreme violence, especially in supplying arms and money, but international actions have also played constructive roles.
            In Gerner’s view, no solution will work but the Two-State Solution.  In 2013 it looks like she’s right, as over 60% of members of the U.N. have accepted Palestine as a non-member observer state, an upgrade over being labeled an “entity”.
                                                                                    --Beverly Varrengia

Israeli children

Morris, Benny, One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict, 2009, New Haven, CTYale University Press. 240 pp.

            Americans have followed the drama of Israel since its creation in 1948, and Benny Morris does a good job of filling in some of the blank spots, at least in this reader’s understanding. 
            Although Morris wants us to get an impartial view, this Professor of History at Ben Gurion University in Israel does not give us anything which might approximate the Arab point of view.  I have had Arabs and friends of Arabs try to give me their point of view before, and I was unable to take it on board.  I found that the whole matter of deciding upon a place for a home for the Jews was one that was doomed to cause conflict no matter where it ended up.
            Arabs don’t agree, but the Jews have a pretty solid prior claim to the Land of Milk and Honey, going back over 6000 years.
            Morris tells about the first gathering of Zionists in 1882, which began the drive to find a national homeland. The assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881 set off a wave of pogroms in Russia and led to the idea of a Zionist organization. Alexander had been a very liberal tsar, freeing the serfs and allowing Jewish merchants in certain areas (that is the “Pale of Settlement”)  to join guilds, and some Jewish children could attend schools.
Alexander was assassinated by an anarchist, atheistic group called “The People’s Will”, but one of the assassins had Jewish heritage.  
             After centuries of being abused and murdered, with large and small pogroms, the Jews were fed up with always being a minority in any setting. 
            The Arabs in Palestine first developed a national consciousness as Palestinians in the early 1920s.  Up to then, the Arabs who lived in Palestine were simply Arabs.  They were the majority in a land with a significant minority of Jews (800,000 to 160,000 in 1928).
            The extermination of some 6,000,000 Jews by Hitler in World War II created an international impetus to find a home for the Jews.  Britain, which had captured Palestine in World War I, had been leaning toward Palestine as a national home for the Jews since then.  The final decision to bring Jews displaced from Europe fell to President Harry Truman, with agreement of Great Britain, and approval of the United Nations. 
            The central question in this book is whether the area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean which was set aside for the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs would be One Nation or Two, whether there should be a Jewish nation alongside a Palestinian nation, or one nation, partitioned. 
            That is the question that has swirled about since 1948.  The Jews knew what it was like to be the minority.  They had done that for ages, and they would not permit that.
Being a Jewish minority with a majority of Arabs?  They would be exterminated.
            The Arabs bitterly resented having the Jews land in Palestine, and they fought it, resisted it, hated it, in every way, from the start until now.
            Could there be a Palestinian state existing in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as Israel?  Palestinians have bitterly objected, and have never relented in their demand for ejection of the Jews and “the Right of Return” to the homes from which they had been removed when the Jews arrived. 
            Morris details the many discussions and agreements, or semi-agreements or non-agreements that have tossed around various peace arrangements.  There was the United Nations General Assembly partitioning of November 1947;
The Six-day War of 1967 which resulted in huge loss of territory by the Arabs;
The Allon Plan of 1967-68 giving back some land to the Arabs, but retaining a strip along the Jordan;
            And there was the infuriating meeting hosted by President Clinton at Camp David in July 2000, that ended with Yasser Arafat not agreeing to anything. 
            The Palestinians have steadfastly opposed any plan that gives them land, including part of Jerusalem, most of the West Bank, etc., etc. as long as the Jews are still around. 
            The British and Americans did a heroic think in making the way for Jews to build Israel.  I’m sure all Muslims, especially Arabs, think that move was Satanic.  Some Americans think it was, as well.
            As I finished this book, I asked myself: What will it take to have peace between Palestinians and Israelis? 
                                                                                    -- Samuel W. Coulbourn

            Also attending this meeting was Beth Ingram, who did not report on a book.  We welcome interested persons, even if they have not read a book on the subject we are discussing.  We had a lively, interesting exchange.  But we did not achieve a recommended solution.

NEXT MONTH:  We will meet at Rockport Library on Wed. Mar. 27th at 7 p.m. to discuss Mexico and Central America in the 20th and 21st Centuries.  Please join us! 

 April 24th:  In April, we’ll read about Africa, from 1900 to 2013.  Any subject—the independence movement of the 1960s, Rwanda, the Congo, Zimbabwe and Mugabe, South Africa and Mandela, Idi Amin and Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Angola, Tunisia, Algeria  ---- your choice!  

 In May we’re looking at BRIC-- four big, powerful countries all in a similar stage of advanced economic development:  Brazil, Russia, India and China.   We’ll meet May 29th.

Wed. June 26:  Women's Suffrage and other Women's Movements from 1900 to 2013.
OR, Female oppression from 19th cent. on.  Your choice!
Wed. July 31:  Labor Movement in America 1900-2000. Eugene V. Debs, Triangle Shirtwaist, ILGWU, the Wobblies, CIO, AFL, John L. Lewis, David Dubinsky, more.
Wed. Aug. 28:  America and its wars or near wars with European powers, viz.:  France, Spain and England.  Starts with the French and Indian War.  Takes in the Monroe Doctrine.  Could go all the way to the Spanish American War.
Wed. Sep. 25:  History of political revolutions and their commonalities
Wed. Oct. 30: History of the North Shore.  That opens the way to looking at the rich history of the Gloucester fishing industry, Essex boat building, the fashionable summer resorts in Manchester and Magnolia at the end of the nineteenth century, etc.
Wed. Nov. 27:  The Industrial Revolution in America.  [You might wish to home in on the textile industry in New England in the 19th c.]
December-- no meeting.
Next topics:
History of life changing inventions
Tribalism in the 20th-21st cents.
Political corruption and its effects on government