I think Hannah's quite right.
You could argue that those who fight for the right of Palestinians to an equal measure of human dignity and self-determination, through the formation of a Free Palestinian State are probably the only ones actually offering the hope of a viable, moral and secure Israeli State. Right now, Israel is willing to sacrifice morality for a false security to ensure its viability. It's a real quandary, a philosophical dead-end. I mean, trying to build a Jewish state at the expense of morality!?
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“The war is with the Arabs.”
I saw this sign as I was entering Nablus last week, again on my way to Ramallah, and again near Bethlehem. The phrase is printed in Hebrew, presumably by Israeli settlers, on huge signs throughout the West Bank. Israeli racism rarely shocks me anymore, but its blatant display still makes me stop and catch my breath as I translate it into other contexts. Imagine driving through the middle of a predominantly black neighborhood in a US city or town and seeing a humongous sign that says, “The war is with the Blacks.”
I think about security. Israel’s abuse of the word has rendered the concept almost meaningless in the region, but the importance of security on individual and communal levels cannot be underestimated. However, most discussions I see in the media about security ignore the Palestinian people’s right to security. “The war is with the Arabs” is a new sign, as far as I know, but for years in the West Bank I have seen stars of David scrawled on Palestinian shops and homes, and signs like “Death to Arabs” and “Kahane was right” (Kahane was an extremist political leader who promoted ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people; this sign is essentially equivalent to “Hitler was right” in the middle of a Jewish neighborhood). [...]
A Palestinian friend with Israeli citizenship told me he has heard a rumor that a huge piece of land in Jordan is being cleared and built up for the eventual arrival of the Palestinian population of Israel after they are transferred from their homes. “It may be conspiracy theory,” he said, “but I don’t know.”
“I’d like to think that Israel couldn’t get away with that,” I responded.
“Of course they can,” another friend from Lyd said, “and if the conditions are right, they will.”
Imagine living day to day thinking you might be expelled from your country in the near future. Or in Gaza, wondering if you will be killed tomorrow, or if you will ever be able to come in and out of your country at will. Or in the West Bank, if your son will be arrested, or if you will be able to get through the checkpoint in the morning to get to work. Or in Jerusalem, if your residency will be stripped or your house destroyed. [...]
A friend of mine from the West Bank once told me that she never feels safe, so safety is not a consideration for her in making decisions. As much as I may try, I cannot truly imagine this lack of control.
I met a woman in Jerusalem who was displaced from her home by settlers, physically removed from her house by dozens of Israeli soldiers in the middle of the night. Twice a refugee (1948 and 2008), Um Kamel currently lives in a tent near her house that has been destroyed and re-pitched six times in the past six months. This is perhaps the height of insecurity, and yet Um Kamel stays strong and determined. Many in Palestine would call it sumoud, or steadfastness.
This kind of strength is seen remarkably often in Palestine, and indicates a deeper security that comes in part from faith. Faith in God, sometimes, but also faith in each other, in the justice of one’s cause, in the tide of history that has shown that no single occupation in Palestine lasts forever. This, of course, is also Israel’s deepest fear. That no matter how many walls they build, how many people they imprison, how many homes they destroy, how many signs they erase, and how many people they expel, true security will remain elusive, and eventually, Zionism will fail. As many older Palestinian people have said to me, with security, “We have lived through many occupations. This too shall pass.”
Picture source: http://www.thewe.cc/weplanet/news/middle_east/palestine/i_refuse.htm