Monday, January 12
After doing lots of research on the internet, I was shocked to find that the most candid answer to this question comes from Israelis; most importantly from Israeli leaders who gained political notoriety as a result of crushing Palestinians. This question started to interest me several years ago when I read a eulogy written by Moshe Dayan (a former Israeli Defense Minister) to his Israeli friend who was killed by a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip in 1955:
". . . Let us not today fling accusation at the murderers. What cause have we to complain about their fierce hatred to us? For eight years now, they sit in their refugee camps in Gaza, and before their eyes we turn into our homestead the land and villages in which they and their forefathers have lived.
We should demand his blood not from the [Palestinian] Arabs of Gaza but from ourselves. . . . Let us make our reckoning today. We are a generation of settlers, and without the steel helmet and gun barrel, we shall not be able to plant a tree or build a house. . . . Let us not be afraid to see the hatred that accompanies and consumes the lives of hundreds of thousands of [Palestinian] Arabs who sit all around us and wait for the moment when their hands will be able to reach our blood." (Iron Wall, p. 101)
Similarly, Ehud Barak (the current Israeli Defense Minister) was asked this question, and his reply was:
"If I were a Palestinian of the right age, I'd eventually join one of the terrorist organizations." (interviewed by Ha'aretz's Gideon Levy in March 1998)
Here in America, we're a brought up to believe in our sacred right to bare arms because the right of self-defense is enshrined in our American constitution. As an American, I have the right to defend my home and family here in Chicago by all possible means, even if my defense results in the death or injury of the assailant. However, as a Palestinian defending my home and family in Palestine, that makes me automatically the "terrorist" in the eyes of many in the Western world. It should be noted that when Palestinians rocket Israeli towns, they are rocketing their own homes and farms which have been usurped by Jews who recently escaped European anti-Semitism and pogroms, here are the names of a few of the usurped Palestinian towns which are located in what is now southern Israel: al-Majdal Asqalan, Faluja, Yibna, Huj & Najd.
The more I research Israeli history, the more I discover that Israelis have a hidden empathy to what Palestinians have experienced for the past 60 years. In my opinion, this is a proof that this conflict isn't only a colonial conflict over lands, but most importantly it's a conflict about the national identity which is connected to the land. Deep at heart, every Israeli Jew suspects that the Zionist narrative to be farce. However, because Israel was created by usurping Palestinian rights, Israelis and most Jews find it necessary to deny Palestinians of their national rights and identity. This Israeli insecurity (or paranoia) increases whenever Palestinians assert their national identity (i.e. resistance to colonialism, demanding the right of return, ..etc) because it reaffirms that this is a conflict that will transcend generations.Our DATE is 60 years LATE, God willing sooner or later we shall return.
* Salah Mansour is the founder and editor of PalestineRemembered.com, the largest Palestinian online community.