Missed Opportunities

The only opportunities the Palestinians were ever given are those of leaving, dying, or living in limbo. Since Palestinians refuse to leave, they are given hell for living. When life turns hell some prefer heaven, and when the sole purpose of Palestinian existence is to set free Israeli occupation of any responsibility or guilt, Palestinians would rather set themselves free, by resisting the occupation.

Israel’s denial of responsibility and its failure to acknowledge, that it is because of the occupation that Israelis and Palestinians are getting killed and pillars of both societies are getting destroyed, is the most important and pivotal missed opportunity.

Only laying blame where it is due has become so unfashionable. If it snows in the desert in the summer, the Palestinians are blamed for the desert, the snow, and for being Palestinians. While Israel chose war, the Palestinians are pushed to jump on a train of peace with rusted wagons, that are disconnected from the main engine, and that has not left the station for the last fifty odd years. The “opportunities” and the “generous” offers that Palestinians “never miss to miss”, are ones that would make them apart from leaderless: human less, historic less, right less, land less and everything else less. But when Palestinians point out the futility of having an exercise in futility, they are told to be real, realistic, and to accept certain realities.

Palestinians are of course real, they do exist, and on this planet. Only being realistic and all, how is it that the Palestinians are expected to have a democratic process-or any process- under the threat of either “transfer” or annihilation, when the most democratic and powerful nations found it necessary, to more than curb civil liberties under the threat of “terror”? To put impossible demands on Palestinians is, of course, to want them to fail. Maybe just so that as many Israeli officials as possible are given the chance, at least once in a lifetime, to say with an all too knowing smile, that the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

However, there are certain realities that Israel refuses to accept. Namely, that nobody could ever talk an entire people into their own injustice and out of their dignity and rights. If anybody ever could, the French would still be in Algeria, the British in India and the Arabs in Andalusia. Israel also refuses to acknowledge that people can never accept slavery as their destiny. If people ever accepted a reality like slavery, we would have been stuck in history in Pharaonic or Roman Empire times. Lastly, if wrong was ever right, the Holocaust would have never ended.

Dehumanization and killing has become proof of love for country because of people who believe that revenge is justifiable The bare minimum one must do therefore, as a token of love, is to hate to death. So, if one does not want to do any kind of killing, one does not love one’s country sufficiently. There is almost a competition of who has better reasons and justifications for killing, without any realization that it is the wrong competition. When a Palestinian woman stands facing the rubble of her demolished home, with some of her family in prison and some killed, and the woman says, ” I only have God”. Or when a Jewish father whose “beloved” son is killed in a bombing, feels compelled to say publicly that he “does not seek revenge”. It is not like these two persons who are shattered by grief, do not have all the reasons in the world to want to revenge. Nor is it lack of love or of having the lower “moral ground”, but rather the opposite.

“Turning the other cheek” is, having the “higher moral ground”. It is making a moral choice because of a firm belief in the ultimate justice of God, the universe and of the law. But when revenge is justifiable, then the abused have the right to abuse and the enslaved to enslave. Killing for a noble cause is like saying to someone: I love you so much. I want to kill for you, or kill you, or kill myself. All this love and all this killing, and without seeing any contradiction in terms. Forgetting all along that preserving one’s life and the very much loved one’s life, intact physically and morally, is the noble cause after all. Only when we start rationalizing to ourselves and to others, that while all people die some earn to die, we are simply deluding ourselves as to the nobility of causes.

With too many noble causes and too much killing, and with no heeding to laws, including unwritten ethical laws that precede all other laws, Palestinian and Israeli societies have regressed to societies of revenge and primitivism. Israel is more shocked by young Israeli soldiers who refuse to betray their humanity by serving in the occupied territories, than by young Israeli soldiers who have no qualms about crushing people, buildings, and everything else in the way of their tanks. Palestinians, apart from wanting to end the occupation and the humiliation that goes with it, want to revenge all those: “not a massacre”, not land grabbing, not assassinations and everything else Israel is “not” doing.

At this stage of the Palestinian Israeli conflict, it is not even enough to “look in the mirror”. It is important that when we look in that mirror, what we see is ourselves, and not an image we have created of ourselves.

Whenever a child says, “this is unfair”, an adult tells him to stop whining because “life is unfair”. The thing is, abuse is unfair, racism is unfair, killing is unfair, and unfair is unfair. Must we stop saying that they are because they are, and because life is? A child knows what he is talking about, until an adult comes along and corrupts that innate knowledge. May be if we listen more to children, especially the ones under five and before they lose their wisdom; there would be less racism, less blackmailing parents, and less adults confused between loyalty to family and loyalty to their humanity. And maybe we would have fewer people wondering why should Palestinians with decades of occupation, few wars and everlasting conflict “whine” and want to be able to dine? How can the Palestinians who are repeatedly given the “opportunities” to either leave or die or live in limbo stop “whining”? Is occupation or loss of dignity something that can be forgotten or brushed off?

Except for the original Israeli thinking of having a conflict with no other party to the conflict, there is nothing new under the sun. True, There is no such a thing as the biggest or the last human tragedy. We equal our tragedies. But that there is ‘nothing new under the sun’ does not make life any easier for those living within close range of its rays. If people ever accepted injustice, because it is as old as humanity, humanity would have died and not of old age, but at birth. It just so happens, that the fight against injustice is as old. The Palestinians are not being obnoxious. They just want to keep up the human tradition of resisting injustice.