As I approach my last week in Palestine and my internship with the Welfare Association comes to a close, I thought it would be a good idea to focus my final posts on the future.
As I have said before, I envision a future where Israelis and Palestinians live together. I envision a future without discrimination and where we have equal rights as citizens. I envision a future where people are proud to be Palestinian and proud of their Jewish neighbours, where we have a government representing both Palestinians and Israelis, where synagogues, mosques and churches stand side by side and people speak both Arabic and Hebrew. It is about time Israelis and Palestinians recognize we can never get rid of each other.
Arguments about history and who has rightful claims to the land are not going to get us anywhere. In 10 years, 20 years, 50 years down the line, these details won’t matter anymore. The real question we should be asking ourselves is how we can ease the life of future generations – our children, our grandchildren and their children.
What can we do today to help the children of tomorrow?
Just as Palestinians have had a tragic history, Jews have had an even worse one. They have been expelled from more than 100 countries around the world since AD250 and have been persecuted much longer than we ever have. In the end Jews are our cousins and there is a lot of ground for cooperation and understanding if we change our perception of things.
It is very clear to me that we have a lot of potential. Did you know the Palestinian people hold one of the highest numbers of PHDs in the world?
The insecurity of not having a homeland should be the driving force behind our hard work and motivation. As Palestinians, we should strive to be the best and work harder than anybody else. Working hard is particularly important for us because without money, power and influence we will not get anywhere. We will never gain our rights and independence and we will never have a homeland (albeit in Israel, Palestine or whatever you want to call the country).
We cannot keep viewing ourselves as victims and blame all of our problems on the occupation. For the Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Israel, the ones who continue to live and breathe the occupation everyday, their existence alone is a powerful form of resistance and I would say continue to do what you are doing. You are what is keeping the Palestinian population from fizzling out and resisting against the racist Israeli state that is ethnically cleansing the region of non-Jews.
For the Palestinian diaspora, the ones who live outside of the country and who do not have restrictions placed upon them, you are free to excel and I believe the future of Palestine is in your hands. We are emotionally detached from the situation because we have not had to experience the humiliation and hardships of living under the Israeli occupation everyday. Let us work together to stop this purely Jewish state Bibi is trying to create. Lets show the world it is in everyone’s benefit for Israelis and Palestinians to be on the same side.
I urge the Palestinian diaspora to learn more about the situation and to teach other people about what is going on. We have to realize we cannot expect change to happen but we have to create this change. I urge people to come and visit Palestine and to see for yourself what the media hides from you. That is when you will truly understand the power of propaganda.
We have to be the ones to build the bridges for future generations to walk on, we cannot expect someone else to build them for us. Certainly we have a tough mission ahead of us and that is to fight for the rights of the non-Jews in Palestine. We must open our arms to anyone wanting to help fight for our cause, whether they are Jews against the Israeli state, Americans, Europeans, Africans – anyone willing to stand with us and fight against racism.
The Palestinians living in Israel and holding Israeli citizenship, those that have had to live among the Jews are living proof that it can be done. When I went to Jaffa, my friend and I had lunch at a fish restaurant called the Old Man and the Sea where the waiters spoke English, Arabic and Hebrew fluently. I had a Palestinian family sitting on my left, foreigners on my right and Israelis sat in front of me. I did not know this even existed!
I know it takes a lot of strength to accept the reality of the situation, but once more people are able to do this we will be able to think clearly about the future of our people. I have heard a lot of people here tell me how they do not recognize the state of Israel (both old and young) but unfortunately Israel does exist and it is not going anywhere.
If we are ever to move forward, acceptance of Israel’s existence is the first step. Of course I know this is easier said than done, especially for those who have had to live under the injustices of the occupation and can see how Israel is destroying Palestinian life and the lives of millions of refugees. Of course we all feel frustrated and angry and rightly so, but if all of us thought this way we will never move forward.
All I ask is that when you think about the future of Palestine, think realistically and practically and 50 years down the line. Don’t think of next year or 2 years time. In the end, there is no point fighting a losing battle. Lets fight the battles we can win – like fighting for our rights, fighting for our independence. The first step in moving forward is acceptance so we can then think clearly about what is it that we really want.
What I personally see that is most needed here is for people to be able to live in peace. All the non-Jews living in Israel and Palestine deserve the same rights and freedoms as the Israelis have. There is no difference between the two. We all bleed the same colour, don’t we?
I read these words on the apartheid wall in Bethlehem and have not been able to forget them since:
‘We remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of ours friends.’
Please stand with us against the racist Israeli state and open your eyes to the realities of the situation. Everything the media feeds you is propaganda at its finest.
Just look at what happened to me in the past week. My facebook and email accounts were hacked three times this week from IP addresses in Russia, the US and Palestine. I couldn’t add extra security measures or change my password. An hour after posting my blog on my mother’s facebook wall, someone then tried to hack into her account. Anyone else who has been criticizing Israel had a similar experience?
Seems to me like I am getting my message across and hitting a sensitive nerve with the right people. Lets stand together and not give in to this intimidation. Lets show them that we cannot be silenced. Please like and share my blog!