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Israel's other war: Silencing Palestinian citizens

Despite all my years of coexistence camps with Jewish Israelis, I’m starting to lose sight of peace. How can there be peace when Israel does nothing to stop the violent attacks against its Palestinian citizens?

By Shadan Jabareen

I had just finished my second year at Tel Aviv University and wanted to remain in the city for the summer to work, so I applied for a job at a bookshop in Ben Gurion Airport in late June; they needed employees. The operations coordinator was impressed with my fluency in Arabic, Hebrew and English, so we scheduled an interview. After explaining the requirements of the job, she told me: “First, we have to do a security check. You’re an Arab Muslim, so your check will probably take longer than usual.” This came as no surprise to me; after all, I have 21 years of experience living in Israel. A week later the Israeli offensive on Gaza erupted and I received an email from the coordinator telling me, “Sorry we have too many employees. We are not going to hire you for the moment; we will contact you in two weeks when there is a position available.” I never heard from her again.

I am a U.S.-born Palestinian Muslim living in Israel, my great-grandparents lived in the Palestinian village of Al-Lajjun that was depopulated in May 1948 by the Israeli army. They fled the village and settled in Umm El-Fahm, a town that became a symbol of political resistance for Palestinians living in Israel. I grew up in a Jewish town with my family before moving to Umm El-Fahem. I was two years old when my parents applied to live in the Jewish town of Katzir; they thought we would have more opportunities there and a calmer environment away from the noise of Umm El-Fahm’s ghettos. Their application was rejected; the committee had decided that no Arabs would live in their town.

Policemen detain a young, right-wing protester during Tuesday night's clashes in Jerusalem. (photo: Activestills)

Policemen detain a young, right-wing protester during clashes in Jerusalem that erupted following the discovery of the bodies of three teenaged settlers near Halhul, West Jerusalem, July 1, 2014. The riots broke out during the funerals of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, who were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank. (photo: Activestills)

My father decided to fight for our right to be treated equally and not to be discriminated against. We ultimately won the case and lived there for eight years. When I was old enough to understand what Arab and Jewish meant, my father told me: “I did this for you because I want you to know you have rights, and that no one can take them away from you.”

I spent half of my life in coexistence summer camps, where Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel met to discuss the conflict and tried to find ways of connecting, despite our differences. At the core of these camps is the importance of listening to and understanding “the other side” in order to promote dialogue and reconciliation. I’ve participated in every possible peace-building project there is. My brothers and sister went to an Arab-Jewish school. The eldest of them goes to a Jewish boarding school and he just got back from California, where he attended a peace-building camp for Palestinians, Israelis and Americans called Hands of Peace.

Until now I’ve been really hopeful about the future of this land – too hopeful, perhaps – and have been certain that the conflict would someday end. The growing hatred and recent waves of racism I’ve witnessed in Israel over the past six weeks – both from the government and the streets – have exposed the true face, apparently, of the so-called coexistence here in Israel. That face is nasty, racist and refutes the existence of the “Other.” It does not accept that I am Palestinian. The truth is that I’m scared; I’ve never seen this kind of hatred in my life. I’ve been discriminated against before, like all Arabs here in Israel; I was even strip-searched at the airport for imposing an alleged “security risk” at the age of 19. But this time it is worse – more explicit, much more violent, and widespread.

When I have “discussions” with Israelis about the political situation they inevitably tell me to “go to Gaza, go to Syria,” and that I “should say thank you” that they even let me live here. Every time I enter into these discussions I am asked to leave my home and to thank my occupier for having me here; I have to be a good Arab – either I say thank you or I remain silent.

Not even academia is safe. At Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Arab students received death threats, hateful slogans were sprayed in dormitories calling for “Death to Arabs. Long live Israel.” Numerous Facebook pages have recently been to publish the personal information of Palestinian citizens of Israel who expressed solidarity with Palestine and Gaza; opinions that do not fit the Israeli consensus. A campaign was launched to locate Palestinian students from Tel Aviv University who expressed opposition to Israel’s latest assault on Gaza and then have them expelled from the university. The fact that these Israeli students felt comfortable enough to target us and threaten our right to education is deeply worrying.

Israeli policemen arrest protesters as Palestinians living in Israel and left wing activists protest against the Israeli attack on Gaza in down town Haifa, July 18, 2014. Israeli police arrested 28 activists, as protesters took the streets and blocked roads calling to put an end to the attack. (Fiaz abu-Ramele/Activestills.org)

Israeli policemen arrest protesters as Palestinians living in Israel and left wing activists protest against the Israeli attack on Gaza in down town Haifa, July 18, 2014. Israeli police arrested 28 activists, as protesters took the streets and blocked roads calling to put an end to the attack. (Fiaz abu-Ramele/Activestills.org)

Meanwhile, in the work place Arab employees are targeted as well; those who called Israel a “terrorist state” and Netanyahu a “war criminal” were fired during Operation Protective Edge. One such person is a medical resident who condemned IDF soldiers for their “massacre in Gaza.” He was suspended from his job.

While at the same time many Israelis have expressed happiness over the death of Palestinians in Gaza, wishing for more “terrorists” to die. Yet no one is condemning or firing them. They act with impunity because nobody will stop them. The Israeli police have arrested Arabs for mere Facebook statuses; peaceful demonstrators have been arrested and denied their right to protest. A total of 350 protesters have been charged by the Israeli police since early July. None are Jewish. Furthermore, in the Israeli media’s coverage of these protests we are always portrayed as violent rioters, but never simply as protesters.

I think about all my years at those coexistence summer camps, about the way I was raised to accept others and respect their different opinions, about the vision of peace and living together, and for the first time I feel like there is no hope – even the word peace is starting to sound to me like some naive and unachievable utopian idea.

“Promoting dialogue” was at the core of all those peace camps I attended; we learned that understanding someone else’s pain promotes dialogue, that to express your opinion and then listen to someone else’s is called dialogue. Unfortunately Israel is proving to be a dialogue-free country, and like so many Palestinians living here in Israel, I am now paralyzed by fear, frustration and sadness. How can there be peace when a country that claims to be democratic silences and discriminates against a minority that constitutes 20.7% of the population? How can there be peace when this country does nothing to stop the violent attacks against us?

Sadly, despite all my years of coexistence camps with Jewish Israelis, I’m starting to lose sight of peace; it seems to me it is only moving further out of reach.

Shadan Jabareen is a 21-year-old psychology and English literature student at Tel Aviv University. She is from Umm El-Fahm and currently lives in Tel Aviv.

Related:
Kidnappings leave a wake of ‘revenge,’ racist violence
Not just escalation: A frightening new era of Jewish-Arab relations in Israel
Why Palestinian citizens of Israel are no longer safe

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Pedro X

      Boo hoo. A person who calls himself a Palestinian living in Israel gets the cold shoulder for identifying with his terrorist brothers and sisters in Gaza and not the country in which he lives.

      If things are so bad in Israel, Shadan is free to leave and go to Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon or the Islamic State where he would feel a bond with people of like mind. No one is forcing him to stay or go. He is free to make his own decision, which very few Arabs in other countries have.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ian

        I notice the article was wasted on you; you are incapable of understanding what you read and incapable of empathy. FYI Shaban is female.

        Reply to Comment
      • Freedom

        Wow the arrogance and immorality of zionists is astounding. First you steal her land, forcing her family and others to flee under threat of execution, then when she voices legitimate complaints against racism and the genocidal state practises you say ‘if you dont like it leave’. This to a person hopeful of integration and a peaceful future. How about you go back to Poland or Russian or whatever European country your ancestors hail from? One day the shoe will be on the other foot and you or your children will understand what its like to be powerless and I hope for your sake that you are not treated the same racist way israel treats the Arabs. I would have thought that Jews would have learnt that lesson from WW2 but I guess not. Not the majority anyways. I applaud all Jews israeli or otherwise who stand up against these attrocities performed by the israeli government.

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          “First you steal her land”

          She is a US born Muslim who now lives in Israel. What American land of hers did Israel steal? It is more likely that she lived on stolen aboriginal land.

          Maybe you are referring to her grandparents and great grandparents who abandoned their homes in 1948 and decided to flee with the Egyptian army. They made war with Israel and lost. Every Israeli village which was conquered was utterly destroyed and depopulated of Jewish men, women and children. Did the Arabs who waged a war of genocide against the Jews think there was no consequence of fighting and losing an existential war.

          In the fallout of the war, Kibbutz Meggiddo was built over the ruins of Al-Lajjun. Gaza and the West Bank, including the old city, were made Judenrein. These were the vicissitudes of war.

          Ms. Jabereen should be thankful that Israel allowed her parents to remain in Israel after the Arab attempt at genocide.

          Reply to Comment
          • JG

            And you clown referring your claim on the land to some Jewish losers who lost against the Romans and had to leave. Some thousand years ago, So back up, clown

            Reply to Comment
      • Mad Kent

        Your response if almost cartoonish.

        As pointed out, the author is a woman. And in response to her expression of fear and vulnerability about the political situation, almost comically you parroted what she says people say to her when she expresses her fear and vulnerability about the political situation.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Whiplash

      Mr. Jabereen should look over at Gaza and see how Hamas handles those who do not support the cause. Today and yesterday Hamas killed 21 suspected collaborators. Hamas pulled 6 out of a mosque, abused them and then shot them in the street. 30 such collaborators were killed in July.

      Hundreds of Fatah supporters have been put under house arrests and a number of them have been shot and injured. There were pictures on a German website showing Hamas beating and arresting protestors in July.

      Yesterday and today Jewish preschools, kindergartens and synagogue have been targeted by Hamas. Have you gone and protested Hamas’ actions and Israelis’ right of self defense against such actions?

      Reply to Comment
      • Under your logic, the US could do whatever it wants to Hispanics (mostly from Mexico) so long as some Mexican nationals are treated worse in their home country. Under your logic, Jews may be treated badly, even if citizens, so long as some Jews somewhere are be treated worse.

        You have no concept of general citizenship at all, nor of rights. Rights are absolute. You don’t receive rights because you protest national-correctly on other issues. You have the right because the State is mandated to protect it; indeed, in the West, the State exists in large part to secure rights.

        You prove Shadan’s point: she is not a citizen because she is Arab. But she is a citizen, granted such, perhaps over your objection, by the State. I don’t even believe you hold citizenship identically for Jews alone, for you would turn towards urging correct performance of citizenship even there. Correct, happy life is correct racial participation. You do realize this has been said before your time.

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          She is an American citizen, not an Israeli citizen. She is a guest in the country. Second, the government has not stripped her of any rights. Third, if she wishes to express opinions concerning the political situation, Israelis have the right to express their opinions of what they think of her and tell her to go to hell, if they wish.

          Reply to Comment
          • It is not clear to me that she is not an Israeli citizen; you may mistake point of birth for exclusion of citizenship. Jabareen could resolve the matter, but she may well not be reading these comments any longer. But the content you express is regularly projected onto Arab Israeli citizens, as I think you are aware.

            As to uniformly expressed rights, one of her points is that the arrest and detention of Arab Israelis suggests less than equal expression, which would constitute a partial stripping of rights by the State. And, as you well know, your Foreign Minister has repeatedly called for the corporate stripping of citizenship of Arab Israelis living in the Triangle, whether or not these citizens agree. This proposal would constitute a complete loss of equal protection under law. And, yes, I am aware it is only a proposal. Yet such a move against constitutional democracy in most Western countries by one holding the senior post of Foreign Minister would have clear political consequence; in Israel, the PM held the FM portfolio until Lieberman’s court case was resolved (in his favour)–hardly a sanction, that. Statements such as Lieberman’s set the stage for abuse as applied under stress–including the present war stress. On the matter at hand, statements like “Go live in Gaza” or “Syria” are quite common. They show no respect for the principle of rights protection. You can say them, yes. But they do not adhere to a constitutional principle of equal protection, rather being an attack against those claiming present violations of equal protection.

            Intimidation of those opposed to the national right is quite well known. Yes, you can say “go to hell.” But, as she points out, lesser statements have resulted in life consequence for some Arab Israelis.

            I conclude that your core position is, nicely said, all Israelis are equal under the law, but some are more equal than others.

            Reply to Comment
    3. CigarButNoNice

      “They fled the village and settled in Umm El-Fahm, a town that became a symbol of political resistance for Palestinians living in Israel.”

      Yeah, that’s the mistake made in 1947–9, leaving the illegal Arab settlement of Umm El-Fahm and so many others standing “for good behavior” (“Thank you for not joining your brothers in the war of extermination against us”), thinking the Arab colonists would be grateful to us for ever for that. And now there’s a 20% fifth column of Arab colonists within Israel’s pre-1967 borders, without saying about Israel’s total neglect of its duty in the post-1967 lands.

      The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people; Jews shouldn’t expect the Arab colonists to be happy with any sort of life under the indigenous people whose land they want to steal, no matter how better the conditions and political rights they have in comparison to the rest of the Arab world. The only formula for a last, viable and just peace, therefore, is to empty the Land of Israel of Arab settler-colonists (to be moved to any of 20+ Arab states of their choosing) and fill it with its people, the Jews. No justice, no peace!

      Reply to Comment
      • alex

        @CigarButNoNice

        Well, I am a Jew, served in the army and consider myself right-wing.

        And I say you’re a moron.

        Jesiwh colonies should be moved out of the territories, and only the army left there for the protection, for assurance of non-agression from the palestinian state. The world should see we have no interest in the palestinian land, and only in that there won’t be agression from there.

        I don’t understand why they were put there on the first place.

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          They were not placed there. They voluntarily moved there in accordance with the rights given to them by 1) the unanimous will of the international community expressed by the League of Nations’ Mandate for Palestine, 2) their historical rights and 3) their land rights before they were expelled from Judea and Samaria and part of Jerusalem in 1948.

          Are you suggesting that Jews have no right to live in Atarot, Psagot, French Hill, Mount Scopus, Gilo, Har Homa and the old city? How about Maale Adumim, Etzion Block, Shiloh?

          Reply to Comment
        • CigarButNoNice

          “Well, I am a Jew, served in the army and consider myself right-wing.”

          Maybe. On the Internets, nobody knows you’re a dog.

          “Jesiwh colonies…”

          And I say you’re either a Leftist traitor or an extremely foolish naif, judging by your use of the term “Jewish colonies” in reference to Jewish population centers on the Land of Israel. A true right-wing Israeli Jewish Zionist could never consider the Jews as colonizers of their one and only indigenous plot of land in the world.

          “The world should see we have no interest in the palestinian land,…”

          That’s what Sharon and his leftist supporters said just before August 2005: Evacuate the post-1967 holdings and then, if the Arabs dare attack the pre-1967 territories from there, we’d have the full backing of the world for any sort of retaliation. Cast Lead showed how things really went.

          And so it would be if Israel were to abandon Judea and Samaria: The conflict would then be about “equal rights” for the Arabs in pre-1967 Israel (read: the Lebanonization of the remaining Jewish state), and any attempt to quash an intifada in the pre-1967 territories, not to mention attacks from the abandoned post-1967 holdings (rockets on Natbag, anyone?), would be met with the same barrage of ferocious world condemnation.

          “I don’t understand why they were put there on the first place.”

          What I don’t understand is why the Arab colonists were allowed to stay instead of being sent packing (to Jordan) when the Jewish state retook Judea and Samaria in 1967. That was truly a weeping for generations. Probably our leaders then were as stupid as you.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ray

            “Traitor! Traitor! You’re nothing but a double-eyed democrat!”

            -Adenoid Hynkel, “The Great Dictator”

            Reply to Comment
    4. Richard

      When a society’s social and economic viability is threatened – by the shelling of its most important city and only international airport – that society will panic. Unfortunately, the reaction may involve frightening behavior. Its morally correct to feel bad for people, like the author, who are on the receiving end of abuse, but under the circumstances Israelis are behaving very well, at compared to, e.g. Americans after 9/11.

      Reply to Comment
    5. David

      Ms. Jabareen poignantly addresses the fault lines in Israel today. Similarly, some of the responses equally reflect the abject racism infecting some, or perhaps most Israeli Jews. As an American Jew trying to cling to the belief in a two state solution I find it abhorrent to read of the racism Palestinians in Israel are forced to endure. There is no excuse for it. Don’t blame it on war. Don’t blame it on Hamas. Don’t blame it on resistance to occupation. There is no excuse. One of the inevitable consequences of the Israeli occupation is the dehumanization of the Palestinians. Ending the occupation and fighting against racism are the only responses.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ben Zakkai

      The trouble, Shadan, is that most Jewish Israelis don’t regard you as human. They don’t want to know you, and they’re utterly incapable of imagining how they might feel in your shoes. It’s a total empathy failure. Just look at some of the talkbacks to your article. As far as Yossi Israeli is concerned, you can shut up or leave. Would they approve of New Jersey kicking out its Jews and saying, “Hey, you can live in New York, there are lots of Jews there!”? Of course not. But that’s what they want to do to you.

      I’m Jewish and Israeli and painfully appalled by the shameless, cruel tribalism of most Jewish Israelis. And, like you, I’ve just about given up hope on this place. I don’t think coexistence camps are going to do any good. More likely, there will be a lot more blood spilled here, on all sides and most of it innocent, before people wise up.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “Would they approve of New Jersey kicking out its Jews and saying, “Hey, you can live in New York, there are lots of Jews there!”?”

        The sad fact is that New Jersians would do even worse to Jews if Jews as a people would do to New Jersey what Arabs have been doing to Israelis for at least 100 years.

        Having said that, racism IS abhorent, be it the racism of Jews against Arabs or the racism of Arabs against Jews. Yes, the latter happens too. I ain’t kidding anyone. The racism of Arabs against Jews is, let me try and be balanced, just as vicious.

        My problem is that articles like this don’t mention that fact. Neither do commeners who support articles like this. Therefore they both lose credibility as far as I am concerned.

        Here is a suggestion: wanna fight racism? Then condemn racism PERIOD. The racism of ARABS just as much as the racism of JEWS.

        Reply to Comment
    7. mahmoud kassab mahameed

      well shadan , i`m not sure if you have to say ” sadly , it seems to me it is only moving further out of reach. ”
      you are trying to stand in the center – left side of the political view as an palestinian while the overwhelming majority of jewish people in israel are reaching the most right side they can ever stand on it . so , we have to stop say ” sadly ” , we have to reach the rightest side of this case . we have to know that we are strong enough to fight without being a “good people”.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Danny

      Dear Shadan:

      I think what is happening in Israel today is no accident, and that the strife we see between Jews and Arabs has been meticulously engineered over the last few years. There is no hope for Jewish-Arab co-existence in Israel because Israeli Jews never really wanted any real co-existence with Arabs.

      The most that Jews have ever been willing to concede to their Arab neighbors is a kind of segregated existence, of the kind that existed in the American south until around the late 60′s, where Arabs do the manual labor that Jews refuse to do, and at the end of the day, disappear back to their villages.

      When the Arabs in Israel refuse to submit to this Jim Crow type arrangement, and attempt to break through the non-glass ceiling that has been put over their heads, the reaction of the supremacists is plain and natural: The reinstitution of the ceiling at all costs.

      I left Israel 6 years ago because I felt that I was living in a place that resembled too much places where Jews were made to feel inferior through systematic discrimination (only in reverse, of course). I see no future for this country because zionism will never allow for true co-existence between Jews and Arabs. And, as we can plainly see today, most of Israel’s populace is firmly zionist.

      I can only offer you words of encouragement and hope, that you and your people will know better times in your native land. Perhaps one day, Jews will come to realize what folly their zionist worldview is based on, and begin to embrace a more just approach to co-existence with their Palestinian neighbors.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Tomer

      Shadan’s first mistake was to believe the BS propaganda that she is a “Fakestinyan”. No such nation-state ever existed in history. If the p people are real, then:

      1. Where was its capital?
      2. What was its currency called?
      3. Who was its 1st King?
      4. Where was their parliament?

      The whole thing is a fraud, a sham, and a misrepresntation of history.

      When you start off with a BIG LIE about your own ethnic identity, you then find yourself telling more lies to cover up your 1st lie. This has being done for 80 years or so.

      That’s why their so-called “narrative” is imploding & falling apart.

      Reply to Comment
    10. David

      Tome,
      To put it bluntly, you’re an idiot. Nationhood, among several ingredients, is ultimately a function of consciousness forged by historical conditions; a shared language, identity, territorial aspirations, etc…Do oppressed people forfeit their rights because Bismarck did not provide territorial boundaries? Your dismissal of Palestinians is nothing more than an acceptance of colonialism.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “Nationhood, among several ingredients, is ultimately a function of consciousness forged by historical conditions; a shared language, identity, territorial aspirations, etc…”

        Yea right. So how come so many Arabs, I would say the majority, struggle so much with the idea of Israel?

        Did I say struggle? I should have said, vehemently reject the nation state of the Jewish people.

        This is the hypocrisy of the left. They fight tooth and nail for “Palestine” but they deny our right to self determination and call us colonialists in the land of our ancestors. Sickening hypocrisy.

        Reply to Comment
        • David

          As it is blatant hypocrisy for Jews, who claim (correctly) the right to a nation- state the same right to the people of Palestine. As it is blatant hypocrisy for Israelis to refuse to negotiate with Hamas until they recognize Israel while there are a whole lot of people in the leadership of the Knesset who reject statehood for the Palestinians.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “As it is blatant hypocrisy for Jews …”

            If truth be known, wherever there are human beings there has always been hypocrisy.

            Nothing wrong in identifying it wherever you see it but at least be even handed. But what do some Jews do? Including you David? You have gone over to the other side. You want to out Arab the Arabs or the non Jewish extreme lefties, you compete with them to point out splinters in our eyes while you miss logs in the eyes of the Arabs and their fanatical leftist supporters.

            Take this writer for example. She is a Palestinian Arab. She knows full well that there is at least as much anti Jewish racism in her society as anti Arab racism in our society and I dare say, maybe even more in hers.

            But did she take a balanced approach? Did she speak out against racism in general? Racism in Palestinian Arab society and Arab societies in general? Not a bit. To me that makes her motive suspicious. She is being tribal not a humanist. And what do you and people like you do? You are vying for the Darwin awards. You go 100% against your own people.

            I know why you guys are doing it. You are doing it because we humans are a herd animal. It is much harder to go out on a limb and fight wrongs alone, be it Jewish or Arab wrongs. It is much easier to go along with the herd. And you too have chosen your herd. What you consider to be the numerically stronger herd, the Arab, Islamic, extreme leftist, Neo Nazi type herd. Careful though. If you get your collective way, which I don’t think you will, but if you do, in time, at the end of it, they will dig out your Jewishness and they will rub your nose in it. It happened before in history ..,,,,

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “…blatant hypocrisy for Israelis to refuse to negotiate with Hamas”

            See what I mean David? This is an outright falsehood. This sentence implies that if only we would negotiate with Hamas, all would be good.

            But this is reality: Hamas will not negotiate with us. Certainly not face to face and certainly not with the aim of resolving the conflict to make peace.

            The most they are willing to do is negotiate about specific issues of importance to them at any given time (like prisoner release or lifting the blockade) which would give them whatever advantage to get them closer to their final goals. Namely, taking over all of the land, including Israel. And even then, they are unwilling to negotiate with us face to face for fear of giving the signal that by doing so, they would give the impression that they are willing to recognize us.

            Reply to Comment
    11. Tomer

      Nobody can answer my questions about the nature of Fakestine – see above.

      Why?

      Because the whole concept is bogus.

      Reply to Comment
    12. bor

      All people should be treated with respect and dignity.

      Most Israelis treat Arab Israelis with respect and dignity. Some do not and, unfortunately, their expressions of hatred have become more pronounced during this war.

      At the same time, Arab Israelis need to look at some of their population and particularly their leadership. Unlike all other Arabs in the Middle East, Israel’s Arabs, Christians, Muslims, Druze, Bedouin, enjoy freedoms, rights and a quality of life the others can only dream about. The reason they can enjoy this is that for decades Israeli men, mostly Jewish and some Druze and Bedouin, have had to go to war, leaving their wives and children behind and risking and giving up lives and limbs. Thousands have been killed in these wars and just in the recent Gaza operation another 64 lost lives and 500 were injured.

      The least Israeli Arabs could do during this period is remain respectful of the sacrifice being made by these fighters. Instead, many have become mouthpieces for Hamas and Fatah, who attack Israel in the streets and in the media. Perhaps if Israelis whose children, brothers, husbands and fathers have to go to war so that Shadan and her town could live in security and freedom didn’t have to hear chants and ugly claims against these fighters, then some of the ugly pushback she is outlining here would not take place at all. You have to decide whether you are partners or enemies, whether you are citizens in full standing or a fifth column with your elected representatives flying to visit suspected spies during wartime.

      Here’s an idea: Shadan should organize a group of Israeli Arabs who seek ideal co-existence and create a national service project which serves Israel. For example, they could seek to help the rehabilitation of injured soldiers. Imagine how far that would go toward promoting co-existence!

      Reply to Comment
      • Mandy

        Thankyou Shadan for writing in such a way. I read so many comments filled with words like ‘moron’ ‘idiot’ and comments used to humiliate, intimidate and attack a person opposed to the way Israel is conducting themselves. I am sure Palestinians are also guilty of this, but lately all I am seeing on ‘open forums’ are people being attacked if they oppose what is happening to the Palestinians. I live in Australia and I am seeing that a lot of people are writing in such hateful ways to attack another persons point of view (mainly being if that other person wants to express their support for the Palestinians) that it scares me to think that their children are going to grow up learning that its ok to speak in rascist and derrogatory ways when trying to put forward your view. I was born in Ramallah, migrated to Australia when I was 5 and was never taught to hate ‘jews’ and never heard my parents speak in such rascist ways as I am now hearing people talk on internet forums against and about Palestinians. My grandparents lost their home and land and had to flee to another village because of the Israeli’s and yet I still dont hear hatred and rascism in the way that my family speaks. I am sure if someone in Austalia had their home and land taken and experienced daily life of being a ‘second class’ citizen, then we would see the natural ‘human’ behaviour that results from this. All humans are the same essentially…..we all wouldnt accept being treated unequally…..again, thankyou for writing in such a way.

        Reply to Comment
        • Dr K

          Mandy, I too am saddened by the treatment of Shadan. I would, however, like to remind you that hundred of thousands of indigenous Australians have had their homes taken from them and are treated as ‘third class citizens’ in their own country. I believe this explains why the Australian government on both sides of the political divide has proved so anti-Palestinian. The same can be said of Canada and, of course, the US. All of them defending the indefensible.

          Reply to Comment
    13. RICK

      Reading these comments by Israelis and Israel supporters reflect how deeply the disinformation of propaganda in Israel has reached. “The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people” typifies it. Just bringing persecuted Europeans to a country inhabited by indigenous people does not make the colonists indigenous, and neither does it make the land belong to them- biblical claims notwithstanding. Since when does a modern thinking person base a claim of anything on the bible? Nonsense and horse feathers. And, by the way, Hamas has publicly stated for years and in Arabic that it is willing to sit down and negotiate and sign a long term truce with Israel. It’s charter has nonsense about recognition of Israel, true, and although Israel signed Oslo it has not ceded an inch of land to implement it but rather poured almost a half million settlers in to scuttle it. You can’t build illegal settlements, jail elected official, rule with the heavy hand and complain about the results of resistance. All that stuff about how good the Druze have it is nonsense too; do they have equality? That is the main question.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        You don’t believe the Bible huh, Rick? Then how about this?

        “Now in the collection of the Egyptian Museum at Cairo, the stele is a black granite slab, over 3 meters (10 feet) high, and the inscription says it was carved in the 5th year of Merneptah of the 19th dynasty. Most of the text glorifies Merneptah’s victories over enemies from Libya and their Sea People allies, but the final two lines mention a campaign in Canaan, where Merneptah says he defeated and destroyed Ashkalon, Gezer, Yanoam and Israel.”

        Will that convince you that we were here before your Arabs?

        There are many other archeological discoveries that confirm the same thing. Do a bit of research before shooting your mouth off and claiming that we can only justify our presence here because of the bible. Not that even that would not be good enough because many things in the Bible are corroborated by historical facts.

        Oh and don’t worry about the thousands of Israeli Jews who can trace their ancestry back to Judea (which the Romans conquered 2000 years ago, as evidenced in inscriptions in Roman artifacts in Rome) because some Jews never left this land.

        Reply to Comment
    14. RICK

      Jews having lived in Palestine does not equate to all Jews having lineage from there. Judaism was a proselytizing religion for several hundred years, particularly around the Roman Empire. By 70AD there were more Jews living outside Palestine than inside. The Eastern European Jews descend from Turkic tribes on the Russian steppe, not Palestine. Even if all Jews had been “expelled” by the Romans in 70AD, which did not happen, by the way, it does not mean that they have some divine right to “come back” and throw other indigenous people off their land and brutalize them just because empires, including the current hegemon, the U.S., gives them the weapons and political backing to do it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        “Jews having lived in Palestine does not equate to all Jews having lineage from there.”

        Yes but the inverse is true too. Just because Jews did not live in Palestine for 2000 years it does not mean that they don’t have lineage to old Israel/Judea. In fact, on balance of probability, most of us do.

        “Judaism was a proselytizing religion for several hundred years, particularly around the Roman Empire.”

        Even if true which it isn’t necessarily so, the Roman era was way before the Arabs arrived. And once others converted to Judaism, they were Jews. Your point does not have any relevance to your claims.

        “By 70AD there were more Jews living outside Palestine than inside.”

        So? That is totally irrelevant. Judea was a land which belonged to the Jews, way before the Arab invasion of 634 AD.

        “The Eastern European Jews descend from Turkic tribes on the Russian steppe, not Palestine.”

        Utter nonsense.

        “Even if all Jews had been “expelled” by the Romans in 70AD, which did not happen, by the way, it does not mean that they have some divine right to “come back”

        Only in your feverish mind we haven’t got that right. We have as much right as all the other ‘Johnny come lately’ invaders who followed us, including your Arabs, to come back to OUR ancestral homeland and to redeem our lands.

        “and throw other indigenous people off their land”

        We did not come to throw anyone off their land. We came to live along side them as voted by UN resolution 181. One Jewish state one Arab state. There was plenty of room for both people to have their own state.

        “and brutalize them”

        We only brutalised them after they brutalized us.

        “just because empires, including the current hegemon, the U.S., gives them the weapons and political backing to do it.”

        Get over this myth. Back in 1948, it was the Arabs who had the advantage with the weapons. They had heavy artillery, tanks and planes. We had virtually nothing at least at the early stages of the war.

        Later, while the Soviet empire existed, Egypt, Syria Iraq had just as advanced weapons from the Soviets as we did. Oh and Jordan too had western weapon suppliers. In fact, before 1967, we had no access to American weapons. Our suppliers were the French and the Brits.

        Reply to Comment
        • rick

          Refer to Shlomo Sands, Professor Tel Aviv University, his various studies. The rest of your historical assumptions are so far off the mark, particularly regarding weaponry in 48 and ’67, that when combined with your disrespectful tone, I have no interest in continuing our conversation.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “Refer to Shlomo Sands, Professor Tel Aviv University, his various studies.”

            Oh, yes, that famous extreme leftist professor and his crazy unsubstantiated theories. OK, but you in turn should refer to Harry Ostrer and his extensive genetic studies which prove that Jews are more closely linked to each other and to other people in the Levant than to Europeans.

            Not only that, but note that for at least 2000 years, Judaism has been positively against proselytizing. But even if it wouldn’t have been, why would there be mass conversion to a religion which was universally hated, despised and held in contempt throughout Europeans for the alleged crime of Deicide? Or haven’t you heard of the serial persecution of Jews in Europe?

            Having said that, we have had a trickle of converts throughout the centuries, by and large because people are people and some people fall in love with Jews and are willing to convert for love, go figure.

            “The rest of your historical assumptions are so far off the mark, particularly regarding weaponry in 48 and ’67,”

            Oh just give it a break. I told you historical facts, they are not my assumptions. Those things unfolded right in front of me in my life time and since unlike you, I don’t suffer from Alzheimers (wilfully like you), I still remember. Moreover, anyone can read any mainstream history books (as opposed to the revisionist history books which you obviously like) which back up what I said.

            “that when combined with your disrespectful tone, I have no interest in continuing our conversation.”

            Oh you poor dear. Have I been disrespectful of you? I don’t really think so. But since you want to discontinue talking to someone like me who can challenge your revisionist history, I can’t say that I mind. Nor am I shattered that I won’t have to continue educating you for free.

            Reply to Comment
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