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Response to Scheindlin: Erasing Palestinian history

A response to Dahlia Scheindlin’s piece about Mahmoud Abbas’ comments on ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.

I am going to have to totally disagree with my colleague Dahlia Scheindlin on her piece, Response to Abbas: we’ll be together in Jerusalem forever. Although I am also ignorant of the speech Abu Mazen gave in Qatar, except for what I read in the papers, Abbas was saying that Israel is instituting a policy of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, which the Israeli media framed as an attempt to deny ANY Jewish connection to the holy city.

Dahlia’s contention is that Israelis and Palestinians are fighting on the same side in a war between moderates and extremists, and that no matter what happens we will be in Jerusalem together, forever and ever.

Despite being a comforting sentiment, it is simply not true. ‘Extremist’ and ‘moderate’ alike in Israeli politics have equally perpetrated the crimes of the occupation, and it is often the most leftist among Israelis who refuse to admit that what happened in the post 1948 Israel is in complete continuity with what is taking place in the ‘occupied territories’ today. Indeed, it was the Israeli secular moderates who governed Israel uninterrupted from 1948 until 1977.

It is foolhardy to say that despite efforts at ‘Judaization’ in Jerusalem, there will always be strong Muslim and Christian links to the city. What about the 500 plus villages and towns that were wiped off the map in what is now Israel, and whose memory has been pretty much erased from history? We don’t only want a historical legacy, we want a living memory.

Shepherd Hotel in final stages of demolition. (Photo: Justin Randle)

 

It is always best to show instead of tell, so I will give an example. A friend of mine, originally from Nazareth, related a story to me a few years back from when she was a college student in the United States studying archaeology. She went home for a summer and was working on a dig in Israel. Her name is one of those ambiguous ones that could superficially pass as Jewish and she said that everyone assumed she was. At one point she was in the office of the head of the dig, who was examining a beautiful piece of Ottoman glasswork that had been dug up the day before. He turned to her and said: “Do you see this? This is not history,” at which point he tossed it over his shoulder into a pile of rubbish.

Today, Palestinian artifacts sit in Israeli museums and private homes. Books taken during the 1948 war are in Israeli libraries, while we have a resurgence of the “there is no such thing as a Palestinian” in public Western discourse. This was something that leftists like Golda Meir, and not right-wingers like Ze’ev Jabotinsky, actively pushed.

Palestine and Palestinians came very close to being wiped off the map and out of history by a deliberate campaign, in which the historical legacy of Palestinians was seen as a threat to the emergence of Israeli and Jewish claims.

As much as it is unpleasant to recognize, the longer this conflict continues the erasure of history, of buildings, of people and of memory are steadily realized and supplanted.

We can say times have changed. That today’s moderates and extremists are different from the past. But this defies reality.
“Let’s cast off the notion of a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians already, which I sometimes feel is a brilliant decoy of the far right.” says my colleague.

What kind of wishful thinking this is? Go tell that to the Palestinians in Nabi Saleh, who have their homes raided in the middle of the night, and their young children taken out of bed to have their identities checked.

This is precisely the problem. There are those Israelis who want to dismiss what is happening as a fantasy, all while the bulldozers are rolling in the background.

Those Israelis don’t like that they are being fought on both sides, from Palestinians and from the right-wingers who are steadily gaining power. So, we Palestinians should stand back, or better yet, cheer you on while you go up against them and lose, all the while our land is confiscated and our history erased. I think its time those Israelis joined the Palestinian side, and not the other way around. Forget the self-aggrandized intellectual discourse that takes place in the cafes of Tel Aviv, and immerse yourself in the reality of what is being done in your name.

 

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Laila

      Perfect… I am shocked someone like Dahlia would actually write such a thing,, makes me think she still lives in her “bubble”!

      Reply to Comment
    2. “Go tell that to the Palestinians in Nabi Saleh, who have their homes raided in the middle of the night, and their young children taken out of bed to have their identities checked.” Omar, it’s hard to see how you can interpret what I wrote as denying this. What I am trying to say, however, is that the perpetrators – the IDF, El’ad, Ateret Cohanim, who carry out the night raids and Judaization of e. Jerusalem respectively are far more remote (and yes, extreme) to me than israelis and Palestinians seeking to end the occupation and fight together for a solution with whom i feel a kinship – and I hope they accept my own forms of resistance to Israel’s policies too. It’s time for all israelis who do not feel part of their militarist/exclusionist clan to join forces with Palestinians seeking a just and peaceful resolution, because we have more in common with each other than with the thugs.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Richard Witty

      I think there is a valid criticism of Abbas’ speeches, that he was careless, to keep paths open.

      The implication of denial of historical and present Jewish presence, by ommission or less subtlely, is unnecessary and frankly harmful.

      It takes so much work to convince Israelis that Palestinians are willing to live in peace if they have equality.

      Is there a path created for co-existence, or only confrontation?

      Reply to Comment
    4. XYZ

      There are plenty of Israeli Jews who agree 100% with Omar about erasing Palestinian history. Organizations such as Zochrot come to mind. How many Palestinians are working on the other side to convince other Palestinians and the rest of the world that the Jews are an ancient people in the country and have national rights in the country as well and as Dahlia says that we are goint to have to SHARE the country and to stop viewing every move with the perspective of a zero-sum game?

      Reply to Comment
    5. @Dahlia.
      .
      What I meant by the comment, “Go tell Palestinians in Nabi Saleh…” was that in your piece you dismiss the daily reality and consequences of occupation with the comment, “let us cast off the notion of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians,” as if this conflict were a state of mind or a conflict of emotion, of hate. Indeed, this is a conflict where one side has pursued an agenda to alter facts on the ground, including the erasure of history, which have very practical consequences, even if we choose to alter how we think about them.
      .
      I am not saying that you are denying any of these implications, as I don’t believe you are. However, you are too lightly dismissing the practical realities of this conflict. The simple fact that you label in your above comment the “IDF” as a “remote” and “extreme” organization dismisses the centrality of the Israeli military in society, which is absurd. The military is probably the most central institution in Israeli society, one in which many of the writers on this site have probably served in.
      .
      While we can go through with the exercise of viewing the conflict along different terms, these institutions that form the backbone of Israeli society, and Zionist ideology, which is its driving force, continues on dispossessing.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Joel

      As someone who have judged a number of debating competitions, I have to say that Omar and Dahlia seem to be talking completely past each other.
      .
      I agree with Omar completely, that there is and has been an active campaign to eradicate Palestinian history. But this does not in any way diminish the fact that you have both in past and present strong divisions between people who have sought peace and justice and people who have not. Of course, as Omar writes, this has changed over history and not all politicians have been able to deliver – both Israeli and Palestinian. But I’m sure Nusseibeh and Ayalon have more in common than Nusseibeh and Hanay or Ayalon and Netanyahu, for example… As do I find much more in common with Arabs and Palestinians who genuinely wants to see an end to the conflict than I do with Jews and Israelis who don’t.
      .
      So, while I can understand that Dahlia’s peace is a good excuse to remind people that there is a campaign to refuse Palestninian history, I see this also as a prime example of the destructive polarizing effect disputes about history, symbols and identity has, especially when it comes to Jerusalem and writings regarding it; the very point I think Dahlia wanted to make.
      .
      Omar writes that, “I think its time those Israelis joined the Palestinian side, and not the other way around.” – But it is not either or. The narratives in this conflicts wants us to think so, but in reality people’s identities are composed of many many many more pieces that all have the potential to connect and unite, as well as exclude and divide. And thank God it is perfectly possible for people feel kinship in these other components of themselves, otherwise we would indeed be locked in an eternal ethnic conflict.

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    7. aristeides

      For every liberal Israeli who claims they are on the same side as Palestinians, who among them is willing to relinquish their Jewish privileges, to move out of their home that was undoubtedly built on confiscated Palestinian land? The presence of Jews in Jerusalem necessarily means the eradication and dispossession of the Palestian presence. To believe anything else is fatuous.

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    8. shlomo Yosef

      Asisteides – erm thats just not true – the rest of this discussion withstanding there has always been a jewish presence in Jerusalem whether in the Old City or outside

      Your comment “The presence of Jews in Jerusalem necessarily means the eradication and dispossession of the palestinain presence” is as historically inaccurate as it is morally pensious and works against any resolution to the conflict. Jerusalem will never be purged of its Jewish residents in any resolution to this conflict (1,2,3,4,5,52 state solution) To do so would be to strip the rights off the residents there in the same way that the palestinains had their rights stripped away. If you can find me palestinian claims to the Jewish quarter of the Old City or Yamin Moshe (to name just two neighborhoods) I’ll eat my hat

      Reply to Comment
    9. Max

      You know, when Israeli politicians engage in incitement, many writers here – particularly the Jewish ones – are quick to call them out. It would be nice if Abu Mazen received the same treatment from you, Omar, rather than this elaborate effort to change the subject.

      Reply to Comment
    10. aristeides

      Shlomo – my comment is not historical. Unlike Mahmoud Abbas, if the reports of his remark are true, I certainly acknowledge that there is a long history of Jews residing in Jerusalem. * It’s still true that the presence of Jews there NOW is necessarily a part of the occupation, dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and it’s a presence maintained by force.

      .
      For the most part, Israel behaves as if Jews are fungible, that if at any time any Jew could once claim ownership of any piece of land, any other Jew is entitled to it. This policy voids the ownership rights of the original Jewish residents as much as it does the subsequent Palestinian residents.

      .
      But even if you can find some Jews who were originally and legally owners of property and who then returned to reclaim that same property, this reclamation necessarily involved force and the dispossession of the Palestinian residents.

      .

      * By “Jerusalem, I mean the historic Jerusalem, the area under Jordanian control until 1967, not the expanded boundaries which have no historical relationship to the original city.

      Reply to Comment
    11. sh

      Actually I often think about how we dig for history under the ground while erasing what’s on top of it. I did today on my way home, admiring the ugly apartment blocks in the streets of my town. When I came here a mind-boggling half-century ago, there was a lot more around one could grasp at in an effort to understand the history of this place, even if already then it only raised questions rather than offering answers. An inveterate walker who loved to roam and explore, the paths that ended nowhere, the lone fig or almond tree, the broken stone houses, low-domed plaster buildings that might have been shrines and the sudden minefields and shooting ranges always confounded me anew. Now there is almost nothing left except the last two and it’s an appalling, barbaric, mutilating, frankly desperately insane thing to have done to the landscape and the culture. And now we’re doing it in the West Bank. I’d say there’s no more time to lose, but we’ve lost so much already.
      .
      Aristeides, if you go to Silwan, its older Palestinian residents will tell you about the Yemenite Jewish community that lived among them and how neighborly relations with them were before the state was established. This is also the case in other East Jerusalem neighborhoods like Sheikh Jarrah.
      .
      And that photo of the half-destroyed Shepherd Hotel that was originally built for the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who gave the propagandists the opportunity to Nazify all Palestinians, well, how much more interesting educationally it would have been as a museum than what is scheduled to replace it.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Yossi

      Dahlia, am I right to interpret the following statement as a claim that the “IDF” are “thugs”? “It’s time for all israelis who do not feel part of their militarist/exclusionist clan to join forces with Palestinians seeking a just and peaceful resolution, because we have more in common with each other than with the thugs.”

      Reply to Comment
    13. AYLA

      Omar–thanks for this piece, to which I’m going to respond directly not having read any of the comments. The way I hear it, your argument and Dahlia’s are not mutually exclusive. It seems like the crux of the issue between the two arguments is that Palestinians are undergoing too much suffering currently to imagine teaming up with Israelis toward a common vision. We are welcome to join the Palestinian cause, but not to envision a mutual cause. The sad (and amazing) truth is that many Israelis are also operating from a place of feeling an existential threat from Palestinians’ vision for the future, and of feeling that they are the historical victims, acting only in defense. I say this not to validate these ideas, but to say; this is how it is right now. We have to rise above ourselves. The way out of this is for the like-minded humans on both sides to create a third side, to fight together. That third side does not erase or deny any history, suffering, or injustice; it contains all stories, even as they unfold. And by being a journalist at 972, Omar, part of you must believe that to be true.

      Reply to Comment
    14. AYLA

      SH–I love your comment here, and your comment on Dahlia’s piece, which I’d encourage others to read as well. I just want to add something I wrote on the other piece (since I wrote this one feeling I’d already said these things):
      *
      “The past year has taught us that this is the time for revolution–for the people to take back the night from the politicians. To do so, we have to fight together for a common-enough vision (big picture), because the Land knows the truth: she belongs, deeply, to all of us. No one can win this land from the other. The fear and anger in our way is based on the past (including yesterday), and a lot of government manipulation. There will never stop being reasons to hate and fear, in the present; the harder we–the compassionate visionaries–fight, the harder the haters will fight back, and there will always be something to react to, to bring us right back to defensive grooves and Right-ness. We have to band together and resolve to act, not react. Yet, we will never whitewash the past. Some day, in every school on this land, Jewish and Arab children will learn the Nabka history, and everyone’s history, just as american kids today sit side by side and learn about slavery (not the same! only an educational model…). The Compassionate Visionaries are not denying anyone’s history, nor their own wrongdoings. But we grow so attached to our fights, to our own victimhood, that we become our own worst enemies.”
      *
      What makes this land like no other on earth is that no matter who lives on this land at any given moment, it *is* holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, and anyone else who feels connected to any of those traditions for any reason. (mythology, sentiment, history, God–doesn’t matter; the connection is going no where). The land remembers. If we see one people’s connection as a threat to another’s, we are missing the value of this land. Once we manage to end the occupation and create One State, the ethos has to be that it’s in everyone’s interest to preserve as much of everyone’s history and culture as possible. we have to respect something greater than ourselves. otherwise, it isn’t holy. or moral.

      Reply to Comment
    15. AYLA

      (that was my second comment. my first is awaiting confirmation; I think because I addressed it to Omar with his name…)

      Reply to Comment
    16. Jazzy

      Omar’s and Dahlia’s disagreement boils down largely to fact that each person is talking past the other on specifics. Yes, Israel builds in East Jerusalem – no, it is not about to bulldoze Al-Aqsa. Yes, many Palestinian villages have been erased and are now in jeopardy. No, The historically Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem that still exist are not about to be erased from history. A big problem with this whole discourse is that Omar, and the entire pro-Palestinian contingent, is too reactionary, and becomes extremely defensive whenever any doubt is cast on any Palestinian grievance. Come on dude. Does it really weaken your bargaining position to admit that Israel isn’t really planning to re-build the temple? Give me a break.

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    17. Max

      I read it the same way as Jazzy above.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Omar, Just to remind you (and many other readers who seemed to have missed this) my very first comment about the part of Abbas’ speech that was directly quoted – listing the ongoing attempt to destroy Pal life in E. Jerusalem was the following: “That quote is justified and correct; I have seen it with my own eyes. It is true, it is wrong and must be stopped, full stop.” So, I wish people would stop saying I’m trying to ignore that.
      .
      Your point about the IDF is very important and you are right. Believe me, i am hugely, painfully aware of its centrality in israeli life – not only does every single poll confirm that, bar none, but I live in the midst of terrifying militarism on the level of daily life and a whole host of other pathologies among the Israeli people that are the result of this militarism.
      .
      Here is the part where I’d like to suggest something radical: it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m tired of being told that I don’t represent Israelis. I am just as much a part of society here as the next guy, so to speak. The centrality of militarism you speak of is indeed a state of mind that I do not share, and changing it is one of (not the only) indispensable keys to changing the future course of this conflict. ultimately, I believe it will one day become mainstream for Israelis to condemn the occupation, not just throw up our hands and say ‘ma la’asot’ and indeed the policies that are mainstream today will look extreme and isolated in the – which may be a long way off.
      .
      there is nothing about this that negates the on-the-ground struggle to end the daily actions against the Pal pop. Quite the opposite, my article was a clear call for all those who find the policies intolerable to rise up together – to transcend their national identity without renouncing it – and demand that they end. Immediately.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      Well said, Omar. This article expressed my reaction to Dahlia’s article much better than I could have. I respect Dahlia’s sincerity and good will, but the idea that Palestinian and Jewish “moderates” are on one side against Palestinian and Jewish “extremists” is a left-Zionist way of eating their cake and having it, too. It conveniently defines “moderate” in a way that excludes the majority of Palestinians.

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    20. Shlomo Krol

      If this is not the conflict between the extremists and moderates than between whom? Jews and Palestinians? And than if “Jews” erase and deny the Palestinian connection to Palestine and Jerusalem, than it’s OK to deny the Jewish link to Israel and Jerusalem?
      I would say the real conflict is between the two approaches. One is that there is only one side and it is “us”, who have rights on this land, while the “others” are usurpers and must be ultimately pushed out, and another is that we indeed live here together, we have historical, political and human rights here and must find the good will to aknowledge the rights of each other and to solve, by compomise, the points where these rights are mutually exclusive. It’s the lack of the good will among the both ethnic groups and among their leaders that makes this conflict so intractable. Abbas is indeed not much better than Netanyahu in this respect and the Qatar speach, if we can judge by the excerpts in the media, was just another demonstration of this fact.
      I think, that +972 is about the solidarity. And the solidarity is not when “the Jews” are on the side of “the Arabs”, but when both accept each other and confront together those, who deny the rights of “the other”, even if the denier is Mahmud Abbas.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Sinjim

      @Ayla and the others who agree with you: The “mutual cause” that you all keep trumpeting is alienating to me. I don’t see what you keep offering as mutual between us or rising above the other narratives, but rather as kinder, gentler denial of the Palestinian experience.
      .
      I’ll repeat what I said in Dahlia’s article, you guys are talking at us, not to us. Here is Omar basically saying the exact same thing I did in my own comment to Dahlia, that what you’re saying has no relevance to Palestinians’ reality of occupation, dispossession, and exile. We both did this on our own. That we would react this this way should tell you something.
      .
      It seems like you want to put the cart before the horse. Mutuality or peace or whatever you want to call it is the end, not the means. You don’t achieve simply be pretending that we have it, which is exactly what this “mutual cause” idea is. You do so by fighting the injustice of occupation, ethnic discrimination, and exile. Only when those injustices are addressed — not dismissed as phenomena cooked up by extremists but head-on addressed — can there be a real shot at mutual existence.

      Reply to Comment
    22. AYLA

      @Laila–I live in Dahlia’s bubble (I haven’t had the opportunity to meet her yet, and don’t know much about her bubble, specifically, but ideologically, there aren’t so many of us), and from what I read, she’s trying very, very hard to burst that bubble, and is asking you to burst yours. I say that not as an accusation, but from a place of yearning to burst out of mine. with you.
      *
      @Joel–I always appreciate your comments, too. Both of these arguments, Omar’s and Dahlia’s, are important. But one does not counter the other. And it is this very notion that is holding us stuck.

      Reply to Comment
    23. @Sinjim, what I’m starting to gather from your composite themes, or else how I read the logical conclusion, is that you do not care to foster a joint Israeli-Palestinian struggle against the occupation. I find that a shame, as I think that’s the greatest hope for change. I just cannot buy the mutually-exclusive mantra – i’m too busy trying to think of all means of adding people to the struggle, and it seems like every time you respond, insist on finding all possible ways of delegitimizing even my own personal expression of resistance to the policies that must end.
      .
      @Aaron, so, you think that when I say ‘moderate’ I leave out most Palestinians. Sounds like you think most Palestinians deny the legitimacy of any Jewish presence in this region and are basically waiting to throw us into the sea. Sorry, I’m not buying that either. I do fully realize why it is far from any Palestinian’s first priority to say things of sweetness and light legitimizing the Israeli narrative and I don’t expect it. Outright denying it, by the leadership, is simply alienating, see my point about the potential for joint struggle, to Sinjim, above. And it’s a shame – think of how much more powerful such a struggle could be with more numbers involved on both sides.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Sinjim

      @Dahlia: No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that a joint Israeli-Palestinian struggle does not begin by denying or pushing aside the ethnic dimensions of Palestinian oppression. The only thing that will achieve it is the alienation of Palestinians who simply don’t have the luxury or the privilege to ignore this reality.
      .
      I haven’t denied your experience of anything. All I’m doing is disagreeing with your claims about the nature of this conflict.

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    25. kia

      dont worry rahman, jerusalem will never loose its palestinain identity the people of the world always respected the self determination of the palestinian people, the holy land was always invaded by so many empires be it romans ,crusades,etc eventually they were all defeated by the muslim armies that bought peace and stability to all faiths. everyone was fighting side by side they were all loyal to palestine all christians, muslims etc. all isreal is good at is to destroy done by thier Isreali Destruction Force (IDF) fighting old women and childern in the street fighting an unarmmed people, history will judge those people who did not stop this and just watched and turned thier eyes away pretending not to understand the conflict and claiming well its complicated ! whats complicated seeing childern dying really!!! as for dahila i think she was living under a rock or something . NO JUSTICE NO PEACE ,simple and logic.

      Reply to Comment
    26. aristeides

      SH – “before the establishment of the state” sounds like a euphemism, in the light of what actually happened. Maybe, “before the mass ethnic cleansing and population disruption.”

      .
      My response to Shlomo is that he’s typical of the liberal Zionist who claims to be in favor of peace – as long as the rights of Jews are never violated in the process. THAT must never be. Always, it’s the Palestinians who have to give up, surrender, lose, but god forbid any Jew should ever be inconvenienced.

      .
      This is essentially the rhetoric of the settlers – that Jewish roots are somehow particularly privileged, and once planted – no matter how wrongly – they must never be uprooted in favor of Arabs – no matter how just their claims.

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    27. Sinjim

      In other words, what I’m saying is that a joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle doesn’t mean that everyone pretends we’re all equal or that we’re all one people. We are not one people, we do not share one narrative, we do not all have the same needs and concerns. That’s the reality of the situation, whether we like it or not.
      .
      So this isn’t about narratives or mutual existence or whatever. Mutual existence simply can’t be the means by which this conflict ends. Rather it must be viewed as what it actually is, one possible result of ending the conflict. Certainly it’s something that I hope comes about in my lifetime but it’s not guaranteed nor is it the only possible end of this conflict.
      .
      Before we can ever get to mutual existence, we need to end the conflict. That’s what the joint struggle must be working for, ending the occupation and ending the ethnically discriminatory Israeli laws. The language of the struggle must be the language of human and civil rights for all, but the dynamic of occupier and occupied can never be brushed aside.
      .
      That’s what I care for, Dahlia. And I believe that by arguing that we ignore the concept of oppressor and oppressed, that we ignore the salience of what Israel as a Jewish state does to Palestinians, you are pushing us further from what I care for.

      Reply to Comment
    28. AYLA

      Sinjim–I’m picking up on your response to Dahlia. I’m sorry, but, obviously. Obviously you get to remain Palestinian in your fight for justice and to fight against your own, personal injustice. I’ve not only never asked you to drop your narrative/experience; I’ve said the opposite. I just hear Dahlia rallying us to collect ourselves and fight together, for a common cause (against the occupation, against injustice against Palestinians, for a land with liberty and justice for all, if you will)… As I’ve said, I’m in. If that alienates you, Sinjim, then you keep fighting in your way, and I’ll keep trying to grow the group of people willing to fight together, (not only us fighting your fight; all of us fighting all of our fight, in which *none* of the narratives/experiences are denied). In any case, I hope to see you on the other side, since we *do* want the same thing, like it or not.

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    29. Shlomo Krol

      Sinjim, there is indeed the situation of opressors and opressed ones. And here is the reality that one can say in general: all Palestinians, be they Palestinians from the occupied territories or the Israeli citizens or the refugees are oppressed ones and all Israeli Jews, by the fact of being “privileged ones” in the “Jewish state”, are oppressors, even those who don’t want to oppress others.
      But there are also other very basic “divisions”, which cross the lines of this “oppressor-oppressed” paradigm. For example, there is a very clear distinction between those who want this situation of oppressors and oppressed to cease to exist, and those who want “the others” to cease to exist. There are those among the both latter two groups, who are oppressed and those, who are oppressors. I want to say, that the situation of oppressed and oppressor cannot be separated from the situation of the conflict. These two situations are interwoven, even on this level: some of the oppressed nourish the conflict and some of the oppressors struggle for this conflict to end, and vice versa. You are saying that to end the conflict, the situation of oppressed and oppressor must end. This is true. But to end the situation of oppressor and oppressed the situation of the conflict must end. You just cannot separate one from another. And I agree with you, that the language of the struggle must be the one of the human and civil rights for all. But what does demagogic denial of the rights of the others has in common with the language of human and civil rights for all?

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    30. AYLA

      Shlomo Krol–that’s a thoughtful response.

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    31. sh

      @Jazzy – “Yes, Israel builds in East Jerusalem – no, it is not about to bulldoze Al-Aqsa. Yes, many Palestinian villages have been erased and are now in jeopardy. No, The historically Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem that still exist are not about to be erased from history. ”

      I was here in 1967. After the war a petition was circulated in my kibbutz and likely many others, asking for what had been occupied to be kept. It was from Herut (now Likud) who were still considered wild extremists by Labor supporters. 10 years later a Herutnik was elected prime minister. Meir Kahane and his band were considered nut jobs when he decided to move here from the USA, a tiny lunatic fringe. Some of Kahane’s followers are now in the government. When Rabbi Moshe Levinger and his followers rented rooms in a Hebron hotel for Passover and then refused to leave, everyone said that they were a tiny sect of fanatics and some were even rather amused by what they’d done. Twenty years later he was as popular as Menahem Begin and look what has become of downtown Hebron. The historically Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem are already infiltrated by settlers hand-picked not to be friendly or neighborly. I don’t know where you live, but if in Israel, go visit Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah and draw your own conclusions about what their presence does there. Since we all know that some Jewish groups have reinvented the High Priest’s garments, crafted all sorts of Temple accessories and now not only demand to go up and pray on the Temple Mount but are permitted to do so (they weren’t before) as MK Feiglin regularly confirms in deed, how do you expect anyone to feel certain about the safety of Al-Aqsa?

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    32. Sinjim

      @Shlomo: I agree with much of what you say, but frankly I don’t understand how it is a response to what I wrote. Nor do I understand your point about conflict and the oppressor/oppressed dynamic. They are one and the same. If you’re ending one, you are by definition ending the other. And by the same token, if you are only trying to end the conflict without addressing the oppressor/oppressed dynamic, you are going to fail.
      .
      As for demagogic denial of rights, of course it doesn’t fit into the language of human and civil rights, but who is doing that here? Some are claiming that Abbas denied the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, but no one has been able to post the exact quote in which he does so. So as far as I’m concerned this is another one of Yediot’s right-wing propaganda lies until proven otherwise.

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    33. southparkbear

      Golda was spot on saying peace will come when palestinians love their kids more than they hate the jews. Gingrich was equally right saying palestinians are invented ‘people’. these not nice people cannot have peace between factions. they should be ignored, sanctioned of any israeli benefit and left to fight one another. We are bored with pals cry baby

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    34. ish yehudi

      hey Sinjim Omar and those insisting on the naivete and self-centeredness of dahlias post…
      In my soul, i know that I was murdered, oppressed and removed from this land, cast to wander the earth and be forgotten– the religions that developed after our dispersal all insisted that our time had passed.. There were no shortage of attempts to kill our bodies and our souls, to erase the memory of our people. Sound familiar? And then we struggled to return to our land and become again the people that all said we weren’t.
      Is there not some incredible shared narrative both our peoples are living.. and yes- it is a sick phenomena that it is our Jewish state enacting this occupation and wretched injustices in the name of our survival– but the psychologist tell me thats what happens… so now we’re the oppressor in the eyes of our oppressed (which we are). But in our own eyes we are still oppresed, clamoring tooth and nail against any suggestion that we weren’t ever here or are in the wrong.
      My greatest revelation in daring to listen and meet my Palestinian Other/Brother is that we’re both living in fear. The anger and hate I knew.
      Our teachers share that Truth (both our peoples attachment to this land) will stand on as falsehood (injustice) will surely fall. Fighting injustice is paramount right now, from survival mode.. but we’re gonna have to do more than just survive, unless we want our two states to end up in war with each other?
      the tendency on this site to out-radicalize each other- I know the drive as a passionate heart for truth- does it not also serve the Evil of embedding conflict?
      of course its’ my luxury to say that– but i’m also telling you- the perception of Israelis as “livin large” does not fit with the defensive/ reactionary actions of Israelis… thats a big heart of this conflict, two victims of the zero-sum game. I know I face the challenge to go beyond it all the time.

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    35. Jazzy

      SH: point taken – However, Israel assumed control of Jerusalem at the same time as Hebron, and since then, the Arab neighborhoods have grown substantially, even if that growth is restricted in some places, and many houses have been demolished. The only place where it seems Arabs have actually been displaced by Jews is in Sheikh Jarrah, and even there, not really in large numbers. If there’s a physical threat to Al-Aqsa its going to be from another crazy Australian, or some other wild card, not a decision by the government to bulldoze the place. And that kind of event isn’t a threat that expanding Arab neighborhoods is going to address anyway. The issue is separation of Arab East Jerusalem from the West Bank, not the physical survival of Arab East Jerusalem, which is growing. Feiglin and others may talk about the Temple Mount, but even in Hebron, your nightmare scenario, the Tomb of Patriarchs is still mostly a Muslim Shrine where the biggest and Holiest prayer hall is controlled by Muslims.

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    36. Rami Fareed

      There is a Jewish connection to the holy city because Jews had a state here for only 80 years 3000 years ago. They had many chances to take this land again, but they did not. Now, some people claiming to be Jews want to take this land by forcing others out. But, is there any Jewish right to have this place?
      Even if some people assume that, who can tell if any person is a Jew or not. If Jews are the sons of Israel, then that would mean many Muslims, Christians, Atheists are Jews. Jesus would be a Jew because his mother was a Jew. But who can prove if any existing person is a Jew?
      If Jews are the people who believe in Judaism, then clearly there are many Israelis that are not Jews because they do not even believe in God or they are converts of other religions. So, who gave them any right to be in this holy land? Would that also mean if some people became Jews, whoever and wherever they are, they have the right to live in this holy land? Was King Solomon himself a Jew or an Atheist according to the people who consider themselves Jews?

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    37. AYLA

      @IshYehudi–your post just made me cry. Thank you. Some will likely dismiss it, but you speak to the heart of the matter, from the heart of the matter. You are a warrior.
      *
      Will you take to the streets with us? I know plenty of Palestinians who will join us. They don’t comment here, but they exist, and if we reach out and ask them to demonstrate with us, they will. I know because it’s been done, and recently.

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    38. SHLOMO KROL

      Sinjim, I was probably not articulate enough to make my point clear, so I’ll try it again.
      I mean that I do not agree that this conflict is merely the one between oppressor and oppressed one. This is also the conflict between two peoples which both have very valid claim for one land and large parts of each people deny the rights of the other people in this land. This is no less a root case for the conflict, than the oppressor-oppressed dynamics, and if it is not addressed and solved, the oppressor-oppressed situation cannot end. I even think that some of those who claim that Israeli oppression must end without the mutual acceptance might just want the oppressor and oppressed to switch places rather than this situation to be eliminated altogether.
      I read about Abbas speach in Haaretz, there were no exact quotes there, either, but the report was as unpleasant for me, as it was for Dahlia Sheindlin. Though it was not a big surprise for me: I have no special reverence to Mahmoud Abbas or any other person in any political establishment; I really don’t think that Abbas is better than Netanyahu. It’s us, the millions, who make history.

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    39. Shlomo Krol, I thought you were perfectly articulate in both comments and understood exactly what I have been trying to say. Thank you. At certain moments, I think sinjim and I share the same basic approach, (“Before we can ever get to mutual existence, we need to end the conflict. That’s what the joint struggle must be working for, ending the occupation and ending the ethnically discriminatory Israeli laws.”) the difference is that I’m breaking my head trying to think of new ways to forge that joint struggle and expand its power on the ground. And I’m getting the feeling that Sinjim, you are more interested in your specific ideological dogmatism than in being effective for advancing the goals we seem to share.

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    40. AYLA

      Rami Fareed–what you wrote is only a little bit less offensive and no less ill-informed than what SouthParkBear wrote.

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    41. David

      As I said yesterday:
      .
      [“Whether we end with one, two or twenty states, we’ll be together in Jerusalem for eternity. That should be something to look forward to, and I do not accept that it has to be an ongoing source of conflict.”
      .
      That just isn’t the view of the mainstream Palestinian political parties. I know, it would be lovely if it were. I wish it were. If it were, there wouldn’t be a conflict.
      .
      You’re probably writing for the wrong website. Somebody has already basically called you a Nazi for what you’ve said.]
      .

      The very best of luck in finding those on the Israeli far Left or any mainstream Palestinian politician who agrees with you. They should. They don’t.
      .
      You need allies. These guys aren’t your allies.

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    42. Aaron the Fascist Troll

      I didn’t say anything about anybody wanting to throw anybody into the sea. When I said that Dahlia seems to be defining a majority of Palestinians as extremists, I meant the 66 percent that she herself has cited as opposing a two-state *solution*. It’s a good guess that most of those would not accept a shared-one-state *solution* either (the survey didn’t ask that question).
      *
      I can’t emphasize enough, words such as “extremists” and “moderates,” “haters” and “compassionates” are POLEMICAL terms. Just look at Dahlia’s post and at some of Ayla’s comments to see real polemics in action.
      *
      That’s a separate issue from the patronizing “let’s all be on the same side—my side” approach to the Palestinians. On that, I’m in full agreement with Omar and Sinjim, each of whom expressed my thoughts far better than I could.
      *
      As kind of a side point, my wish list for terminology, besides dropping polemics like “moderate” and “extremist,” would include more specificity when referring to the occupation. I think it would be helpful to qualify it as the 1967 occupation or the 1948 occupation. It’s not always clear which is meant—which of course is sometimes the whole point.

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    43. Sinjim

      @Shlomo: I see what you’re saying.
      .
      Look, I think the most important thing to do is focus on rights. Whether it’s one or two states, respect for all the rights of the citizens without exception must be the founding principle. That means full equality before the law. In other words, you as a Jew would be free to practice your religion and/or engage in cultural expression so long as you don’t infringe on the rights of others to do the same. The same would go for Palestinians.
      .
      So when I say the language of the struggle must be the language of human and civil rights, that’s what I mean. And the fact is that the overwhelming majority of Palestinian non-violent resistance, embodied in that movement that dare not speak its name in democratic Israel, adheres to these principles. They talk about rights only. Sure the focus is Palestinians’ rights, but that makes sense given that Palestinians are the ones whose rights are systematically denied through a complex arrangement of oppressive institutions. Nevertheless, they call for an arrangement of a state/s of all citizens, not just some of them. Mutual existence is an implicit and explicit part of pro-Palestinian activism.
      .
      As I said above, there is no guarantee that mutual existence will be the result of ending this conflict. In fact, I would say that given the manner in which the conflict is framed in Israel and America, it’s much more likely to end in tears. Focusing on rights, demanding that everyone be equal before the law, would give co-existence a fighting chance. That’s my opinion, at least.
      .
      Is this inadequate? What more do you expect of Palestinians in this situation?

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    44. Sinjim

      @Dahlia: You’re taking my criticism of your words and ideas and trying to make it about me. I think you are the fourth or fifth person on this website to engage in this internet psychoanalysis of me and my motivations.
      .
      Well, if dismissing the content of my words as “ideological dogmatism” is what you’re going to do, far be it from me to stand in the way. It won’t however change the simple fact that both I and Omar had the exact same response to your article, which is that it’s a denial of the nature of Israel’s very mainstream oppression.

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    45. ish yehudi

      @Sinjim–
      I hear you and am trying to stand with you more and more in achieving equal rights for palestinians… i think also your most recent post, which is very grounded is a good lesson on how returning to the basics and practical can help us get along beyond our narratives…
      i’m working on plugging into what happens in my area for palestinian rights- and opening the conversation in places in my community where it doesn’t always happen.

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    46. @ Sinjim. Fine. Criticism taken – see, it’s not that hard! If 4-5 people have said it to you, perhaps it’s time to ask yourself why. Let’s meet next time you’re at a demo and talk it out – either in the WB, e. jm, or inside the green line, I go to a bunch of them. Maybe then you’ll admit that we’re struggling for (basically) the same things instead of searching high and low for reasons not to allow for the possibility of ending bad policies together. Or don’t admit it – whatever. I’ll still protest policies I can’t agree with, and try to forge partnerships to do so, with your blessing or not.

      Reply to Comment
    47. Shlomo Krol

      Sinjim,
      I agree with you. I just have some comments. You are talking about rights for all and at the same breath predicting that it all will end in tears (who’s gonna cry, by the way? are you trying to scare me? i’m not scared). Then you place all the blame for these “tears” on “the manner in which the conflict is framed in Israel and America” – refusing even to consider that, for example, the way Mahmoud Abbas framed this conflict in the Qatar speach, doesn’t contribute to its resolution either. And you don’t even mention, that there are ideas and forces in the Palestinian society, and very strong and influential ones, which must be confronted as well if we want indeed to achieve resolution of this conflict which would lead to implementation of rights for all and co-existence within some acceptable for all framework. From you words, one may conclude, that there are only oppressors (Israeli Jews, including the liberals, against whom the sting of your criticism is aimed) and oppressed ones (Palestinians, be they people from the establishment, like Mahmoud Abbas, peaceful civilians and human rights activists, or Hamas and Islamic Jihad thugs). I think the things are much more delicate and it’s indeed important for us to find common ground. If we are all indeed for equal rights for all, than we must criticize all attacks on these rights, everything which undermines them, whether apartheid and colonization in occupied Palestine and shameful discrimination and marginalization of the Palestinian citizens of Israel, or terrorism against Israeli civilians and refusal to accept Jews in this land, wthere vile inflammatory rhetorics in some Jewish relighious seminaries and in some mosques, or soft spoken and polished speaches by politicians, which deny the rights of others. If we want to present this conflict as black and white, as struggle between good and evil, than, in my opinion, it would be more accurate to describe it not as the conflict between the Jewish oppressors and the oppressed Palestinians, but as the conflict between those, who want to accept others and those who don’t.

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    48. Bill Pearlman

      This would be a little more believable if there was any mention of the fact that Palestinians have routinely destroyed Jewish religious sites and systematically destroy any Jewish artifacts from the temple mount.

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    49. aristeides

      No, Shlomo, it would not be more accurate “to describe it not as the conflict between the Jewish oppressors and the oppressed Palestinians, but as the conflict between those, who want to accept others and those who don’t.”

      .
      Your viewpoint totally omits the factor of power. Some of those who don’t want to accept others have guns and tanks and prisons. Others have nothing but their victimization, no way to fight back or resist. That’s why we call one group “oppressors” and the other “opporessed.”

      Reply to Comment
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