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My grandmother was murdered in Kafr Qasim, now these are my demands

I think about the events that led up to the murder of my grandmother and 48 other women, children, and men, along with dozens of survivors who carry their trauma until today. Will we ever see true justice?

By Reem Amer

Thousands take part in the march to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Kafr Qasim, October 29, 2016. (photo: Joint List Spokesperson)

Thousands take part in the march to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Kafr Qasim, October 29, 2016. (photo: Joint List)

Everyone speaks of the Kafr Qasim massacre of 1956 as if it were an isolated case. As if Border Police officers decided to carry out, without any connection to or orders from the government echelon or military establishment. Yet we tend to forget that the regime and the Zionist movement, which sought to empty the land of it inhabitants, was behind the massacre.

One cannot disconnect what took place in Kafr Qasim from the injustices and oppression that began in 1948 and continue until today in places such as Al-Araqib and Umm al-Hiran, where the authorities destroy homes and expropriate land on a regular basis. The massacre was yet another attempt to force Palestinians to leave their homeland and join the hundreds of thousands of refugees who were expelled during the 1948 war.

One of the journalists who came to interview me in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the Kafr Qasim massacre asked about our demands, and whether we would forgive and move on if only the Israeli government would express remorse. We explained that an apology is not enough.

The goal remains the same

I am the granddaughter of Hamisa Farg Amer, who was murdered on that day in 1956. My grandmother was murdered while on her way back from the olive harvest with her friends who suffered a similar fate, save for one survivor, Hana’a Sliman Amer. My grandmother was born in Jaffa. She and her family lived in the Al-Manshiyya neighborhood, when her family became refugees and fled for the ’67 territories. We are in touch with some of them until today, we lost touch with others, and there are some whose fate we know nothing about.

I think about the events that led up to the murder of my grandmother and 48 other women, children, and men, along with dozens of survivors who carry their trauma until today. I think about them and about the fate of the activists who pledged to bring forth the full story of the massacre, to teach their children and grandchildren about the courage necessary to demand justice. These are people who, time after time, paid a heavy price when they were arrested and had their homes were raided on the eve of the massacre’s commemoration.

Knesset Member Ibrahim Sarsur stands by a monument for the victims of the Kafr Qasim massacre, October 28, 2007. (Michal Fattal/Flash90)

Knesset Member Ibrahim Sarsur stands by a monument for the victims of the Kafr Qasim massacre, October 28, 2007. (Michal Fattal/Flash90)

In the first 20 years following the massacre, when Palestinian citizens lived under military rule, the military governor would issue arrest warrants for activists in order to prevent them from marching to commemorate the massacre. The authorities would confiscate black flags and megaphones, which were used for chanting slogans against the military government. One of those people was my father, Muhammad Khamis Amer.

When I think about my personal story, my family’s story, and I think about our demands, I have an answer made up of several questions: will the Israeli government recognize the ongoing injustice that the state has caused the Palestinian people since 1948? What would be the significance of such recognition? Will it include remedying those injustices? Will it fully recognize the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination? Will it fully recognize the Palestinian people’s right to return to the land from which they were and continue to be expelled?

After all, Kafr Qasim, Sabra and Shatila, Kaft Qana, the attacks on Gaza, every massacre has been carried out with a single goal in mind: expulsion and oppression.

Reem Amer is a feminist and political activist. She is a General Coordinator at Coalition of Women for Peace. This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Bus189

      No, N/A, N/A, Depends, No.

      Glad I could help you clear that up.

      Hope you continue to enjoy the good life and opportunities provided to you by the Jewish State. Don’t be afraid to say thank you once in a while for what you have. Have a wonderful day!

      Reply to Comment
      • Ray

        Just in case nobody’s told you yet, go boil your head. That’s all.

        Reply to Comment
      • carmen

        Your arrogance is breathtaking. Maybe if you put yourself in someone else’s shoes once in a while, you might, oh wait, you probably wouldn’t because you’d have to have a few things that you, lack as a human being – empathy, humility, compassion for others. Coincidentally, empathy, humility and compassion for others are some of the most important building blocks for a healthy human being and curiously enough, completely missing from the zionist diet.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bus189

          Let’s see. Ad hominem, followed by generalization and stereotyping.

          This is what passes for an empathic, humble and compassionate human being in Carmen’s world.

          Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            Your remarks here and elsewhere give me no indication you have any of the feelings i noted – empathy, compassion or humility. I think you’re stuck in the shame/blame phase. The zionists I know have no shame, have no compassion or consideration and, like yourself, telling this like it is an inside joke – ‘arabs’ have it great and its much worse for them in ‘arab’ countries, without a shred of evidence to support that claims or back up their assertions. Why should anyone born in Palestine leave? You leave. Palestinians that are citizens of the state of israel have been discriminated against since the zionist takeover of their land yet you mock Ms. Amer and claim she should be grateful and say ‘thank you’. For what exactly?

            Reply to Comment
          • Bus189

            She should be grateful for living in peace and quiet in a place where she can have a normal life and is free to put out this kind of garbage and even make ludicrous demands of the State and of its Jewish citizens. It is her right to write these things. Everywhere else in the Middle East she would be poorer, less free, with less rights and after writing an article like this be sitting in a Mukahabarat prison waiting for the torture to begin.

            She should be incredibly grateful for growing up in such a country and rather than investing her time and effort on trying to create fissures in Israeli society she should be working on bringing people together. She isn’t and that is her right, but she is going to never get any of her demands, so it is up to her whether she wants to live a wasted life full of disappointment and disillusion or actually try to drop her hostility to the country she lives and try to integrate fully.

            She can leave, or she can stay. She can scream pointlessly or she can do something productive. All of these are her rights. If she chooses on her present course she can only hope to live a life full of bitter hatred and anger. She might be better off elsewhere, but that is for her to make that choice.

            She should say thank you for having all these choices, freedoms, rights and to live in a developed modern country with all the privileges that most of her Arab brethren are missing in their own countries.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      This is what Bus189, with that really peculiar Israeli insouciance, makes light of:

      “In 1986, 30 years after the massacre, Shalom Ofer, one of the convicted soldiers, said in an interview to Ha’ir: ‘We were like the Germans. They stopped trucks, took the Jews off and shot them. What we did is the same. We were obeying orders like a German soldier during the war, when he was ordered to slaughter Jews.’”
      Many, especially those in the Jewish community in Israel and abroad, will rightfully find the above words hard to swallow. I don’t blame them. The massacre was a horrendous act, especially when undertaken in “your” name….
      And this, my friends, is the buried past and not so buried present, of the Israeli Defense Forces, “the most moral army in the world.”

      (It’s in the first link provided in the article.)

      Reply to Comment
      • Bus189

        I make light of the demands of the author of the article. Her family got an apology and compensation for the mistake that was made. That isn’t enough for her. She would only be satisfied if the State of Israel ceased to exist and as such deserves all the ridicule in the world.

        I thoroughly wish her a very happy life in the Jewish State. Eventually she will understand how lucky she has been in being born here instead of elsewhere in the Middle East. At that point she might start to appreciate what she has here. Until then we will ignore her childish demands for attention and her juvenile tilting at windmills.

        Or she can go elsewhere. Either way her demands will get nothing but contempt and ridicule from me and the rest of Israeli society. Once she apologizes for her people’s attempts at preventing the Jews from living in their homeland and their persistent attempts to murder innocent Jewish civilians on a regular basis perhaps we can have a conversation.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Carmen

      I always thought zionists had no sense of humor but you are hysterical!

      Reply to Comment
      • Bus189

        My pleasure. I am here to entertain you.

        Reply to Comment
        • Carmen

          I know. You don’t serve any other purpose.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            I love the holier than though Israel haters pretend that they are humanists and non racists. They know who they are.

            They are literally orgasmic as they detail how Israel single handedly is responsible for lava eruptions, earthquakes, tzunamis and plagues. At the same time they pretend that Arabs are just innocent lambs who never do anything wrong who are victimised by eeeeeeeeevil Zionists.

            No context, no nuance, just one sided black and white bias.

            PS
            Any wonder then that we then adopt the same attitude towards them and we too then come across as pricks without sympathy or empathy. Hey but I forgot. That is exactly what they want. To provoke us then gleefully point the finger.

            For the record. What we did at Kfar Quasim was terrible. It must never be repeated but unfortunately these are the sorts of evils which wars breed. So the solution is peace. A peace which the Arabs still don’t want unless Israel places a noose over it’s own neck and stands on a chair. And that we won’t do. This type of evil keeps on happening in which innocents die on BOTH sides.

            Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Bus189, your overbearing self-righteousness and arrogance, backed by the self-serving lies you tell about what Reem Amer did to you and wants to do to you, is par for the course for the Israeli public that Netanyahu manipulates. Easiest thing in the world to manipulate these primitive, coarse emotions and indulge them. I’m not at all surprised. No one who is not a child thinks anything but force at this point will stay the fanatics you have become who are willing to do vicious things without minimum humane limit to maintain your overlord dominance and territorial ambitions. The only question is how violent or non-violent that force will be and to what degree it will be internal versus external. I have little doubt the end game here will be terribly violent. Because I think Israel is engineering that outcome with utmost calculation. It’s called the long game. Israel has proven it has absolutely no intention of allowing a non-violent solution ever. At every opportunity it strangles non-violent initiatives in their crib. It did it at the time of the Kafr Qasim massacre and it does it now. And what countervailing resistance there ever was to that ruthlessness has in the decades since been doggedly snuffed out by the extreme right. Your hateful response to Reem Amer is exactly in that spirit. You don’t enter into your hate reluctantly, you revel in it. A hate calculated and strategic.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “your overbearing self-righteousness”

            Right on cue Ben posts his above post which confirms my previous post about the likes of him. Ben’s post is orgasmic. It oozes hatred and self righteousness. And is decidedly one sided about what bad things are done and by whom. He literally ignores history and pretends that Israel and Israelis are eeeeeeeevil, while Arabs are just innocent victims who are always the ones sho are wronged without them doing anything bad to Israelis. On the odd occasion when he admits to Arabs doing evil things, he always has an excuse for them. It’s the “occupation” he says. And when someone like me suggests that the Arabs should compromise and agree to a peace deal Ben claims that the Arabs just can’t wait to sign a peace deal with us but we Israelis are unreasonable. We want to humiliate them by expecting them to recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, in return for us recognising their new Arab state (the 23rd Arab state).

            According to Ben, the recognition of one (only one) Jewish state is humiliating but he expects us to recognise the 23rd Arab state. And so it goes on and on, the war which the Arabs started against the Jewish state continues and from time to time we too act like the Arabs and do inexcusable things.

            The difference though is that unlike them, many of us are outraged about it and we prosecute perpetrators. The Palestinian Arabs on the other hand worship their terrorists, their relatives are rewarded monetarily and they name streets after them. Oh and they demand the release of terrorists who murder our children whom we manage to catch and put where they belong. Into jail.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bus189

            I hate those that wish to destroy my country and I will challenge, confront and fight them. If they choose to live in peace with Israel then there will be peace. Until then, we will do whatever needs to be done to ensure our existence here.

            Welcome to the Middle East. Look around. History hasn’t ended and will not. There is no end-game. There is just ongoing conflict in different forms.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            “I hate those that wish to destroy my country and I will challenge, confront and fight them. If they choose to live in peace with Palestine then there will be peace. Until then, we will do whatever needs to be done to ensure our existence here.”

            See how that’s working out? Would you not grant the same aspirations and desires to the Palestinian people? Who’ve actually had an uninterrupted presence here for centuries whereas the ancient Hebrews’ sojourn was very short-lived and their rule ended 2000 years ago as did their presence. How can we, most of whom have been present since the last half of the 20th century and later, continue to claim that what they have belongs to us according to an old book that many of us pay no mind to, and that’s all? That’s enough to make one conclude that religion is for idiots after all.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bus189

            It is working out pretty well actually. We are back in our homeland, it is ours, and we are going to keep it. I am not going to grant the Palestinians anything that would compromise that. Once they accept the legitimacy of my presence here then we can have a chat of what I would be willing to grant the Palestinians. Until then any concession that I make will just be used against me at a future time.

            As for you, I don’t really care what you do or what you claim.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            I’m pretty sure you’re going to get exactly what you deserve.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Bernie X

      I think the Kfar Qasim massacre was a singular act of stupidity and moral depravity that should not be linked to the events of 1948, Sabra and Shatila,Kafr Qana or Gaza.

      I think that commemorating the massacre is a good idea.

      Reply to Comment
      • AJew

        I just love how the haters of Israel try to pretend that Sabra and Shatila was an act carried out by Israel.

        They never mention that it was a massacre carried out by Lebanese Christian militia in revenge for Palestinians massacring Lebanese Christians.

        Having said that, we have to accept the criticism that we should have put a stop to it sooner. We should not have let it happen under our watch.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          These selective criticisms of a few high profile actions long past are nice but they have the air of displaying a sense of humanity while costing nothing and while under your very nose and in the present your troops commit brutalities, day after day, night after night, and you say nothing or excuse it with all sorts of rationalizations.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “These selective criticisms”

            Look who is really being selective.

            Ben does not criticise Palestinian Arabs even selectively. Ever!

            If one would read Ben’s long tiresome posts which he endlessly posts, he has no criticism of the behavior of Palestinian Arabs. All his criticisms are against Jews and the Jewish state.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            AJew/Gustav claims “Ben does not criticise Palestinian Arabs even selectively. Ever!

            If one would read Ben’s long tiresome posts which he endlessly posts, he has no criticism of the behavior of Palestinian Arabs. All his criticisms are against Jews and the Jewish state.”

            AJew/Gustav
            “I love the holier than though Israel haters pretend that they are humanists and non racists. They know who they are. They are literally orgasmic as they detail how Israel single handedly is responsible for lava eruptions, earthquakes, tzunamis and plagues. At the same time they pretend that Arabs are just innocent lambs who never do anything wrong who are victimised by eeeeeeeeevil Zionists.”

            (btw, it’s holier than thou)AJew/Gustav – please explain, what is an ‘israel hater’? Provide documentation that an antizionist such as myself, orgasmically detail how ‘israel’ “single handedly is responsible for lava eruptions, earthquakes, tzunamis and plagues. At the same time they pretend that Arabs are just innocent lambs who never do anything wrong who are victimised by eeeeeeeeevil Zionists.”

            BTW, you used the earthquake and tsunami scenario on the same thread as the rabbi = vampire scenario (for which you still haven’t given an explanation for these statements you made, once again: Gustav/AJew to Ben: “It means exactly what it sounds like. It means that she thinks that Jewish Rabbis (some at least) are blood sucking vampires who only have regards for Jews. Draw your own conclusions. I take her at face value. But if I am wrong, let Carmen explain what she meant. She does not need you as a mouth piece. Let her speak for herself and clarify.”

            Carmen to AJew/Gustav: “…and instead of explaining the above, you announce ‘that’s it for me. I’m getting bored by both of them’. maybe after shabbat you’ll figure out how to answer my questions about the above paragraph.

            (BTW – i don’t need you as a mouthpiece either.)”

            The post above to Ben and the next to myself from AJew/Gustav, proves again that AJew/Gustav isn’t able to do more than distract, create ridiculous make-believe scenarios and flat out lie. He’s playing to an unseen and most likely nonexistent audience. He’s nothing more than a shill for the Z.E. Of course, he could claim I’m a shill for the left, that’s his perogative. At least Bus189 readily admits to me she/he is only here for my entertainment. AJew/Gustav wants everyone to believe he’s the mouthpiece for all Jews, who he apparently believes are all zionist supporters of the zionist enterprise, but at least with this he’s only lying to himself. Or maybe he doesn’t give a damn one way or another, is reading from a script and has a catalogue of canned responses because a job is a job and hasbara pays the bills.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “please explain, what is an ‘israel hater’?”

            Ben and Carmen are. I don’t have to provide documents. Your own posts document your hatred of the Jewish state. Haven’t you read yourself lately?

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Blah blah blah ….

            Reply to Comment
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