A Palestinian State like France

                                                                  

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Israeli buffer zone on the horizon.

(Rana Baker)

My story as someone who writes (writer is too good a title for me), emerged from a very small chaotic class some seven years ago. I used to think of myself then as a lion-hearted correspondent who puts on a bulletproof vest and maintains her feet in the middle of ferocious Israeli tanks. I used to imagine my high-pitched tone reporting live-streams that appear as Breaking News on thousands of TV screens.  Somehow, I had been playing and re-playing videos of al-Jazeera’s reporters in my naive head all the time.  

Thanks to Israel, which is the heart of most of my pieces, I received an unexpected e-mail from The Electronic Intifada editors, asking me to start blogging for the website about a week ago. I bounced up with joy and dashed out of the room to announce the news. While my mother labored to produce an over-ecstatic expression, my younger sisters looked at me from the corners of their eyes and rolled them back to their half-filled dishes.

Israel, without which my correspondence dreams wouldn’t have existed and because of whom I blog today, seems to have brought us, too, a mirage called “the State of Palestine.”

Last Friday, my eyes almost pierced the TV and shot my outdated president, Mahmoud Abbas, a scornful look. With his nose crinkled and a grey broom crawling out of his nostrils, he vowed to resume negotiations with Israel only if he was guaranteed full membership in the unwelcoming bosom of the UN. My mouth exploded with curses and I pulled off my rotted socks, balled them, and hurled them at him. Skillfully, they landed on his face. “I wish you could feel it, expired tuna!” I muttered.

He, in his neat suit and air-conditioned home in Ramallah, will agree to discuss “issues” like borders, refugees, and the status of Jerusalem had his dream of a Palestinian state broke out into reality. How would it be possible to reassess borders when he claims that the state of Palestine will be based on the “indefensible” 1967 lines? How credible is his alleged commitment to the Right of Return when millions of neglected refugees are not even being consulted on their fate?  I can clearly see the two faces of the PLO.

When I close my eyes and think of a state, something similar to France winds up my head. A smile escapes my memory and molds itself out on my face. I rejoice at the memory of my legs as they sprinted from Lille (in France) to Brussels, two months ago, unhindered by security-concerned soldiers or humiliating checkpoints.

The complexity of the entire world seems to have crippled off my brain the day I put one leg in Brussels and the other in France. I couldn’t believe that both Gaza and France march over the very same planet.  When I came back to Gaza, I often thought of a Palestinian version of the European Union uniting us with the West Bank, Jordan, and Egypt. I did not dare, however, to divulge such alien thoughts to any of my friends.

But one’s eyes cannot but open. And when they do, reality creeps over my body and snatches everything alien from the air. The state they want me to embrace is one disconnected and disjoined by a racist wall. A state on less than 22% of historic Palestine through which illegal settlements snake and swallow up water and other natural resources. Something that one can call a bantustan. Indeed, something I, we, the majority of Palestinians, cannot afford.  

One hour following Abbas’ speech, last Friday, I, Huwaida Arraf, the co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, and another Palestinian girl were interviewed on BBC World Have Your Say. Three Israelis were also brought in to the show to present their views over the PA’s statehood bid.  I flared up when one Israeli suggested that “a One-State solution means the elimination of Israel.”

Ahead the episode, I had been told that it would be more of a discussion than an interview. But I found myself muted when I died to squirt at the Israeli as he blurted out with lies and baseless information. Arraf, also told me on twitter that she had been gagged at some point.

Coincidently, a few days ago, I was stirred by a comment from someone on a recent piece on my blog accusing me of “yearning for the eradication of Israel.” I think I should learn to accustom myself to such sort of accusations every time I speak in favor of a One State.

Palestine is not Nazi Germany, and the eradication of Israel is not what Palestinians seek to achieve. It is not always right to use statements from history and try to identify them with the present. When Israeli Jews tend to play with history and assume a widespread anti-Semitic fanfare, this is because it serves their vile purposes not because it applies to reality.

The world we were born into did not provide us with many options. Everything is a difficult decision. Sometimes it’s either you travel tomorrow or miss the scholarship forever simply because it was an extraordinary opening of the Rafah Crossing that is not likely to occur more often.   Even if it was your brother’s wedding or the birth of your first child.

Many people here subsist on charities and many live in uninhabitable shacks. There are times when hundreds of frameless bodies and the fractured dreams they carry dive in sewage to the knees.  They would invite neighbors to join them on the rooftops in order to avoid mosquitoes, a scorching weather and an intolerable smell. On better occasions, when the only misfortune is a “normal” power outage, refugees pack the rooftops under the dim light of the moon to share stories and smoke hookah. The lamma (friendly gathering) has always compensated for their wrenches and searing pains.

A refugee’s ultimate dream is to go back to the land on which his ancestors lived respectable lives and feed from the olive groves they cared for. Sometime back into history Palestinians and Jews lived side by side, shared meals, weddings and religious ceremonies. There were times when Palestinians and Jews hoped for a better future alongside each other. Sometime before the state of Israel was created and before hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced across the countries to never return.

Comments

While I am not of Palestinian origin but I am one who believes in the Palestinians from the depth of my being. I know the one state is the one that will be the utopia for both people in the end.

Well done! I am an American and I just found out about what the Palestinians have endured. I only found out because of the Revolution in Egypt. When I look at the situation with American eyes, I think the two state solution sounds good.

It seems to me, that if Palestinians have a state of their own then you could have a better chance at self determination, human rights and freedom. When I look at the situation I see an imposter state posing as Israel. When I first saw that wall, it looked like the Zionists were trying to build a concentration camp.

I wonder if going for a Palestinian state might be the best course. If Palestinians could get out of the control of the Zionist state, I think that would behoove you.

I see how hard hearted the Zionists are, in general. I don't see that the Zionists would ever, on their own, choose to give Palestinians the "right of return". Therefore, I think the best course would be to get out from under Zionist control, Zionist occupation.

It looks to me like the Zionists are doing ethnic cleansing in slow motion. I really believe it would be smart to focus on getting out from under the control of the Zionists. I think a Palestinian state would be smart.

You have the same problem with you leaders that Americans do. Most Americans know, now, that most of our leaders are bought and paid for. I suspect that is the same with yours.

I will say this also, from the reseach I have seen, Zionism has only been around for about a hundred years. It makes me sad that the Israel of the Bible is not the Israel I see there.

I don't know if it is possible for Palestinians to get that land back. I would say to Palestinians to focus on saving yourselves. Apparently, you are dealing with people who are willing to kill for that land. My best advice would be to get out from under the control of the Zionists.

I wish the Palestinians the best and freedom. By the Grace of God, Palestinians will be free.

Though I applaud your sentiments, there is a key factor you are missing. Declaring statehood and acheiving it from the UN will not remove any semblance of the "Zionist control." Israel will continue to control everything just like they are currently doing. The UN statehood bid is a facade to be honest, it will not change anything and only complicates things further without working towards a practical peace. The one state solution is really the only solution, all else will keep the Palestinians in a degraded and unequal status with ultimately Israel still controlling most everything. The best thing to hope for is a single state with equal rights and opportunities for everyone.

I admit that I only know a limited amount about this. When you talk about a single state and equal rights, it reminds me of African Americans' fight for equal rights in America. The only thing is, white Americans (to a large extent) were not actively trying to ethnically cleanse African Americans out of America.

It looks to me like Zionists are doing ethnic cleansing and have people in a concentration camp type situation. If Palestinians got their own state, wouldn't one country have to leave another country? Obviously, that is the piece of the puzzle I am missing.

You are saying that the occupation would continue even if Palestinians had their own country?

That doesn't make sense to me. If Palestinians had their own country next to the Zionist state, it would seem like the Zionist military would have to leave the Palestinian state.

Right now, it looks to me like one group of people is occupying another group of people in one country. Which is like Native Americans were treated. History shows that ethnic cleansing did take place of the Native Americans.

The hope I see, is Palestinians having their own country and telling the occupiers to get the heck out of their country.

From what I see the Zionists are hell bent on having that land. It looks like some of the Zionists really believe they are living in the BC and should be taking the land again. It really is whacked, but they are indoctrinated.

If Palestinians are determined to live side by side with the Zionists then I wish you success. I will quote my mentor here, "There are some people in this world you give a wide berth to." That would be my approach in dealing with the Zionists.

Shayna, you stated, 'It makes me sad that the Israel of the Bible is not the Israel I see there.' Unfortunately, Israel today is very much like the Biblical Israel. The Hebrews came from Egypt and attempted to exterminate the Canaanites and Philistines in order to 'inherit' the land. They were not successful, but they tried to use genocide to conquer the land they coveted. Today is very similar. Israel is violating UN resolutions to control land. Palestinians are killed, their homes destroyed, their movement controlled and they are labeled the bad guys. Israel doesn't want a two state solution. They want the Palestinians to disappear. I have no idea how to resolve this conflict, but I do know that the Palestinians cannot wait for Israel to negotiate in good faith.

What you said is true. May I address what you said. I see where the Torah says God told Israel of the BC to take the land, because the people there were engaged in idolarty/child sacrifice.

I see that the Israelis were supposed to be acting one way according to what I read in the Torah. But now in the AD, I can read that according to Galations 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek..." My problem with the people who claim to be Jews is that: What was commanded back then, is not what is commanded today.

If people who claim to be Jews say they are doing something for God, then they should actually be doing something for God and not trying to wrongly relive the past.

Jews got kicked out of that land in the BC, because despite killing all those people for idolatry Jews still engaged in idolatry. It looks like Zionists are still engaged in idolatry even today, as much of Zionism is secular.

I see Torah Jews who are opposed to the Zionist state. However, I believe that many people who claim to be Jews are trying to wrongly relive that past. I notice that Zionists use scripture, applicable to the past, to try to justify things today.

My point to the Jews, is that what was commanded in the past, does NOT mean that it is commanded for today. I believe the command for today is a command stemming from the Torah. Leviticus 19:33,34 "When an alien lives with you in the land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt..." (If the Jews believe that is their land, then the term "alien" would apply.)

I find the racism inherent in Zionism to be detestable. If I may leave you with this: "I will make those who are of the synagogue of satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars- I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you." Revelation 3:9

Thanks for this plain spoken article that, without vitriol and without leaden dogmatic ideology, explains why the Palestinian civil rights movement must eventually emerge as the hegemonic trend for justice....and peace in the land of Palestine/Israel. I look forward to reading more posts from this fine young writer.

Quote "and the eradication of Israel is not what Palestinians seek to achieve".
Thank YOU Rana for this sentence.

Living in Brussels, I just see your comparison very well, and you are absolutely right !