Sayed Kashua, the award-winning Palestinian author of Dancing Arabs, Let it be Morning and Exposure, who famously writes in Hebrew, has branded the idea of co-existence between Israeli Jews and Palestinians “a lie.”
Kashua, who writes a regular satirical column in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, used his most recent contribution to describe the experience of Palestinian parents in Jerusalem after the kidnapping and murder of Muhammad Abu Khudair earlier this week.
In the wake of calls for violent revenge against Palestinians coming from all quarters of Israeli society after the killing of three Israeli youths in the occupied West Bank, he declared the impossibility of co-existence under the State of Israel and that “this is really the end, it’s finished.”
Fearing for his children’s safety, he writes: “I should never have let them go to their day camps, not today, not now. I left their big sister at home. She’s already a teenager, and it just could have been too much.”
According to Kashua’s column, he wants to leave Jerusalem, bringing forward travel plans to leave for the United States, where he is to take up a position at the University of Illinois for the academic year 2014-15.
“I will do whatever it takes not to come back here,” he adds.
The author once branded ”The Greatest Living Hebrew Writer” states that he may even renounce the language: “I really have to work on my English over there. I absolutely have to start reading and writing only in English … I don’t know how much longer I can go on writing in Hebrew, I don’t know how many Hebrew speakers will still want to listen to me; I’m not sure there will be any point left to addressing them.”
While the characteristic feel of Kashua’s columns make it hard to tell whether he is serious about leaving Jerusalem and the Hebrew language for good, his most recent words are hard-hitting.
“I will write in English about the country I abandoned,” he predicts, adding, “I will try to be accurate about the details in the hope that someone over there will believe me … I will write about a far-off land in which children are shot, slaughtered, buried and burned, and the readers will probably think I am a fantasy writer.”
Kashua is also well-known in Israel for penning the TV series Avoda Aravit (Arab Labor), a barbed look at middle-class Palestinians trying to function in Israeli society.
In his recent column, however, Kashua states that: “My attempt at living together with others in this country was over. That the lie I’d told my children about a future in which Arabs and Jews share the country equally was over … I’d lost my small war, that everything people had told me since I was a teenager was coming true before my eyes.”