By Mazin Qumsiyeh
(source:Human Rights Watch Newsletter)
Israel named a new ruler on Palestinians this week. Eitan Dangot (to be promoted to Major General) will direct the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) in the Israel army. He is certainly more important and more powerful than Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad. Nothing goes in and out of the occupied areas or moves between its cities without his approval. No construction, no economic activity, no education, no transport, and no health care are done without this overlord agreeing to it. He is in a line of Zionists managing Palestinian affairs that go back to Herbert Samuel in 1920 (who had absolute executive and legislative powers).
Samuel states in his memoires that he was appointed by the British government not only with his known Zionist sympathies but largely because of these sympathies. Palestinians responded by mass resignation from government jobs, by strikes, protests, petitions, and pleas for change. But some notable elites met with him 7 July 1920 despite a call to boycott. Later he fired the principled mayor of Jerusalem Musa Kadhim Alhusaini and appointed the more compliant Ragheb Nashashibi (sounds familiar?)
According to news reports, Israel arrested several people praying at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. One of those was “a Gaza man was detained for being in the area without a permit.” (and yet Zionist propaganda still regurgitates the myth that the apartheid walls are for security!). Jimmy Carter joins the fast for Gaza. Some Palestinians spend all their waking hours planning how to defeat fellow Palestinians. Israeli papers leak the news that Obama administration is giving up on the idea of a settlement freeze in the illegally occupied areas.
Settler population surpasses 500,000. Some are popping Champaign bottles celebrating the final victory of the Zionist project and the end not only of the physical Palestine but the idea of Palestine. Some of the victims as in all colonial situations get acclimatized and collaborate with their oppressors. Is this a Kafquesque/Orwellian world we live in or is that itself suggestive that a normal world can exist. Perhaps it is the way it always is: nature red in tooth and claw, a dog-eat-dog world and we do have big dogs and little dogs (and parasites that transfect dog brains making them rabid).
But then again, nature indeed has everything and unlike creatures born into who they are, humans have choices to be like hyenas feeding on dead carcasses or like flowers giving nectar and beauty to earth. Sometimes the choice to be like the tapeworm or the honeybee seems to some individuals not so obvious. Bees are natural workers who live and die anonymous and unfelt as individuals while one tape worm can be prosperous, felt, and have an individual difference in its habitat. (sorry, this is the biologist in me speaking).
But back to the human realm, we can also choose to be a war criminal like Peres, Kissinger, and Hitler or by a peacemaker like Desmond Tutu and Mahatma Gandhi (and anything in between). We can choose to be racist claiming Arabs or Muslims are this or that (or Jews for that matter) or we can embrace our common humanity and failings and call for coexistence and annulment of all ideologies of racism and segregation (e.g. Zionism).
We do have choices. In these choices lies our true freedom and liberation as human beings. Going with the flow/fashion of “our tribe” (us vs. them) lay our enslavement. Those of us who refuse enslavement have what Mahmoud Darwish called “an incurable malady”: hope.
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