At the risk of offending some of my fellow countrymen, I will express my disagreement with what is happening in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. (and I use the term Palestinian Occupation advisedly for it is the accursed Palestinian miscreants who have occupied the sacred land on which our forefathers trod millennia of years ago.) In fact my opinion about those running the Palestinian Occupation for us is rather negative. To be quite frank, they are the stupidest officials on the face of the planet. And believe you me there are stupid officials whichever way you look; need I mention the USA occupation of Iraq or of Saudi Arabia? Ours though take the grand prize for stupidity; they cannot put two and two together. We on this side of the Green Line do all we can to simplify things for them by passing all the necessary and expedient laws for them and they still mishandle everything. Take this Mohammed Allaan for example, the hunger striking Palestinian who is making so much noise we have to deploy the iron dome in the south of the country in another preemptive step for him. And what is his objection to being held in Jail? It is the fact that he is a lawyer and we treat him like other Palestinians which is to say we hold him in administrative detention without trial and extend the period by another six months every time the magic period expires. The first stupidity is why the number six? You are putting so many of them in administrative detention that the six month limit keeps so many court clerks, lawyers and military judges busy with paper work that it is self defeating. What about them, you say? Well, the Palestinians are mostly unemployed anyway. So why not choose a nice round figure like ten or a hundred from the start? Did someone think it was easier to count to six since it was the number of the fingers on one’s hand?
And why the administrative detention in the first place? We just passed a law to put anyone who throws a stone in jail for ten years with no need to prove an intention to harm. And our military courts are quite efficient on this one: 98% of youth who are accused of throwing stones are indicted provided they are proven to be Palestinian. And this Allaan guy is unconscious. So why not put a stone in his hand and have him take a selfie that you find accidentally when you bring him his lunch?
Oh, the hell with it! I forgot that he is on hunger strike in the first place. But we gave you the legal right to force-feed him anyway. You say that is torture and the doctors will not do it? Tell me again! Haven’t you read Eva Illouz’s discourse about the loss of humanity in our hospitals? I am a doctor and I was part of the system; After two decades of trying in vain, I gave up and left defeated. I know the system from the inside! ‘We buried him together,’ as the saying goes. Besides we are talking about Palestinians here! So what is all the talk about ‘human’ rights?
At the risk of boring you, I will tell you the story behind the village saying: It speaks of two merchants who owned a donkey in partnership that they called Sabir – tolerant --, a proper Arabic first name for a man as well as for a young donkey since Arabs classically nickname a donkey Abu-Sabir for putting up with so much abuse. On one of their joint trips their donkey tripped, fell and broke its neck. The two merchants were devastated by the loss. They buried their beloved donkey in a proper grave by the roadside, placed a huge pile of stones over it, and planted a shade tree in the style of the graves of holy men. Passers by started to show their respect by making presents of lit candles and green satin cloth that they hung on the boughs of the tree or over the stone pile. The two merchants liked what they saw and kept their secret to themselves. Years later, on one of their trips, an argument concerning the division of their profits broke out between the two as they sat to rest in the shade of the tree by the holy shrine known far and wide as the “shrine of Sheikh Sabir.” One of the two raised his right hand in the air and swore “by the grave of Sheikh Sabir” that he was telling the truth. The other reached up and pulled his partner’s hand down saying: “We buried him together, remember?”
Let me go back to the stone throwing stupidity: It turns out that we plan to spend millions of Shekels on keeping East Jerusalem teenage boys a little longer at school each day, so that they will have less time to throw stones. Conveniently, most high schools in East Jerusalem are segregated by sex. So they decide that there will be no long school days for girl schools. I call that stupid for a couple of reasons. First girls are the ones behind stone throwing in East Jerusalem. It is the girls raucous applaud of stone sharpshooters that keeps those young men at it all their free time. And contrary to your plans of keeping stone throwing boys longer at school, our sources tell us that most stone throwers are dropouts on the first place. So there!!
More seriously though, the whole mess of occupation and the Israel-Palestine conflict could have been avoided all together from the very start. Had it not been for the exclusivist mindset of the Zionist founders of Israel things could have looked different. Here is an illustration of what I mean: A friend of mine was reminiscing earlier today about the first celebration of Israel’s independence day that he attended. A group of young men and of fully grown ones from our village got in the back of two trucks and drove to Tel-Aviv the night before independence Day. They even took Uncle Hassan, the village’s blind reed pipe player, with them as well as an agile leader of the classic Palestinian group dance, the Dabkah. It so happened that the young man was a refugee from Mi’ar, the 1948 destroyed village that a couple of decades later would became the site of the Jewish settlement of Ya’ad. The municipality of Tel-Aviv had closed one of its widest avenues, Zionism Avenue, to traffic. The group joined the other celebrants from all over the country and started its own spontaneous show forming a circle and proceeding to do their dance with full enthusiasm. Curious onlookers gathered around them, clapping and singing along. Suddenly a strapping young man of huge proportions and a thick beard stepped to the center of the circle, grabbed the reed pipe from Uncle Hassan and wanted to know in Arabic where was the group of dancers from. They told him and he cursed loudly, spat in their direction and threatened violence against them. The circle broke up and they headed to the nearby historic Hassan-Bik Mosque to sleep the night off. The weird sheikh of the mosque let them in on the condition that they had to do the dawn prayer there. My friend doesn’t remember how the rest of the night went or how early they left Tel-Aviv, they all were so ashamed. In response to my disdain and disbelief he explained that that was the first time anyone could leave the village and go to the big city without a special permit. The Military governor had let it be known that no written permits were required and no traffic violations would be issued regardless of how many passengers the two village drivers loaded in their trucks. I remember myself going down to Haifa that night with three high school friends. But we had a vey clear justification: We wanted to see all the Kibbutz girls dancing in their short shorts. What excuse did my friend’s circle of village men, especially the grown-up ones, had, I wondered?
“Remember, we were used to following orders. The police would come and heavily fine any shop in the village that was open on the Holocaust Remembrance Day or closed on Israel’s Independence Day. You had to be open and sell candy, colored balloons and noisemakers. They had us well trained. Someone in our group must have been ordered to go down and celebrate and the rest of us followed. We were like caged birds let loose. You didn’t consider who saw you taking flight or which direction you flew,” my friend explained. “Besides, at the time we all knew that the refugees would return and that Israel would join the Soviet Block and peace and equality between Arabs and Jews would reign.”
Mind you, my friend was and still is a communist. He sees all positive things colored red. But he has a point: The Palestinian community in Israel was as leaderless, unsophisticated and frightened as a group of nursery children abandoned by their attendants. Had someone bothered to give us a warm hug and a bottle we would have settled down and gone to sleep. It took us nearly three decades before we gathered enough courage and trust in each other to stand up together on Land Day and say “NO!” to the government’s continued designs on our land.
“We had a chance to be together for one night with no one to tell us what to do,” my friend added in conclusion. “What was more natural than to join hands and dance the Dabkah? But, at a deeper level, we must have felt guilty. Otherwise how did it happen that we all cowered in front of that bearded Palestinian young man? We all simply folded our tails between our legs and withdrew whimpering. He was strong because he was right.”
Suddenly my friend’s face glowed with an inspired flash of genius:
“I think his name was Mohammed Allaan!”