Today I resume delving into the untold story of the Palestinian Israeli conflict, as the title of this series of articles suggests. Ever since the Hamas strike against Israelis on 7 October 2023, I have closely followed the unfolding events, also opinions and analyses by Egyptian, Arab, European and American reporters and writers. Among them are those who expose Zionist Israel running wild in Gaza, throwing to the wind international law and the rights of civilians as it persists in its vengeful assault of the people of Gaza. I have made it my business to dig into what Jewish people themselves have to say about this bitter conflict which has extended over three quarters of a century. And I came upon some appalling material.
Today I introduce a serious testimony by Israeli writer and journalist Ari Shavit, a self-described left-wing journalist and anti-occupation peacenik. From 1995 to 2016, he was a columnist at the Israeli daily left-of-centre Haaretz which is issued in both Hebrew and English.
In 2016 Mr Shavit wrote: “Perhaps everything is lost. Perhaps we’ve passed the point of no return. Perhaps it is no longer possible to end the occupation and stop the settlements and attain peace. Perhaps it is no longer possible to rehabilitate Zionism and save democracy and divide the land. But if this is so, there is no longer any point in living in this country. And there’s no longer any point in writing for Haaretz. There’s no longer any point in reading Haaretz either. We must do what Rogel Alpher suggested two years ago: leave the country. Go away. If Israeliness and Jewishness are not vital components in our identity, and if we have a foreign passport not only in the technical sense but in the spiritual one – that’s it. We must say goodbye to our friends, pack our bags and move to San Francisco or Berlin. And from there, from the land of the new German chauvinism or the land of the new American chauvinism, we must quietly observe Israel taking its last breath. We must take three steps backward and watch the Jewish democratic State sink into oblivion.
“But perhaps all is not lost. Perhaps we haven’t yet passed the point of no return. Perhaps it’s still possible to end the occupation and stop the settlements and rehabilitate Zionism and save democracy and divide the land.
“But if this is so, the obligation facing Haaretz’s writers and readers is not to spread hatred and not to migrate, but to fight. In a State that is still a democracy, the only way to fight is to communicate with its people. Not to loathe its people or patronise them, but to respect them, listen to them and talk to them. Persuade them. Because neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton will end the occupation. Neither the UN nor the European Union will stop the settlements. The only power in the world that can save Israel from itself is the Israelis themselves.
“So I will continue to strive for the essence, seeking that third way and that Israeli language that will enable us to live and not die.”
Mr Shavit asserts that the Israelis who came to Palestine realise that they are the product of the Holocaust, they were able to convince the world that Palestine is the Promised Land and that the alleged temple is located under the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Western and Jewish archaeologists, among them Israel Finkstein from Tel Aviv University, and the famous British archaeologist Dame Kathleen Kenyon, who conducted excavations in Jerusalem, found no traces of Solomon’s Temple underneath al-Aqsa Mosque. Dame Kenyon had no doubt the sites she excavated were linked to Old Testament narratives, but she drew attention to inconsistencies, concluding for instance that Solomon’s “stables” at Megiddo were totally impractical for holding horses.
Another Israeli writer who recognises the dire plight of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation is the left-wing Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy. In his writings, interviews, and media talks, Mr Levy profoundly expresses how the Israelis have dehumanised Palestinians in order to make it acceptable to treat them in an absolutely inhuman manner, destroying their homes, expelling them from their lands to build settlements there, and killing them without mercy. Is it any surprise then that their children grow up to be freedom fighters? he wonders. Yet they are termed “terrorists”.
These have been opinions written by Jewish writers in an Israeli paper. What better testimonies?
17 November 2023