Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hear, Israel

by José Arregi (English translation by Rebel Girl)
August 13, 2014

The truce is not enough. The blood of innocent children, women, civilians of Gaza, and even the despairing blood of its militiamen cries out against you from the bottom of the ruins, from the root of the tragedy. You, Abel of many crimes throughout history, have become Cain for your Palestinian brothers. The roles have switched. Through them, the blood of Abel cries to you. And their cry will not cease until their pain no longer hurts you, until you respect their dignity, recognize their rights, and repair their ruins.

Also of them, not just of you, the Burning Infinite One spoke, when He said to Moses from the burning bush: "I have witnessed their affliction, I have heard their cries, I know their suffering. I will come down to release them. Go and set them free."

You will not have peace until you do them justice. You will not be free until you free your Palestinian brothers and sisters, enslaved and slaughtered by you, bombarded from land, sea and air, after you have locked them in that miserable strip 40 km long and 7 km wide where almost two million people live overcrowded, in the devastated remains of what was their land for millennia, now a prison and a tomb.

Hear again the oracles of your ancient prophets, beacons and watchtowers of world history. Second them, even if it's only the law of retaliation: "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", a humanitarian law when your ancestors made it, as it would curb excessive revenge: "If someone tears out one of your eyes, don't tear out both of his." You, however, for each one of your dead soldiers, have killed 30 Palestinians -- mostly children, women and civilians -- and you still consider that ratio unacceptable.

Jesus of Nazareth, another of your own, a compassionate rebel prophet, went much further: "Don't return evil for evil." And what's more: "Love your enemy. And when someone strikes you on one cheek, turn the other one to him as well." Was Jesus crazy? Is such a principle applicable in policy? Maybe it isn't. But what use is policy that isn't inspired by compassion? Look what revenge leads to. Look where we're going, where you're going.

You say: "We have the right to exist as a people, to have a land and live secure in it." You're right. Absolutely right. You have suffered enough for thousands of years. You have been deported, exiled, persecuted. You have been exterminated. Your consciousness of being a people and the history of the horrors you've endured are your argument, and it's unquestionable.

Well, today the fulfillment of your right to live in peace in your land is in your hands more than in anyone else's. But hear, Israel: You will never achieve it as long as your policy and those of your allies deny the same right to your sister nation. The land that the UN granted you exclusively in 1948 was a land inhabited by others, and there originated this tragic confrontation of rights, which the unequal and unending war between the arrogant violence of your winning nation and the desperate violence of the vanquished, invincible in their despair, has turned increasingly tragic and insoluble. But after 66 years, it's as clear as the waters of Hermon that neither your state violence nor the violence of Hamas is the solution. Rather, both need each other to legitimize their common goal: the elimination of the enemy. You're going to hell on the same road.

Will there be no other horizon than a shared hell, then? That depends on you, Israel, even more than on the Palestinians. Comply with UN resolution 242, which has been reiterated over and over, and always violated by you, supported by your powerful friends. Return to the 1948 borders, abandon the territories occupied in the 1967 war, dismantle the settlements, agree to share the capital of Jerusalem, seek the most fair and reasonable solution possible for the 5 million Palestinian refugees. If you want to, you can do it.

Look at the children of Gaza, all orphans, who, nonetheless, play on the beaches and among the ruins of their homes. They can't do it, nor do they know how, but their eyes reveal the only just solution to you. And listen to your best citizens who demonstrate in your streets against the criminal and senseless policy of your government. They can't either, but they know the only way. They, and the children of Gaza, will teach you how you can live in peace in your land.

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