Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Redeeming Palestine, in Tel Aviv - by Dror Eydar

...Before the demonstration, the head of the Israeli office of the New Israel Fund, Mickey Gitzin, urged Israelis to attend the demonstration because "the future of the Israeli Left depends on a Jewish-Arab partnership." Israeli Author Nir Baram wrote that "without the Palestinian citizens of Israel, the Left has no power, no [political] bloc." After Saturday's demonstration, the future of the Israeli Left is questionable.

Image result for tel aviv demonstrationDror Eydar..
Israel Hayom..
13 August '18..
Link: http://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/in-tel-aviv-aiming-to-redeem-palestine/


It is not nice to generalize. So a handful of nationalist Arabs in Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv chanted "In blood and fire we will redeem Palestine," and a handful of others waved the PLO flag, and another handful quoted the late Yasser Arafat as saying a million martyrs are marching toward Jerusalem. That is a lot of handfuls.

Reading the accounts of Saturday's demonstration against the nation-state law may give the impression that it was a peaceful, pleasant protest for equality against a tyrannical, violent regime.

But here, for the benefit of those who refuse to see and hear, let us take a look at the organizer of the demonstration – the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee – and examine its opinion of Israel. It will help us understand why the New Israel Fund, Meretz, and Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken were all in attendance.


In 2006, the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee published a comprehensive "vision paper," which every Jew who values life must read.

It opens with: "Israel is the outcome of a settlement process initiated by the Zionist-Jewish elite in Europe and the West and realized by colonial countries contributing to it and by promoting Jewish immigration to Palestine, in light of the results of the Second World War and the Holocaust."

According to the committee, Jews have no history in this land, no religious or cultural heritage that is thousands of years old. We are nothing but foreign invaders, European colonialists who conquered land that was not theirs. Israel is the result of a colonialist plot hatched by the Jewish elites with the help of the Europeans who wanted to "compensate" us for the Holocaust.


The underlying assumption held by the authors of this document, which they define as "crystallizing facts," is that "the Palestinian Arabs in Israel are the indigenous people of the country and have a historic and material relationship with their homeland emotionally, nationally, religiously and culturally. They are an integral vital and inseparable part of the Palestinian people."

So the Arabs who demonstrated in Rabin Square on Saturday are, in their view, the "original" inhabitants of this land. Unlike us, the foreign invaders, they have emotional, religious and cultural attachments to the land. And of course, they are part of an ancient Palestinian-Arab nation that has lived here since the dawn of humanity.

American author Mark Twain must have been mistaken when he toured the region in 1867 and saw a sparsely populated land.

As I have written many times in the past, the Muslim conquerors arrived in the seventh century from the Arabian Peninsula, and over the centuries forced much of the Jewish population to convert to Islam, and expelled the rest. Sure. Original inhabitants.


Between the chants of blood and fire and pillars of smoke in the town square, which was turned into the Palestine redemption square for a night, people were talking about equality. But contrary to the empty words spewed by Opposition Leader MK Tzipi Livni, who called for the nation-state law to be revoked in the name of equality, civil equality already exists for all citizens of the state. Is there better proof of equality than a group of Israeli citizens waving enemy flags in the heart of Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew city, without hindrance? Just because they have convinced themselves that this is an "apartheid state" does not mean that it is.

Legal equality also exists already. If Jews had disrupted the blood and fire demonstration in the square or in any way disturbed the nationalist bacchanalia there, they would surely have been arrested. Democracy remains intact.


So what equality were the demonstrators talking about? What are they actually demanding? Here are some of the demands listed in the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee's vision paper:

- "An official recognition of the collective Palestinian Arabs' existence in the state and their national, religious, cultural and language character, and recognition that they are the indigenous people of the homeland."

- "Recognition of the Palestinian Arab rights of complete equality in the state on a collective national basis."- "Guarantee of self-rule of the Palestinian Arabs in the fields of education, religion, culture and media and recognizing their right to self-determination with respect to their collective life complementing their partnership within the state."

- "Guaranteeing the right of the Palestinian Arabs to have open and free relations with the rest of the Palestinian people and the Arab nation."

- Guaranteeing the rights of the Palestinian Arabs in issues obliterated in the past such as the current absentees (refugees in their homeland) and their right of return; the Islamic Waqf (endowment); unrecognized Arab villages and land confiscation.

- Official acknowledgment of the historical injustice against the Palestinian Arabs in this country and against the Palestinians in general and a guarantee to end this injustice and correct its continuous disastrous consequences.

Is that clear enough? They do not want only civil and individual rights, they want a "collective national equality" and a return to the "unrecognized Arab villages" and to the "confiscated land." In other words, they want to destroy the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, and turn it into a binational or even multinational state – in effect, an Arab state.

For years, we have been conditioned to feel uncomfortable saying this, because it makes us sound "radical." But the radicals are the people who wrote this vision paper, not us.


This general idea, in its purest form, was clearly represented in an Arabic post published online by Israeli Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (in Arabic) before the protest.

"Challenging the nation-state law without challenging the Zionist ideology would be futile," Zoabi wrote.

"Let's make the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee demonstration a success in uniting against the nation-state law, and then work together to make it part of an entire initiative against Zionism."

Did you hear that, you useful Jews who marched in the square?

Later in the post, Zoabi detailed the principles behind the demonstration, including "no Israeli flags."

Moreover, "the demonstration is staged by the Palestinian owners of the homeland. Anyone who wants to express solidarity with us against the law, is welcome to do so within our guidelines."

Zoabi obviously sees the demonstration a strategic turning point with the power to change the entire Palestinian cause. She is enthusiastic about the way she and her buddies have shaped a "civil idea" she calls the "liberation project," and claims the Israeli establishment does not know how to confront it.


In her post, Zoabi also said the demonstration was being organized by the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee and "therefore, there will not be any slogans other than those approved by the monitoring committee."

So what say you now? A handful? Really?

Before the demonstration, the head of the Israeli office of the New Israel Fund, Mickey Gitzin, urged Israelis to attend the demonstration because "the future of the Israeli Left depends on a Jewish-Arab partnership." Israeli Author Nir Baram wrote that "without the Palestinian citizens of Israel, the Left has no power, no [political] bloc."

After Saturday's demonstration, the future of the Israeli Left is questionable.

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