Memo to our readers: If you missed chapter one it is because 'Famous
Amos', the author has yet to grant us the permission to print his letter.
And we are not at liberty to identify our 'Famous Amos', only to tell you
that he is an Israeli of some stature in Journalism.
Dear Amos: We at NileMedia make no bones about practicing advocacy journalism.
Although I am not a Palestinian, I am Egyptian-born and have long taken
an interest in Arab-Israeli matters. As for PR, well that happens to be
an Israeli specialty. I am not a publicist. I am a pamphleteer and an honest
one at that.
I am well acquainted that you have some of the most balanced editorial
policies in Israel. But I did notice that you seem to have an exclusively
Jewish staff. Let the Arabs of Israel into your newsroom and let them vent
the grief in their hearts to your readers. From where I stand, Israelis
are always talking amongst themselves about how to deal with their 'Arab'
I have a rather different take on resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
If it were just about land for peace then what is there to bargain about.
The Palestinian need both and it will be finally up to Israel do decide
the amount of the land and the quality of the peace. The cafes in Tel Aviv
seem as relaxed as ever. Peace is not absent behind the 1948 lines. So,
Israel has Peace at home and troubles in the colonies. Israel has had thirty-three
years to come to terms with the fact that these people will not disappear.
The Palestinians are carrying very deep collective scars. It is not just
that Israel vacated them from their ancestral homes or the agony of having
two generations living under occupation, in exile or as a minority in Israel.
It is that the whole world stood by and allowed it to happen. Fine speeches
have been made, but when push came to shove, Israelis have always been
left to have their way with the Palestinians.
Then there is the matter of denying what was inflicted on these people.
At some point down the line, Israelis will have to deal with the fact that
their history is not just a history of being victims to Nazi thugs. It
is also a history that has manufactured millions of Palestinian and Arab
victims. It is a history where the native people have been demonized beyond
human recognition. That is what allows Israeli tank crews to fire 800mm
shells at the Palestinians resisting occupation with stones.
Moving on, consider the fact that Israel has a man like Sharon in public
life. How disgraceful is that? That he has ascended to the highest rank
in the Likud party should trouble every Israeli. You might have heard of
how Netenyahu was shouted down in the Bay Area. They would not hear him
and he was given a police escort to the Airport. Sharon's treatment was
different only because he was in New York and hosted by Rubert Murdoch,
a man whose media properties include FOX and the New York Post.
How could anyone expect the Palestinians to negotiate with a man like
Sharon. You know his history. What exactly is the difference between Sharon
and Haider? Haider, the right-wing Austrian maverick has only practiced
the rhetoric of violence and national chauvinism? Sharon has done the deed
and would do worst if given the chance. In many other countries he would
be considered guilty of inciting hate crimes. How does a man who had a
hand in the three day massacre at Sabra and Shatilla become the head of
the Likud in the year 2000?
One way or the other, Israel will have to come out of its intoxicated
stupor and come to terms with the legacy of Zionism, a legacy that must
be confronted, dealt with and put to rest. Enough damage, already. So,
Israel can continue to win the PR battle in Tel Aviv and New York, but
what is needed is to win the hearts and minds of the Palestinians, Something,
the Israelis have been reluctant to do out of fear of what it might do
to their national 'self-rightous' character.
In the next forty days, every Israeli should be encouraged to read a
history book about the Palestinians. One that is not censored or published
by the Israeli state. There has been enough recycling of historic mythology
that only adds salt to fresh wounds. No people, certainly the Palestinians,
will ever accept a version of history that maligns them and sends out the
message that "you deserved it". They did not come to you looking to usurp
your lands, you came to dispossess what was then a peasant society. It
was wrong and every Israeli government has put its portion of poison into
the vile mix they serve the Palestinians.
Perhaps, you are more comfortable talking amongst yourselves and affirming
each other's conclusions. Besides, how can you break this kind of news
to your children? They too must be allowed to grow in an environment saturated
with Zionist mythology. Otherwise they might not be able to stare a Palestinian
in the face, much less mow them down with tank shells.