In a time of distorted efforts for peace with an unclear vision in sight, a Palestinian writer, Mudar Zahran, tries to envision conventional wisdom by impersonating a man who was involved in Arab Israeli conflict right from the beginning. This is a letter Zahran has imagined Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, would write from the grave to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the current state of affairs and Obama's handling of peace negations as well as other issues.
Death is such a very unique experience that is both humbling and revealing. When one departs your world and comes to the afterlife; beliefs and precipitation change much. Most of us here have revised their views on life before death. This is very difficult as it yields a huge amount of guilt and regrets that most of us here have to endure. On the other hand; earthly life beliefs found to be true in the afterlife are dramatically enforced, as one bears the guilt of not believing enough in what was true.
I know about everything that happens in your world Bibi, I speak to those newly entering our world all the time. I have even spoken to Sheikh Ahmad Yassin on a few occasions, and in his particular case; I could not help but to blame myself for not actually believing more passionately in what I already believed in; as in our world things are clear, with no gray areas.
I have to admit Bibi, I find myself more concerned than ever about Israel’s future and the wellbeing of its citizens. I am even more deeply concerned today than I ever was during the old days when me and my young comrades were in the undergrounds struggling for our dream of a Jewish state.
I believe Israel today is more venerable, as a nation, than it has ever been because of its political leadership’s little consensus of both direction and mission. Don’t be offended Bibi; but when we were a group of young men fighting to establish a country; my friends and I were clear on the definitions of enemies and our goal. I am afraid I cannot say the same about today’s Israeli leadership, as patriotism and courage is only embodied in true knowledge that can only be obtained through establishing the limits of fear and thus identifying one’s strength.
For example, over-tolerating an enemy like Iran is proving itself a disgraceful mistake of Israel’s modern politics. I have come to believe that you, Bibi, Olmert and even Sharon, (whom I once knew as a very courageous young man), you all thought Iran was not a threat significant enough to be vigorously perused; perhaps you all did not think it was worth the big trouble. Instead, you focused on pursing Hezbollah and Hamas, who are merely side effects of the Iranian regime. I’ve lived in Negev Bibi, ask the Bedouins; if you want to kill a snake you have to hit it on the head, not the tail. Encountering Iran is a train that is unmistakably coming that you or anyone succeeding you will have to board. Therefore, I find it disturbing that Israel has been under foreign pressure for self-restraint with Iran, while the Iranians are developing nuclear power.
Bibi, you should ask yourself; have we Jews ever been given too much by anyone to support our right of living in our homeland? You perhaps realize by now that when many of our friends give us any support; it usually holds a great interest for them.
Bibi, you have to understand, thousands of years of our sufferings are not deemed an issue by many people and governments. Everything we have ever achieved, and everything you have under your feet today, has been paid for in our blood.
Don’t get me wrong Bibi, I believe our good friends in the United States and Europe hold the most decent of intentions for Israel, nonetheless, they do not necessarily understand facts on the ground at all times. And we have survived all these years by going our own way on many occasions, in war as well as in peace, even if we have to displease our friends.
I have always been a believer in peace Bibi; nonetheless, I am concerned that our good friends, particularly the Americans, need to listen to us more. I have heard a lot about Mr. Obama; Mr. George Washington talks passionately about him all the time. Obama seems like a nice fellow, yet I am not sure he understands our region.
Bibi, when you talk peace, you have to keep in mind that Arabs will always view the land of Israel as their own; this has been sustained by decades of Arab governments’ propaganda. The Arab’s desire for having all the land of Israel shall never fade away under the current regional set up. Therefore, giving away any piece of our precious land is not only sinful, but also harmful to us as the more we give them, the more we should be willing to give away later as we only ignite their desire for lands not for peace. The only viable solution has always been there Bibi; Arabs must be introduced and settled into neighbouring Arab countries, where they should be integrated and made to feel secure economically and fulfilled politically. Should this idea be entertained by our good friends in the United States and Europe, the Arabs will give up the myth of taking the land of Israel within a couple of generations, and will in make good neighbours.
We also should be the good neighbours to the world we have always been. Israel is not only a state; Israel is the living spirit of the Jewish people. We have to uphold our image to the highest levels. Here, you should remember that keeping Israel’s reputation as the regions only democracy is more important than popularity-catering and ego-satisfying stunts that come at substantial expense for Israel. Honestly Bibi, while I think we should be absolutely unforgiving with terrorists, I still think you should have not provoked all of those good friends of ours to exterminate a second raw Hamas commander, al-Mabhouh.
Keeping our image abroad is not more important by any means than our image at home. Faith is what makes Israel, should its citizens lose faith in their country; everything else will come down. Remember how the USSR evaporated into nothingness when its own leadership gave up on its ideological values?
What faith in our country do you support, Bibi, when one of our youngsters, Gilad Shalit, has been kidnapped by a terrorist group for years? Bibi, you sure agree that our youngsters must be able to feel that their country would do everything to protect them in combat and everything to send them back home safe. I strongly desire to hear that Gilad is going back to his parents. While we should never forgive those with our blood on their hands, I see that we should make the sacrifice of releasing least violent Arab prisoners to bring Gilad back to us, whatever their numbers might be. This must be done in pride as nothing less than a rescue mission.
To conclude; I could only say be careful Bibi, be very careful. The tide is the highest it has ever been, yet our hope remains strong.
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -