A few months ago an article published in Le Zadig highlighted the lack of discussion on Israel at this campus, which I agreed with wholeheartedly. It is a topic we never discuss from the Israeli side, and in most instances all discourse on the subject ends up as an anti-Israeli bashing moment. But perhaps in this article I can illustrate my own private opinion on the subject at hand.
I support Israel’s right to exist as an independent state, though that doesn’t mean I condone every action committed by the Israeli state. It is not perfect, and of course we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking so. What bothers me, however, is the glorification of the Palestinian, or Arab cause, and lifting it up to divine and heavenly proportions.
Keep in mind that the next few sentences are quite general, and that it is not an attack on individual Palestinians and Arabs. When it comes to Palestine, Arabs are the greatest hypocrites you could possibly think of, and do not deserve to be seen as completely innocent. This, I believe, applies to both Arabs and Palestinians themselves.
How come we never talk about the state of Palestinian refugees in other Arab countries like Lebanon, Egypt and elsewhere? Thousands of Palestinians are forced to live insufferable lives in Lebanese refugee camps and are not permitted to integrate into Lebanese society. Until lately Palestinian refugees were banned from over 70 professions in Lebanon, that only Lebanese citizens can access. This number was lowered recently, but the fact remains that for most jobs Palestinians are treated as non-Arab foreigners, even though most of them have lived in Lebanon for decades. This sorry state of affairs just throws fuel at the fire; most Lebanese Palestinians have not, cannot and will not ever receive the Lebanese citizenship, which will force them to continue this miserable existence.
Understandably, Lebanese domestic politics also play a role in the status quo. But the reason behind this unnecessary suffering lies in one major fault, one major ignorant notion; Israel is not going away. In all wars the Arabs fought to rid themselves of the Israelis, they lost time and time again, and they will not win. Regimes will fall in the Arab world, but Israel is still going to be there at the end of the day, and people need to accept this. By refusing to accept the fact of Israel’s existence, most Palestinians who live outside of Israel/Palestine will continue to be treated as “refugees” and not citizens. Whoever thinks Israel is the cruelest ought to look closer at the Palestinians’ so called Arab brothers.
Other Arabs will express great sympathy to Palestinian contestants on TV shows such as Arabs Got Talent, but does this translate into actual support after the applause has ended? It doesn’t and that is another testament to Pan-Arabism’s death.
Let’s also not forget the corruption present in the Palestinian Authority, and the fact that an Islamist government that has gradually managed to decrease women’s right since being elected is in power in Gaza.
What I wanted to illustrate in this short paragraph are some of the things we hardly talk about, or choose to admit. Perhaps we ought to look at the greater picture. Emotions play a key role in situations like this one, especially if a person has suffered at the hands of either side, but highly emotions statements and decisions hardly solve any conflicts. Accept the reality of the situation, and question all sides and forget about ideal notions.
Finally, I hope this anonymous piece will cause more debate about the issue.