Andrea, a Jewish girl born in America after the Holocaust, was disturbed by the tales of bloodletting and other malignancies. Growing up in New York, she grew up with girls like Andrea who emerged after World War 2 into the American mainstream. As a teenager, she would spot tattoos from death camps on their forearms and instantly connect them to photos of Auschwitz gas chambers.
Just after Cast Lead concluded in 2009, two humanitarian workers were walking 20 meters behind a Palestinian mother and her two girls as they left Gaza. They were dropped off by their Palestinian friend about a half-mile before a fortress wall and trudge towards it through rubble and trash left by Israeli bulldozers. They eventually got channelled into a tunnel of hydraulic turnstiles and led through it by a network of intercoms issuing remote commands.
As they approached the wall, they were exposed to floodlights and pens, plexiglas holding pens with green and red lights indicating if they could proceed from one pen to the next. They then saw profiles of clerks who controlled the place, peering down on movements in the pens and conveyors alongside which carried away personal belongings for other unseen searches. From the pens, they proceeded into the whir of the 360 degree full-body scan, flashed up in all its originality onto screens before those same clerks.
Andrea’s reaction to the Israeli occupation of Gaza was a stark contrast to the Israelis’ ability to manage such a confinement for humans. The author has been visiting Gaza for three decades, and Andrea’s reaction was normal. The Israelis have been able to construct and manage such a confinement for humans, which is described as an open-air prison with no exit, land, sea, or air. The author believes that Gaza is a blasphemy and stains the Jewish story, as it is not a homeland in commemoration for all those who have suffered since Christians first proclaimed they had killed Christ.
The author also highlights the arrogance of Israeli soldiers at West Bank checkpoints and the grieving Palestinian farmers in the valley below. The author believes that this can destroy Israel before missiles from Palestine can. The author believes that the Israelis’ actions in Gaza can be seen as a blasphemy and stains the Jewish story. The author believes that the Israelis’ actions can destroy Israel before missiles from Palestine can.
The author argues that most Arab states and citizens do not care about Palestinians and their “open air prison” and often pen them up on a regular basis. Palestinians are often seen as vanguards in the liberation narrative, but they are stigmatized by dictators as too clear for their own good. Palestinians disrupt the status quo and have been used as a convenient cause célèbre to quell domestic strife with foreign war. In Lebanon, the author witnessed Israeli tanks entering Tyre, and in Tunisia, Habib Bourguiba welcomed Palestinian warriors as they disembarked at the port of Bizerte. The Palestinians were eventually relieved of their arms and trucked away into the deserts of central Tunisia, effectively neutering them.
Across the Levant, Palestinians are contained, constricted, and often penned. Arab nations abuse and use them, and if Israel had not existed, it would have been part of the foundation for Arab autocracy, which stole citizens’ freedoms and allowed little to put in their stomachs.
The autocrats in the Middle East, both before and after the Tahrir conflict, are duplicitous about Palestinians, but their “street” cares about “occupation” and Arabs as “subservient.” This is evident in the western narrative, which has supported monarchs and emirs who sit on the world’s hydrocarbons and are more reviled by the Arab street than Jews. Symbols, such as American tanks near Mecca and Britain and the US as steadfast allies of a twentieth-century national implant in Arabia, can incite the Arab people and humiliate them.
The “Jew Crusader” epitaph, used by zealots across the Arab world just before they pull the trigger, is convenient for autocrats but also unprompted, inciting the street to their feet. This is what swells the ranks of the Arab warriors, despite most of the nations they bore them being fabrications of European cartographers themselves. Israel is western, European and American-sourced, adapted to its tragic historical circumstances, and has swallowed up a large share of Arab soil and humiliated the Arab effort to constrain them. The “Jew Crusader” was and is the Arab link between Israel and the Crusades, the seizure of property by foreigners and the expectation that Israel will follow the same trail as the Crusaders.
The author discusses the recent events in Tahrir, Egypt, where the people of these countries are no longer afraid of the West. They believe that this is due to the removal of the autocrats and the dominance of Anglo-Saxon tribes, with Israel and the Gulf states being the greatest current affront to this resolve. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, educated at the University of Southern California, was born out of this awakening and presided over a country in shambles. He aimed to restore dignity and deal with Egypt’s despair, tourism defunct, and the unfaithful army. Morsi believed that Gaza should not stoke the street but should provide jobs and opportunities. He hoped that an un-careful militancy in Gaza would not lead the Arabs out of the wilderness they have suffered since Sykes Picot.
The author also discusses the role of Hamas in Gaza, stating that it is part of an “American creation” that has come back to bite the US. In the mid-1980s, the author was part of a team of relief workers managing welfare programs in Gaza, funded by the US State Department. Hamas was chosen due to their credibility at the community level and their challenge to the PLO, which was considered a terrorist organization. In 2006, Hamas won a free and fair election, largely due to their community welfare programs.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) faced a significant challenge when the US government deemed Hamas untouchable, leading to a conundrum for American aid in Gaza. Hamas maintained some tenuous bona fides but remained squeezed between Salafists who feared Armageddon and educated Gazans who were modern. The organization often glorified child martyrs and reviled modernism, with one eye on Islamic Jihad and the other on its need not to sever its ties to Egypt.
The author hopes that Gazans can dilute their militancy and augment its influence with economic investments, egress through ports and airports, and presenting a’swords to plowshares’ alternative. This would allow Israel to take a defining risk, with the US at its back, to allow for a viable and independent West Bank/Gaza unity.
In times of great tumult, the heretofore unimaginable can get a foothold, and this is an era of unprecedented tumult in 2023. The Palestinian Diaspora, with 500k strong in Chile, 250k in the United States, and 160k in Germany, is often silenced. However, many Americans fear being on homeland security’s list of persons inimical to national security, similar to the Hollywood blacklists as a new breed of McCarthyism against Arab Americans rears its ugly head.