One of the biggest Zionist propaganda claims is that the Palestinian people hate life and use their children as human shields. Having experienced Palestine first hand from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip I can tell you that this is a wicked lie. The precious love of a mother is as evident in the poverty of the refugee camps and bombed out homes of the Palestinians as it is anywhere else in the world.
Furthermore, despite the daily injustices encountered at all levels of Palestinian life, from local to international, there has always been a surprising amount of optimism. This positive outlook on life and eternal hope has never failed to amaze me, even as someone who has always tried to look on the bright side of life, in the belief that you can achieve far more than those weighed down by negative views.
I'm not sure where the Palestinian people get their optimism from — perhaps it's their faith — but its recognised by many from Westminster to the UN and is evident in their determination to have their children educated at all costs. As for me, I can probably trace it back to some reading I did as an eight-year-old when I found a tatty, dog-eared copy of "Pollyanna" on a shelf at home.
The eponymous lead character in the 1913 best seller by Eleanor Porter is a young orphan who is sent to live with her strict maiden aunt. Central to the storyline is a game that Pollyanna plays; in the "Glad Game" she tries to find something to be happy about no matter how dire the circumstances in reality. She gleefully tells would-be converts to the game how she won a pair of crutches one Christmas in a charity raffle; although she had set her heart on a doll, she declared that she was so happy because she would never have to use the crutches. The feel-good book is set in the early 20th century, so quite how an American Pollyanna would have coped with the grim reality of Palestinian life in Jenin, Ramallah or Gaza is anyone's guess.
Nevertheless, Palestinian children have an enduring optimism and could've invented Pollyanna's favourite game for themselves. I've watched them play in the bombed out rubble of Gaza where their homes once stood. I've also seen them run across the beaches where four youngsters were killed by an Israeli shell not so long ago. Like all Palestinians, these children love life and love each other and it is this special bond which is apparently impervious to the smouldering hatred shown by their Israeli neighbours. It is in this that there are some events which are beyond the scope of the Glad Game and the eternal optimism of children.
I was reminded of that today when this Facebook posting dropped into my inbox. The first image is of a Palestinian young woman with an engaging smile; the photograph radiates happiness and hope. Next to her beautiful picture is another, ugly image; so ugly, in fact, that I felt as though I'd been punched in the stomach when I saw it. The same young woman is lying lifeless, sprawled at an Israeli checkpoint where she was shot by soldiers who were hanging around admiring their evil handiwork.
I have to admit that I was reduced to tears as, once again, I tried to get into into the dark mindset of those who pulled the trigger. What sort of mentality does a person have to have in order to lift up a gun and put a young girl into the crosshairs and then pull the trigger?
A simple message accompanied the photographs on Facebook: "Her smile won't be seen any more. Her name is Sawsan Ali Mansour, 18 years old; she was executed today at Beit Exa military checkpoint by Zionist occupation soldiers; she was killed because she is Palestinian, 23 May 2016."
The Pollyanna Principle doesn't exist in the world of the soldier(s) who killed Sawsan; their only emotion and motivation seems to be hate and playing the hate game is far easier. You just point, aim and shoot without a second thought. You don't even have to sit and think of an excuse to hate someone; their being Palestinian, the other, the Untermenschen as the Nazis used to describe "inferior people", is enough; it makes it all so much easier. In the world of these "Hate Gamers" there's no need to look beyond the target or any need to question your motives or actions; it's a dark, sinister place, Israel, and it is set to get worse — much worse.
There are some uncomfortable stirrings among Israelis themselves over events in recent days. A seismic shift in Israeli politics has seen Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unexpectedly turn his back on a deal to bring the centre-left into his coalition. Instead, he has joined hands with extreme far-right nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, the former night club bouncer from Moldova who wants to introduce the death penalty for Palestinians, but not Jews, convicted of "terrorism".
"What has happened is a hostile takeover of the Israeli government by dangerous elements," former Prime Minister Ehud Barak told Channel 10 TV. Israel, he said, is now "infected by the seeds of fascism." This should be "a red light for all of us regarding what's going on in the government."
According to Reuters, the decision to embrace Lieberman was all too much for Roni Daniel, a veteran military affairs commentator on Channel 2. "I cannot urge my children to stay here," he revealed, "because it is a place that is not nice to be in."
There are those who would argue that the Zionist project has never been a "nice" place to live, which is perhaps why so many Jews around the world choose not to go there and why there's a steady flow leaving the country. Israel now has all the appearances of being a place where only hate will thrive; it is making the whole world a less safe place in the process.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.