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One land, two laws: Welcome to the ‘Jewish state’ of Israel

Palestinian poet, Dareen Tatour [Twitter]
Palestinian poet, Dareen Tatour [Twitter]

Few people in the Arab World and Palestine had heard of Darin Al-Tatur before last Tuesday. This Palestinian poet has rarely caught the attention of critics, or literary magazines, till an Israeli court in Nazareth decided to sentence her to five months in prison. Her house in the Upper Galilee area was stormed frequently by Israeli security forces and she has been intimidated for the last 30 months. Her crime: Writing a poem, in 2015, urging Palestinian people in the West Bank to resist the Israeli occupation.

Darin is one of the Palestinians who stayed to their homes when the Zionist movement occupied Palestine and decided to established a state and homeland on it. She, like one and half other million Palestinians living in Israel, are referred to merely as Arabs, by the authorities. She and the rest of her community were forced to hold the Israeli citizenship. She is denied the freedom to lament the destruction of her homeland and the tragedy of her people, and asked to celebrate it instead, under the name of “Israel Independence Day”.

On 2 June 2014 a group of young Israelis kidnapped a Palestinian boy, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, while he was walking to a nearby mosque to perform dawn prayers, put him in a car and took him to a forest where they beat him and forced him to sallow petrol, poured more on him and set him a blaze. His family immediately informed the local police of his disappearance. His charred body was found a few hours later.

Read: Israel’s arrest of Palestinian writer ‘desperate attempt to silence free speech’

In late July 2015 in the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank, a firebomb was thrown at a Palestinian family home. Eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabsheh and both his parents perished in the arson attack on their home, his brother, five-year-old Ahmed, survived but was left with life threatening injuries. The attackers were Israeli settlers.

Drin reacted to these crimes and wrote a poem asking her people not to relent and lose hope, it read “Resist my people resist …”. She posted it on Facebook.

Where the killers of the Dawabsheh family are sentenced to home arrest, and the killer of Abu Khdeir was about to escape a life sentence for being diagnosed as mentally troubled, Drin gets five months in prison.

This week six Palestinians were arrested for similar reasons. Sheikh Raed Salah, one of the most notable Palestinian community leaders, was sentenced to months in prison for denouncing the continuous systematic Israeli aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Muslim community’s third holiest site.

Leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah (C) raises his hand as he appears in court on 5 July 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah (C) raises his hand as he appears in court on 5 July 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Yet, it is this kind of pressure that led to the emergnce of the most prominent Palestinian literary figures, such as Mahmoud Darwish, Samih Al-Qasim, Tawfiq Ziad and Emile Habibi.

Many Israelis indeed did not really know how ugly and repulsive the creature called “the State of Israel” actually is, until just recently. Many of them really believed that it is an exception, a beacon of light in the darkness of the Middle East.

Self-proclaimed leftists, and Palestinian Druze community, suddenly woke up to the fact that they live in a Jewish state, where the Arabic language is no longer an official language, and self-determination is guaranteed only for Jews even if they have never seen the country in their lives.

Read: Israel arrested 3,000 Palestinians since start of 2018

Secularists, are losing ground day by day to religious Jews, who now occupy many top posts in the army and other state organisations. Is Israel changing or merely exposing its true face? People may differ widely on this question, but if there is no equality in law, people are banned from expressing their views, “some people are more equal than others”, religion determines if you are a citizen or not, then it is not a democratic nor a modern state.

I always believed that Israel needs no enemy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his likes are the worst enemy Israel can dream of. Their stubbornness, short-sightedness, stupidity and lack of moral integrity will lead to Israel’s ultimate doom. What Israelis seem not to be aware of is that discrimination is like a whirlpool, it starts big but ends so small that it can accommodate only Netanyahu, and may be his wife. In that sense, Israelis should thank Palestinians because without an outside enemy, they would be engaged in eliminating one another.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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