‘Do you know how hard I work to control the rage inside of me?’

Israel/Palestine
on 100 Comments

Yesterday on this site, responding to the murders of the four settlers in the West Bank Tuesday, Seham, a Palestinian-American, offered a list of settler attacks on Palestinians. David Samel, who has taken a strong stance against violent resistance, responded in a comment:

Seham, I have no doubt that many settlers, especially the ones who are in the WB for ideological rather than economic reasons, are unapologetic racists who ruthlessly exercise their power to make life miserable for the Palestinians. They even resort to murder. However, this was not a spontaneous attack by a Palestinian driven by a last-straw incident to attack one of these cruel racists. This was a pre-planned murder of random settlers executed by an armed group (there may be some question as to whether it was Hamas after all.) The people who undertook this operation coolly decided that it was the proper course of action for reasons I cannot fathom. Assuming all of your stories are true (and I don’t have the slightest reason to doubt any), it could not have been a rational decision designed to alleviate the sadistic and cruel conditions imposed by the settlers upon the Palestinians.

Seham responded to Samel later. Her comment described an incident that she has not spoken about before here, which is why we post it:

David, let’s assume that they were Hamas members or sympathizers. How insulated do you think Hamas is from daily Israeli/PA aggression, violence and detention in the West Bank?  Everyone knows about the siege in Gaza and how it affects everyone there, but, that doesn’t mean that Hamas members or sympathizers in the West Bank have it much better.  Surely you know what life is like for the average Palestinian, so do you think that Hamas members are somehow detached and unaffected by the occupation?  They, their families and their property are constantly being targeted by either the Israelis or their Palestinian appendage in the West Bank.  Besides, things are not getting any better for Palestinians in either the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem and there isn’t any chance for freedom in the future, not with the expansion of the settlements going full steam ahead.  And as the settlements grow, so does the repression of all the Palestinians living around them.  Expect then, for more "cool headed" people to snap, expect that they might be Hamas or, that they might be Fatah members who resent the shift in the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank that occurred post Oslo.

Every single Palestinian in the territories has a relative that was either killed, arrested, held up at a checkpoint, or had something they owned stolen by Israelis.  

My own Palestinian story is as follows: my father had a heart attack years ago in the West Bank.  Doctors said if he would have gotten to the hospital in time, he would have survived. The taxi that was taking him to the hospital was held up at a checkpoint. We never got to see him before he died. I live in the U.S., I have not experienced a scintilla of what Palestinians living in the territories have. And do you know how hard I have to work to control the rage I feel inside of me? How Palestinians living over there do it, every single day, I can’t understand.

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