Gandhi on the Separation Wall (Photo: AP / Muhammed Muheisen)
Palestine News and Information Agency (WAFA) reports:
“An Israeli plan to build a statue for the late Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi on an East Jerusalem plot is actually a pretext to seize Palestinian land, the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER) said in a statement Sunday.”
That Israel would erect a statue in honor of the great indigenous nationalist, anti-colonialist, and practitioner of non-violence speaks to either its complete lack of self-awareness and blindness to the appalling irony of its proposal or to its profound sense of humor. Recall not only what Director of Policy and Political-Military Affairs at the Israel Ministry of Defense, Major General Amos Gilad, told U.S. officials that “we don’t do Gandhi very well” when discussing peaceful West Bank demonstrations and anti-occupation protests, but also what Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi himself had to say in 1938 (in part) about the imposition of Zionist colonization of Palestine:
The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after return to Palestine. Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?
Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.
The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French. If the Jews have no home but Palestine, will they relish the idea of being forced to leave the other parts of the world in which they are settled? Or do they want a double home where they can remain at will? This cry for the national home affords a colourable justification for the German expulsion of the Jews.
I am not defending the Arab excesses. I wish they had chosen the way of non-violence in resisting what they rightly regarded as an unwarrantable encroachment upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.