Collecting figs this morning I listened to the local Arabic Radio out of Nazareth. A major news item reported reactions from the field to the demolition of a newly constructed combined home of a father and his two married sons in neighboring Sakhnin. A near thousand-strong special police force accompanied the bulldozers that snuck in and out of the area in late afternoon through a back road. It is a sign of the new tactics of the state authorities following the recent passage of the Nation-state Law, the commentator thought.
Then the news anchor interviewed Muhammad Barakeh, a senior Arab politician and communist leader in Israel who agreed with his analysis but pointed out that demolition of Palestinian homes in Israel has been on the increase for a while. It now has reached one home every four hours on average in the Negev alone. They then discussed two activities that the High Arab Committee, the public forum that Barakeh heads, had decided to take in response to the new law: a demonstration at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv next week and sending a delegation to raise the issue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. After all, Barakeh explained, the law touches all Palestinians. He added that he had contacted a Palestinian representative in Geneva who expressed his readiness to make all the needed arrangements for the delegation.
Thinking strategically, I wonder which is wiser: to keep quiet altogether or to call the world’s attention to what is happening to me through contacting a representative of the Palestinian National Authority?
Another equally frustrating dilemma was brought up on the air while I continued picking figs: Is it wiser for our 13 parliament members to keep playing along and agitating for equal rights for our Palestinian minority while our majority colleagues continue to pass Apartheid laws? Or should they all submit their collective resignation in protest and expose Israel’s racism to the world? The problem is that the world, whose moral conscience such resignation would target, is not interested as long as it is heroic Israeli against Palestinian villains.
First, I had made up my mind to attend the planned demonstration in Tel Aviv. Then I started to reconsider my snap decision. In the last major peaceful Arab demonstration in Israel the police kneecapped a friend of mine, Ja’afar Farah, while he was in their custody. Let us not act too brave then! I don’t trust the Israeli security services. Especially not on this occasion. The same extreme nationalist religious factions whose compatriot killed Rabin, have pushed for the new law for years. They are sure to send their armed thugs to the Rabin Square. They have gained greater following and influence. They now control Israel’s security forces. Who will stop them, both armed thugs and security officers, from attacking me? I have a few liberal Jewish friends who may attend the demonstrations. Should I encourage them to bring their guns just in case? But what if they were to get upset with me for something I say?
Perhaps I should take some good figs with me. It would be symbolic, brotherly sharing of the fruit of the land. But according to the accepted interpretation of the new law they get the bigger and riper fruit. Judging by their actions so far, my friends will protest loudly but will go ahead and devour the bigger and riper fruit. They won’t consider resigning whatever positions they occupy and leaving the now constitutionally apartheid state they support with their taxes.