I have just finished reading Citizen Strangers by Shira Robinson.
In her book, Shira Robinson, researches and studies Israeli policies toward the state’s own non-Jewish citizens, Palestinians.
The answer to the claim posited by the Ha’aretz headline is, “No”.
They simply have nowhere else to go. Are they to abandon their homes and land and suffer yet another calamity?
Within two years of declaring itself a state, Israel’s non-Jewish citizens were marching in parades, singing and celebrating Israel’s independence day while carrying the Israeli flag.
An outsider could not be blamed for assuming that they loved the state of Israel and wanted to be more Catholic than the Pope. That display alone was significant enough.
But things aren’t always as they appear. Just two years earlier, those same Palestinians who in 1948 were forced to become citizens of the Israeli state were rounded up in town squares and made example of, Lydda, Tantura, and later Kafr Qasim, to name but a few, although the practice was so widespread that every Palestinian village, town or city experienced these practices because Israel wanted to teach these Palestinians a lesson they shall never forget.
“100 athletes sequestered, searched, and interrogated at gunpoint in its soccer stadium after practice. ”
Between 1947 – 1949 the Palestinians in Israel who were rounded up in town squares or in schools, never made it out alive. They weren’t simply sequestered or interrogated. Israel instilled in them enough wrath and fear that they found it safer to put on a smile and march to the band’s tune…….figuratively and literally.
They learned that if they wanted to survive in the new state, they had to put their collective head down and do as they were told. They continue to do so to this day. The military rule that they were subjected to between 1948 and 1966 trained them, like an owner trains a dog, how to be obedient if they wanted to be able to obtain travel permits to get from one town to the next, to get to their places of employment or to visit relatives. These conditions and practices have been seared into their memory. Isn’t that the same language that Israel still uses with regard to Palestinians in the occupied territories?
Has anyone adopted a rescue dog who’d been abused and neglected? Have you noticed how that dog has a psychological trauma, how it tucks its tail between its legs, cries and scurries away at the slightest sign of perceived — perceived — displeasure with its actions? That’s what Israel has taught it’s non-Jewish citizens. It has taught them that if they want the most basic necessities of survival, shelter, food and water, like a pet dog, they had better roll over or stand at attention whenever instructed to do so.
In addition, the thousands upon thousands of acres that Israel had confiscated and continues to confiscate from its own non-Jewish citizens has squeezed them into ghettos, leaving them financially, economically and geographically burdened. What happens when there is a land shortage and a population growth with nowhere to build? Property values skyrocket. When property values skyrocket and salaries remain the same, these non-Jews find themselves descending deeper and deeper into poverty. They are banned from Jewish only towns. Where else can they go?
Any Palestinian citizen of Israel who dares to practice his allegedly democratically given right to simply speak up and voice his opinion against injustice, who dares ask for equal rights, who dares legally challenge the state’s discriminatory laws, faces the wrath of the Israeli tax authority. Many entrepreneurs and businesses have been bankrupted into homelessness and obscurity without any oversight or legal recourse. Israel prefers they work in the services industry, remain obedient and financially dependent.
So why the fig leaf?