Point-blank: A moment of truth

Mohamed Salmawy
Tuesday 17 Oct 2023


Has the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation brought about a moment of truth that will cause Israel to snap too from its blind hubris and face the reality that it has attempted to ignore for so long? Voices have cried out from within Israel itself calling for the recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people. Some critics have gone so far as to caution that continuing to ignore those rights courts the destruction of Israel itself. “Israel breathes its last” is the title of an article by the Zionist writer Ari Shavit. Any Arabic newspaper that published a title like that would have been ridiculed. 

The recent Palestinian strike did alert some rational thinkers in Israel to the fact that Israel’s security and survival are contingent on fulfilling the Palestinians’ legitimate rights. But Shavit fears that Israel has passed the point of no return and it may no longer be possible for it to end the occupation, stop settlement expansion, or achieve peace – and this threatens its demise. He acknowledges that ever since they came to Palestine, the Israelis have realised that they are the product of a lie invented by the Zionist movement. By exploiting the Holocaust, the movement convinced the world that Palestine is the “Promised Land.” The lie is the curse that haunts Israelis until it rears up and slaps them in the face, or stabs them like a knife in Maqdisi, Hebron or Nablus, or pelts them with stones hurled by children, or blows up like a suicide bombing by a bus driver in Jaffa, Haifa, or Acre.  The Zionist writer states that, if indeed, Israel has passed the point of no return and can no longer bring itself to change, the Israelis have no future in Palestine which, contrary to the lie, was never a land without a people. 

The leftist Israeli writer Gideon Levy observes that Palestinians must be made of different stuff than other human beings. The Israelis occupied their land thinking they could stay there forever because the Palestinians would forget their land and their country over time. Then the intifada of stones erupted in 1987. The Israelis threw them in prison thinking, “this will teach them a lesson.” But the Palestinians returned with the armed intifada of 2000. The solution to that was to demolish their homes, lay siege to them, and tighten the blockade. Despite the hardship and destruction, the Palestinians struck back with missiles. Levy concludes: the Israelis are faced with the toughest people history has known. The only solution is to recognise their legitimate rights and end the occupation.

Do such commentaries from Israeli writers mark a turning point? Or is this a fleeting moment that will pass after a ceasefire?

* A version of this article appears in print in the 19 October, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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