The Holocaust that claimed the lives of at least five to six million Jews is not really far from memory. There are still living survivors of that despicable event in human history. Yet, despite Hitler’s maniacal designs, the Jews survived and eventually managed to carve out a land for themselves out of the lands of the Palestinian Arabs, according to the author of The General’s Son, Miko Peled—an Israeli Jew.
In the same vein, not even the tons of bombardment from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on an hourly basis can actually eliminate all the Palestinians, as the Jews themselves managed to escape Hitler’s Nazi regime. The world eventually woke up and came to the rescue of their fellow human beings, the same as more and more people, including Jews and Israelis are among the staunchest supporters of the Palestinian cause. Peled, son of general Mattiyahu Peled, who played a role in the occupation of the Palestinians, does not mince words when he says that the Israelis actually robbed the native Palestinian Arabs of their land. He deconstructs the myth of the Jews’ right to return to their “native land” when the truth is, according to him, Palestine had been an Arab country where the Arabs have been living for 1,500 years.
In today’s electronic media, more and more people are getting a daily dose of images of mostly children blown up by Israeli missiles. People are aware of what is going on as it is going on. People, regardless of religion and beliefs, become shocked at the images of children’s lives snuffed with maimed body parts. I was talking to my friend, a gentle Australian lady who hadn’t been aware of the recent violence in Gaza. When I told her the series of events that happened–the burning alive of the young Palestinian in retaliation of the three murdered Israeli youths, leading to the bombardment of Gaza and claiming the lives of mostly children, she closed her ears and said, “I don’t think I can hear anymore.” I think most human beings will feel for the Palestinian civilians who have nothing to do with the conflict. After all, if we dig deeper, Palestinians cannot do but resist. Even former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, speaking in 1998 said: “If I were a Palestinian, I would have joined a terrorist organisation.” One can hardly fault any group of people to resist when faced their lives, rights and land are threatened.
Eventually,the tremendous effort that the Israeli government pours in ensuring that young Israelis will grow up hating and eventually killing Palestinians when they mature and serve the army, is going to implode. Such extremism will someday backfire on them, as indicated by the many former Israeli soldiers, who are speaking out and “Breaking the Silence.” They may have been conditioned to believe the national narrative, but soon, some of them will know the truth. When Peled’s thirteen-year-old niece Smadar Elhanan died in 1997 in a suicide attack together with the two young Palestinian bombers,his sister, when encouraged to seek revenge said:
“No real mother would want this to happen to another mother…My government is responsible. My government brought these two young men to such a level of despair that they would take their own lives and take the lives of other innocent people.”
I believe that eventually, more and more Israelis will see through the propaganda of their Zionist government and realize that it is not right to indulge in the collective punishment of the Palestinian people, especially so that they are the ones who had been robbed of their land to begin with. The huge protests all over the world in support of Gaza in London, Paris, Tunis and Indonesia to name a few indicate world-wide indignation in what they call as “the massacre of Palestinians.” The people who turn out in these rallies are not just Palestinians, but Jews,Christians and the rest of humanity. One Rabbi in London stood on top of the bus holding a placard expressing support for the Palestinians and opposition to the Zionist government. As for the Palestinians, popular Palestinian youtuber Mohammad Zeyara could not have said it better: “Palestinians grew up wanting nothing but dying as Martyrs. So whether Palestinians win this worldly war or not; they’re the winners.”Palestine may be lost, but not the Palestinians. For as long as there is one Palestinian alive, he or she will dream of Palestine and of returning to their land.
Asa Muslim, I believe that the plight of the Palestinians is eventually in the hands of Allah Almighty. While I shed tears for them every now and then as a fellow human being, I do believe that all is not lost for them. I equally hold that those lovely young Palestinian children, the innocent women and men who are blown up to smithereens died as martyrs. Being killed while innocent, is believed by us Muslims to earn a persona place in heaven. As any Muslim would claim, death is only scary and if one is not sure of heaven as a final resting place. The Palestinians will be free one day, if not achieve martyrdom eventually. Either way, they are the victors.However, the true test is not for the Palestinians. It is for us, the rest of humanity. What did we do when these things were happening? Did we take the stand of the oppressor, or did we cry for justice and take the side of humanity? As history has shown, over and over again, those who do evil, no matter how powerful will someday have to take the witness stand and be judged.God sees the truth but waits, as Leo Tolstoy said. This is an opportunity for everybody to confront what we stand for—what values we hold dear and what will we do for justice when the forces of opposition are mightier than all governments and leaders on earth combined? Shall we cower in fear or begrudge a word of support even as the Palestinians bravely face missiles, bombs and tanks?
We may or may not be made to account for our response when these atrocities were happening to our fellow human beings, but when judgment time comes, we know whether we had been silent or not. We know whether we ignored the truth or not,in our blind adherence to our comfort zones. We know if, despite witnessing the suffering of mothers, fathers, children and brothers—we chose to remain silent.Maybe our grandchildren will read about it in the future and realize that these things were happening in our lifetime and ask us what role we played. What did we do? Supporting the Palestinians has nothing to do with religion. As the popular meme goes, one does not need to be a Muslim to support Gaza and the Palestinians, we only need to be humans. May all of us get in touch with the human in us.