Allow me to vent, from one Arab to another.
Equating a people with a leadership, and using that to justify bombardment or siege is racism. It is a refusal to see others as human beings. It is a lazy way of thinking to justify the dominant, comfortable narrative. And it is dangerous – because it feeds into the structures of violence. Corruption in the Palestinian leadership should not cause us to turn our back to Palestine, not if we believe in the struggle for liberation and justice.
Claiming to be informed about history and politics, and continuing to say that the Israelis “retaliated” to the abduction of two Israeli soldiers in 2006, and “retaliated” to the “provocations” from Hamas, is not only ignorant but also deeply ill-informed of the basic Zionist strategy and approach, and history! The Israeli regime – from the start of its inception on Palestine until today – has only engaged in wars of its own choosing. We do not drag Israel into a war; it goes willingly, and with the full intention to kill and destroy.
Claiming to care, and then saying that the Palestinians caused the Lebanese civil war and have ruined every country they have entered — and on the 32nd anniversary of the horrendous massacre of Sabra and Shatilla! — well, that is the very combination of arrogance, ignorance, and racism (because of course, the Lebanese could not possibly have contributed to their own civil war, right?)
Why am I saying all this?
Because last night I had a conversation with three Egyptians who justified the closure of Rafah while telling me that their “heart breaks for the Palestinians” but that they have to protect their country from those “tunnels.” [Incidentally, they also believe that all the civil rights violations that Sisi is imposing on Egypt are only temporary, and that he will "loosen his hold" once "security issues" are concluded. Ha!]
Because a Syrian jumped into the conversation to speak at length about how the Palestinians have ruined the Arab world, how it is because of the Palestinians that we have military dictatorships in the Arab world, and how they have given up on “their cause” so why should he care. He also said he won’t give a “penny to Gaza” because of the corruption of Hamas and Fateh and the PA. He said lots of other statements that had no basis in fact.
Because I am still hurting over a comment a Lebanese made to me when she said that the Syrians are ruining the country now just as the Palestinians ruined the country and caused a civil war.
Enough with this racism. Enough with this acceptance of the Zionist narrative. Enough with this deliberate refusal to study history.
If you as an Arab consider Palestine to be “their cause – the cause of Palestinians” and you continue to ask for thanks for some acts that you may (or may not) have done in support of “their cause,” then step away from the struggle. Step away.
If you claim to feel with the Palestinians trapped under siege in Gaza, and still find a way to justify the Egyptian siege on Gaza, then step away. We don’t need your heart. We don’t want your tears.
It is painful, I must confess, to hear such verbal violence from the mouths of Arabs. As I was responding to them, and as my voice rose along with my anger, I was told that my response is the very reason why we have conflicts in our region, because we are unable to accept the other viewpoint. I said, I don’t have to accept your viewpoint if it is wrong. I am not responding with violence nor with insults – I am simply rejecting your statements as false and racist. I definitely do not have to be respectful of racism and zionist-justifying statement and falsities. No. I don’t have to be civil.
Being told – by them – that I must be Palestinian because I am so enraged – and because I was responding with facts to every one of their lies (such as it was the Israelis that have consistently violated the ceasefire, and not the Palestinians, and I gave dates and actions, and what were the Palestinians asking for anyway – their right to life!) – is quite telling. I do not have to be Palestinian to love Palestine. I do not have to be Palestinian to know Palestine. I do not have to be Palestinian to be enraged at lies and murderous justifications. And I do not have to be Palestinian to consider Palestinians my own and Palestine my own.
They didn’t understand that — So I did, in the end, tell them: you all make me feel Palestinian. Thank you for that.