I’m Palestinian and I’ve been incited
“Israeli government ministers, ‘Arab affairs’ analysts, and regular citizens incite against us — but they’re also inciting us. And yet, despite it all, we restrain ourselves.”
By Umar al-Ghubari (translated by Richard Flantz)
Young Palestinians demonstrate against the Prawer Plan in East Jerusalem, November 30, 2013. (Photo: Activestills.org)
“Yes, you read the headline correctly: I’m an incited Palestinian. Every day they incite me. My most prominent and significant inciters are the leaders, the commentators and most of the journalists of the State of Israel, and ordinary Israelis too. Social networks and the masses of online commenters in Israel comprise a volcano of incitement. It’s clear to me that they actually want to incite against Palestinians, but their words come back like a boomerang and incite the Palestinians, too.
A newscast on any given Israeli television channel is a proven recipe for angering and inciting Palestinian viewers. Analyses and predictions by Zionist commentators constitute aggression and provocations to Palestinians. The despicable verbiage of people who call themselves “experts on Arab affairs” is laden with slander and manipulations that arouse disgust toward Arabs, and when Arabs hear them they mainly feel dread and explode in anger.
Yes, it’s they who incite me and make me fume. Every time Israeli leaders talk about Arabs, Palestinians, or any other formulation drawn from these words, they express hostile, racist, patronizing, threatening and humiliating attitudes with alarming ease. There is no doubt that the current prime minister is a star in this context, but he hasn’t invented a thing. He may have improved the method and embellished the formulations, but he has no exclusivity over racism. We’re talking about his words and his actions these days only because he is the apex of the pyramid of the regime, not because he is exceptional or any more extreme than the prime ministers who preceded him.
This attitude toward Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular is deeply rooted in Zionist thought. Although it is expressed in different ways, in diverse formulations and in various doses, at its base this is a consistent line that stems from a racist world view, whose seeds were planted with the crystallization of the idea of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine. In his book The Jewish State (1896), Herzl wrote: “We should there [in Palestine] form a portion of a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.” Which Israeli leader has not believed, expressed himself, or thought in a similar way?
The majority of Palestinians in Israel understand Hebrew. They sit watching the television screens in one of their ghettoes, in Galilee, in Wadi ’Ara, in the center of the country and in the Negev; they hear the threats and absorb the humiliations poured into their faces from the Israeli TV channels. They’re incited even more by the claim about the only democracy in the Middle East that they are benefiting from. This maddens them. Frustrated, they look out the window to seek and to feel the democracy that isn’t there.
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