quarta-feira, 21 de novembro de 2012

Holy Land

Suppose a that a man leaps out of a burning building (...) and lands on a bystander in the street below. Now, make the burning building be Europe, and the luckless man underneath be the Palestinian Arabs. Is this a historical injustice? Has the man below been a victim, with infinite cause of compliance and indefinite justification for violent retaliation? My own reply would be a provisional "no", but only on these conditions. The man leaping from the burning building must still make such restitution as he can to the man who broke his fall, and must not pretend that he never landed on him. And he must base his case on the singularity and uniqueness of the original leap. It can't, in other words, be "leap, leap, leap" for four generations and more. The people underneath cannot be expected to tolerate leaping on this scale and of this duration, if you catch my drift. In Palestine, tread softly, for you tread on their dreams. And do not tell Palestinians that they were never fallen upon and bruised in the first place. Do not shame yourself with the cheap lie that they were told by their leaders to run away. Also, stop saying that nobody knew how to cultivate oranges in Jaffa until the Jews showed them how. "Making the desert bloom" (...) 
In the mid-1970's, Jewish settlers from New York were already establishing second homes for themselves on occupied territory. From what burning house were they leaping?(...) They Said they took the land because god had given it to them from time immemorial. In the noisome town of Hebron, where all of life is focused on a supposedly sacred boneyard in a dank local cave, one of the world's less pretty sights is that of supposed yeshivah students toting submachine guns and humbling the Arab inhabitants. When I asked one of these charmers where he got his legal authority to be a squatter, he flung his hand, index finger outstretched, toward the sky. 
Actually - and this was where I began to feel seriously uncomfortable - some such divine claim underlay not just "the occupation" but the whole idea of a separate state foe Jews in Palestine. Take away the divine warrant for the Holy Land and where were you, and what were you? Just another landthief like the Turks or the British, except that in this case you wanted the land without the people. And the original Zionist slogan - "a land without people for a people without land" - disclosed its own negation when I saw the densely populated Arabs towns dwelling sullenly under Jewish tutelage. You want irony? How about Jews becoming colonizers at just the moment when other Europeans had given up on the idea?

in Christopher Hitchens (2010) Hitch 22, p. 381-382

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