Written by: Rajaa Natour
My national liberation and the national liberation of my people do not include a jeep speeding through the streets of Gaza with a half-naked Jewish woman strapped to its front.
“We, the Palestinians, are not guilty of anything, and of course – not of this murder which took the lives of over 800 innocent Israeli civilians. From our point of view, the Occupation is the source of all evil and destruction: what did you expect would happen after decades of blockades, oppression, humiliation and loss of human dignity? What did you expect from the Palestinians who have lost everything and broken through the fence? That they will hug you?”
This is what is expected of me to write today, as a Palestinian journalist–
strong armed by the massive power and influence of the national Palestinian rhetoric discourse that silences any criticism, logic, and basic morality, and that forces us as Palestinians into two main roles: murdered or murderers. After all, we are the ultimate victims and thus, we are allowed to do anything. No?
So, this Saturday, Hamas succeeded in turning us, the Palestinians, into murderers. We are no longer “murdered” or “helpless victims”. This time Hamas made it official, in a sophisticated, convincing, and pride-inspiring way (at least, according to some). We, as a Palestinian collective, haven’t even bothered to stammer or whitewash our actions, just like the Israeli occupation army: our role models. Yes, we have become murderers, through a premeditated, tactical, well-timed, and calculated operation led by Hamas, who has suddenly become the ultimate Palestinian representative, leading the national Palestinian liberation movement according to an agenda only it knows!
"But we, the Palestinians, are the victims of the Israeli Occupation, not murderers – we are just reacting to the oppression exerted on us by the State of Israel and its army. That is why the murder of more than 800 innocent people is just another reaction, a catharsis, a release, and above all – legitimate, because we, just like Israel, have the right to defend ourselves, without limit and at any price! In war, as in war, we are not to ask moral or ethical questions because they will only hurt our national Palestinian goals. It’s unnecessary, isn’t it?"
Of course, this is all moral and political bullshit. Not only because this specific operation was well planned on an operational-strategic level, and was meant to cause only massive carnage. But mostly because this time, with the help of the military and media wing of Hamas, this murder has a different and critical role to play. This murder has been politically leveraged and turned into a Palestinian all-Arab victory, through which, so to speak, we as Palestinians, and the Arab world, have recovered our pride, our honor and the national erection we lost in 1948 and in 1967.
Yes, we have turned the tables, changed the power equation between Palestinians and Israelis, seared defeat unto Israeli consciousness, and completely undermined Israeli national resilience. We are amazing! We are simply the best! But above all, we have shifted the Palestinian, and more generally the Arab defeated narrative into a victorious narrative through massive and deliberate mass murder – so to create a victorious consciousness.
Only this time, unlike many other past occasions, this sense of triumph has registered in the minds of many Palestinians and many Arabs in the Arab world, as a process that was created, and will be sustained, only through the slaughter, murder and bloodshed of Israelis.
My fingers are shaking, but there is no escape: my duty as human, even before my journalistic duty, demands I write this: Hamas does not only want a strategic achievements, to be leveraged into a political achievement aiming to end the siege on Gaza; Hamas wants to create a Palestinian narrative in which the Israeli blood will be the only measure of victory. In other words: Hamas is creating automatic murdering machines, under the cover of national Palestinian rhetoric.
To Hamas, their supporters, and those among us who worry and stammer because it is “complicated” to speak up now, I want to say that my national liberation narrative, and the narrative of my people, does not include a speeding jeep in the streets of Gaza with a half-naked Jewish woman strapped to its front! It also does not include forcing a Jewish woman over the age of seventy to make a victory gesture, just because we can, like the soldiers of the Occupation and the settlers do! My national liberation project does not include barbaric terminology that defines Israeli women prisoners of war as “slaves” of war just because they are Jewish! And it most definitely does not include sentences such as: “Steal everything, doors and even the toilets” because it is cool to steal and loot Jewish families! Have you forgotten so quickly that that’s exactly what Israeli soldiers did in Jenin?
And to the Israelis who are calling to wipe out Gaza I say: Remember — it is sad to say — that a consciousness that has tasted the taste of the Israeli blood this past Saturday, will never return to defeatism. The separation fence will be breached, again and again. Nothing will stop the Hamas fighters who entered Israelis’ homes, shot them, pulled them out of their beds, and vandalized their homes. Nothing will stop a consciousness that has broken through the barrier of fear and deterrence, and views Jewish blood as hope and salvation.
Neither the Hamas, nor the occupation soldiers who will soon be marching through the streets of Gaza, nor the occupation pilots who are bombing Gaza at this moment, interest me, even though I know that for them, our lives as Palestinians are worthless. I care about my people, the Palestinians, and their just demand for freedom, and that is why I must say – perhaps in a broken, pained, and trembling – but clear voice – that we, the Palestinians, have shed this blood.
Dear Palestinians, tell yourselves whatever you like, try to escape difficult moral questions, whitewash reality, write generic posts on Facebook, compare their murder to ours, and try to justify the atrocities like many Israelis do. And when you fail, and your heart breaks with grief and pain, when it realizes that there is no excuse in the world that can justify this kind of murder, write: we are also wallowing in the blood of the Israelis. Write: our national liberation will not go through their blood.