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Open Mic: ‘Unsettling’ Response

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Photo provided by Raimond Klavins

Falsifying historical facts and shamelessly fabricating lies seems to be the strategy Michael Zebulon is using in his article “Unsettling” in Open Mic (9/29/21). Sadly, it’s not a new strategy. Gross misrepresentation and distortion of historical facts have been used often in history, including by Hitler and the previous U.S. administration, with tragic consequences.

“Unsettling” indeed for me personally as a Palestinian who was born in Jerusalem a few months before Palestine, YES PALESTINE, was divided by the United Nations in 1947 and over half of it was given to the Jewish people. At 74 years of age, I am older than the state of Israel, a fact about Israel that may surprise many.

That the Jewish people had a history of persecution and suffering is undeniable, but is not my focus here in responding to Mr. Zebulon, who callously brushes me and my family off the pages of history, just like Europeans and others tried to brush the Jewish people off for centuries, and happily did not succeed. Will the lesson be missed again?

My family can trace its history in Palestine as far back as the 1550s. My ancestors founded Ramallah, West Bank. Our centuries-old history in Palestine was interrupted by the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 when over 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes, many at the point of a gun, and over 500 villages were destroyed—systematically bulldozed by the new Israeli government. It is not difficult to find this information on the internet and to decide for oneself what the truth is. Israeli historian, Ilan Pappé, lays out the declassified archives of that tragic period very clearly in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem have both said that Israel is a settler colonialist apartheid state. If Mr. Zebulon really cared about the future of Israel, he would spread some reality about it, instead of lies, and help build a vision for it that allows dignity and equality for everyone living there. That reality is indeed possible if we all work for it together.