I just finished watching a very unusual BBC program about the Arab Israeli conflict. It was unusual because by and large it was a fairly balanced program. Nevertheless, it was a very frustrating experience. Why? Because I just felt like shouting at the young attractive looking Palestinian woman who was voicing the Palestinian narrative. She kept on repeating their standard party line, their standard slogans......Occupation!! Occupation!!!....Occupation.....Part of me understood what she was saying. Part of me understood that she and her people don't want to be occupied....But what was awfully frustrating to me was the realisation that She, like most of her people, just don't want to understand what most Israelis want......Not only they don't understand, they don't even want to listen to what Israelis are trying to say to them. Most Israelis have been saying to them, for many years now, that they too are not happy with the occupation.......but, and it's a very big but! Most Israelis are even more concerned by their immediate and long term security and the lack of feelings of security that the Palestinians continually induce in Israelis, undermines the willingness of Israelis to move in a direction that will end the occupation. They see that everytime that they attempt to move towards ending the occupation, the Palestinians raise the level of violence. The Palestinians seem to want to bring about a situation in which they are seen to be continually kicking the proverbial butt of Israel while Israel retreats in a disorderly manner. A bit like what happened in 2000 in South Lebanon when Barak unilaterally withdrew from there......But of course Israelis have learnt from that mistake, they have seen that despite their withdrawal from South Lebanon, thir problems with the Lebanese have not been solved and the attacks on them from Lebanon have not stopped. They have also seen the outcome of the Oslo process in which they eased the occupation and granted autonomy to the Palestinians but all they got for it was more violence, continual violence. They have tried to withdraw from Gaza, unilaterally and of course the violence against Israelis actually increased.....
So, back to the BBC program: One of the Israeli spokesmen mentioned the above historical context. He recounted how the Palestinians were given the opportunity to get their independence but they failed the test which would have allowed them to realise that goal. I felt like yelling at the Palestinian woman who kept on butting in and talked over the Israeli....She kept on yelling that all occupied people resort to violence because they don't want to live under someone else's rule.....She kept on yelling that Israel should just leave the Palestinians alone..... And I felt like yelling at her:
"OK then, the Palestinians should leave the Israeli people alone, stop the bloody violence already and compromise......All the Israeli people ever wanted was to be left alone.....but all they got from the Arabs, including the Palestinian Arabs, was violence....violence....violence....even before any occupation......even before 1948......ever since the 1920s, the Arabs have been trying to solve their problems through violence.....They never wanted compromise.....they wanted everything for themselves and they didn't recognise any rights for Jews.......and that was their attitude and that's how they acted way before the West Bank and Gaza were occupied by Israel"I felt like shouting at her: "Just stop your violence....really stop it.....don't just pretend.....and you will have your state......you will have your independence .......and the occupation will end!!!!!!"
But then I realised that she and her compatriots wouldn't hear me even if I yelled right into her (their collective) ear/s!!!! They wouldn't hear me or voices like mine because they just don't want to hear......All they are interested in is hearing their own shouts, their own demands....their own rights.....They are not interested in anyone else's rights!!!!!!