When the sun set on the British Empire, Palestine bordered the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
Shaking off the yoke of empire was days away in 1948. The Arabic expression for shaking off a yoke is “انتفاضة intifada.” An obvious and overdue response to colonialism? Yes, of course. But, what if the land is stolen out from under you? As clever a crime as a Moriarty might commit.
Picture to yourself the pilot fish with the shark, the jackal with the lion—anything that is insignificant in companionship with what is formidable: not only formidable, Watson, but sinister—in the highest degree sinister. That is where he comes within my purview. ‘You have heard me speak of Professor Moriarty?’
‘The famous scientific criminal, as famous among crooks -‘
‘My blushes, Watson!’ Holmes murmured in a deprecating voice.
‘I was about to say, “as he is unknown to the public”.’
‘A touch! A distinct touch!’ cried Holmes. ‘You are developing a certain unexpected vein of pawky humour, Watson, against which I must learn to guard myself. But in calling Moriarty a criminal you are uttering libel in the eyes of the law…
from A. Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story The Valley of Fear.
Speaking of uttering libel in the eyes of the law:
Palestine (Philistina, Filistina) was paradise:
The sun set on the Mediterranean Sea (literally the Sea at the Middle of the Earth) on the day of Nakba.
Many brought their house keys with them. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights assures the right of return. So it’s prudent to bring the house keys when driven from your home. Don’t forget the keys.
Palestinians are persons. Did you know that it is easier to occupy a country that is uninhabited? If it is occupied, say that it is not. Seek a solution that is final. Something many Israelis believe in.
1948: 700,000 Philistines routed.
What happens to a dream deferred?
A land for me but not for thee. In 1948 another tribe under the same Mandate for Palestine. Empire-speak: promising the same thing to the colonized. Lord Balfour was not a guardian of integrity. Conquerers create history, then they write about it, truth is strictly optional. The victor enjoys the spoils. Bon appetit.
Arabic cities with long histories get a facelift by the new boss (same as the old boss). The cities are renamed in Hebrew.
Photographs and films from 1948. Traditions, culture, family, livelihoods, fashions, ethnic recipes, hectic markets, crowded schools, beautiful sea of middle earth. Literally the middle of the known world during another failed empire: Roman Empire.
New keys on old doors for new “settlers.” Demolish some more, build some more, grow some more, have children, grandchildren. To the victor go the spoils.
Pave Paradise, Occupy Palestine.
Refugees ended up in an open-air prison (Gaza) or on the West Bank of the Jordan River or all over the Earth.
The beautiful Mediterranean Coast out of sight but not out of mind from 1948 to the present. 1967 war of occupation, tanks, planes, assault rifles, drop white phosphorous bombs, reorder. Decades go by. An endless list of IDF Operations.
Birthright tours available if your mother is related to Isaac. Birthright available if your mother is related to Ishmael.
Judeo-Christian good. Islam: bad.
Holy Land tours year-in and year-out. Tourist talk: there were Arabs selling rosaries and holy water. “I don’t know. I just don’t trust them, you know. I don’t know.”
Racists welcome year-in, year-out.
Something you don’t hear about on your holy tour: The Apartheid Wall.
Getting a little crowded in the old homeland? I mean, who can afford to live with rents so high. And all that land on the West Bank is wasted on the Arabs. settlements in Gaza. I mean, it’s all G-d gave us. It’s already too small.
Demolish homes upon whim, build gated communities and connect them with modern highways, a fence along each shoulder to keep those people away. Evict homeowners, install new locks. Real security systems with state of the art HP equipment and software.
Look at all the land. They’d be better of with other Arabs, but you know that they never get along with anybody and never will. The truth decimated.
Settling 500,000 people in the occupied West Bank Israel effectively kills the possibility of a two-state solution. They drove 500,000 stakes into the Oslo Peace Accords of 1993.