By Shlomo Sand, Haaretz
It is said that after Napoleon conquered all of Europe and killed millions of soldiers, he declared that with bayonets you could do anything but sit on them. Much closer to the time when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, I thought naively, that Israel had begun to learn the basic lesson of the famous Corsican: You can conquer and oppress, but every action by a power foreign also has its limitations.
After all, in modern times, if you do not exterminate or expel people who have no sovereignty or have a meaningless sovereignty, they will constantly rebel.
The latest fires of violence in Gaza were ignited with the help of two “matches”. The first resembles what sparked the October 2000 uprising: a desecrating attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is not only a very important religious site for Muslims, but also clearly a nationalist symbol.
The second “match” is a kind of innovation. Demanding the expulsion of Arab residents from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, based on the legal claim that Jews owned those properties before 1948, was tantamount to inserting a needle into a large wound, and a show shocking of an also great injustice.
So the Israelis are demanding that the refugees leave their homes, despite the fact that they took their previous homes during the Nakba, along with hundreds of thousands more, without thinking at all about compensating the owners.
Such is the reasoning of a stupid invader, which could lead to the burning of all the houses built over the last 100 years. In fact, it seems that the fire has already started to spread.
At first, East Jerusalem residents staged protests, which was not surprising. The “eternally Jewish city” is home to about 380,000 Palestinians. They make up about a third of the urban population, and have lived for 54 years without political or civil rights.
Israel, which annexed them, did everything in its power not to grant them Israeli citizenship. He openly and visibly used the “mythological glue” to unite inanimate stones, high walls, but not living human beings. After all, they are not Jews.
In fact this time the real surprise was the Palestinian Israelis. Those who have citizenship and enjoy full political equality in the state of Israel. Those who for years were carpenters and manual workers in general, have now begun to occupy jobs in hospitals, pharmacies and universities.
The growing Israeliization of Arab citizens, their knowledge of the Hebrew language, the improved social status of some of them, and even their integration into the media world, along with the ongoing occupation of the West Bank, have all produced sensations. and new conclusions.
But you can never be equal in a country that openly declares that it is not yours. Compared to other liberal democracies, Israel is not the state of all its citizens, but the state of all the Jews of the world (who do not even want to live there).
The meaning of “Jewish democracy” resembles other terms with an internal contradiction, such as “white democracy” in the United States, or a “Galician-Catholic republic” in France. In every nation-state in the world, a national anthem is chosen that aims to unite and inspire all citizens, regardless of religion, skin color or their origin.
In Israel, the anthem distances some of its citizens because, after all, not everyone has a “Jewish spirit.” The State of Israel is prepared to accept anyone who can prove that he is a Jew by birth, or that he has converted in accordance with Jewish religious law.
Palestinian Israelis cannot reunite with their first- and second-degree relatives, who were deported from here in 1948, and who live in refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza. Since the demarcation of Israel in 1967, about 700 new Jewish communities have been established, but no Arabs (except cities for Bedouins who have been expelled from their lands).
Although about 21 percent of Israelis are Arabs, there is no university where Arabic is taught. (In contrast there is a Hebrew-speaking university in what is undoubtedly Palestinian territory). Although Israel is presented to the world as a secular, liberal country, here a Jewish woman cannot marry a non-Jewish man, as there are no civil marriages.
To marry her partner, she has to travel to another country, which does not intentionally try to prevent Jewish and non-Jewish marriages. We can point out many discriminatory or exclusionary elements in the infrastructure of the Jewish state, but we should be aware that it has been practically useless so far.
Most Jewish Israelis are indifferent to the fundamental inequality that exists here, and prefer to continue to plunge into their “Jewish and democratic pool,” which they have so far believed would exist forever.
And now all of a sudden, thousands of Palestinian Israelis have erupted in fierce and violent protests against intolerable inequality. Members of the Arab middle class did not take part in these protests, but for the first time allowed their children to clash with police officers, and be hit by the fists of racists and Jewish settlers.
Violence is always disgusting and ugly, but unfortunately, it has accompanied the battles for equality throughout history. The current use of force within Israel is reminiscent of the great violence of the African-American Black Panther group in America in the 1960s, especially after the assassination of Martin Luther King.
The struggle of protesters in black slums, made another decisive contribution towards the return of the United States, from a predominantly white country to an equal democracy for all its citizens. As we know, the struggle towards this goal is not over yet.
The question that remains after the recent fierce clashes in Israel is this: Will there be a divided Israel like Yugoslavia once in the Balkans, the fate of the latter, plunging into a bloody war between its diverse and uneven, and finally disintegrating into 100 parts?
Or will we be able to transform it, despite the difficulties, into a similar country like Canada, Belgium or Switzerland, where despite all the divisions, they manage to preserve themselves as a multilingual democracy, where their shining beacon is the principle of identity civil, which is neither ethno-religious nor ethno-biological? Time will tell. / abcnews