I remember one Spanish class at college. Our Professor, Isabelle, was giving examples so she asked each one at class where they were from. The answers consisted mostly of two words: Jordano/a (Jordanian) and Palestino/a (Palestinian). However, the latter answer seemed to be puzzling for Isabelle, who found it strange for someone to introduce themself by the nationality of a country other than the one in which they were born. Well, Isabelle might be right when it comes to being from Malaga or Seville, but when it comes to being Palestinian; it seemed there’s something she wasn’t fully aware of.
The story begins a long time ago. Before 1948, there was a country called Palestine, and the living there, the majority of which were Arabs, were called Palestinians. On several levels, Palestine was a land of geographical, historical and ideological importance, hence an idea was born and nourished in the West that the people currently living in Palestine are a bunch of brutal uncivilized savages who couldn’t possibly run that land by on their own, and that they should be ruled over by a superior and more civilized people, i.e: the Jews.
Thus, the Jewish immigrants poured in, and the state of Israel came to existence, and the next thing you know: There was no such thing as Palestine, and the Palestinian people never existed. Or did they?
It goes without saying that in order to garner global support and gain some legitimacy, Israel had to wipe Palestine not only off the map, but also from history, and with that goes the existence of a Palestinian people. Otherwise the Zionist Jews will have to face the inevitable question: If what is now known as Israel was established on the same land of what was previously known as Palestine, and the population known as the Palestinians was replaced by what is now known as the Israeli people, then what happen to Palestine and where did the Palestinians go? In other words, they will have to answer for the fact that for each Jewish immigrant, one Palestinian, at least, was displaced.
Ever since 1948 and before, the Zionist propaganda has been at work to deny the existence of Palestine and the Palestinians, which was best expressed in the Zionist slogan describing Palestine as: “A land without people for a people without a land”. Thus, the Palestinians found themselves in a situation where their land was taken away from them and the world didn’t even acknowledge their existence, and hereby the only way to prove that existence was to resist, to struggle to fight to be recognized as a people.
The reasoning by which Palestine was occupied and turned into a Jewish state, and by which the Palestinians are facing discrimination and atrocities on daily basis, is the same reasoning by which the Red Indians were slaughtered and Black Africans were coerced into slavery. It’s because they are simply not regarded as “a people” , meaning they don’t have the ability to have a country or rule over a land, and that they should be run by a superior and more civilized power, regardless of what their wishes or desires could be for themselves.
Given all that and more, the issue of Palestine heralds itself as an issue of existence. That’s why the Israelis have been so firm in their stance against granting Palestinians the Right of Return, because to give them such a right is to admit that they were there, that they existed and that they still exist.
That’s what Isabelle probably didn’t fully understand. That’s why every Palestinian should cling to their legacy and their roots, because they don’t want the time to come when what the Zionist wished for becomes reality: “The old die and the young forget”.
The old might die, but the young, in sha’a Allah, will never forget.