Life is Belief & Struggle - Ahmed Shawqi

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The long lie

One of the first truisms one encounters when studying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that truth is fluid. What was true yesterday or even today is not what will be truth tomorrow. Of course, truth could depend entirely on what language is spoken.

There is no better example of this principle in action than Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' New York Times opinion piece. Why the NY Times gave this man their paper as his soap box to preach on is beyond me. I will not re-hash the points others have covered but instead I just want to point out Abbas' personal narrative is a little 'fluid' depending on time, place and language. Abbas' starts his op-ed piece with a personal walk down memory lane.

SIXTY-THREE years ago, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was forced to leave his home in the Galilean city of Safed and flee with his family to Syria. He took up shelter in a canvas tent provided to all the arriving refugees. Though he and his family wished for decades to return to their home and homeland, they were denied that most basic of human rights. That child’s story, like that of so many other Palestinians, is mine. This month, however, as we commemorate another year of our expulsion — which we call the nakba, or catastrophe

In July 2009, Abbas speaking on Palestinian television stated quite plainly in Arabic that his family was not driven out by the Jewish militias but fled out of fear that the Jewish milita would potentially take revenge for the ill-treatment the Arabs had metered out historically to the Jews. Arutz Sheva:

Speaking with Al-Palestinia TV on Monday, Abbas admitted that his family was not expelled or driven out, but rather left for fear that the Jews might take revenge for the slaughter of 20 Jews in the city during the Arab pogroms of 19 years earlier.

“I am among those who were born in the city of Tzfat (Safed). We were a family of means. I studied in elementary school, and then came the naqba [calamity, namely, the founding of the State of Israel – ed.]. At night, we left by foot from Tzfat, to the Jordan River, where we remained for a month. Then we went to Damascus, and then to our relatives in Jordan, and then we settled in Damascus.

“My father had money, and he spent his money systematically, and after a year, the money ran out and we began to work. “The people’s basic motives brought them to run away for their lives and with their property. These [motives] were very important, for they feared the violence of the Zionist terrorist organizations – and especially those of us from Tzfat felt that there was an old desire for revenge from the rebellion of 1929, and this was in the memory of our families and parents.”

Yadda, yadda. And so goes the long lie.

xposted to The Last Exile

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