Where Are Kerry’s Courage and Obama’s Promises?

The Palestinian people are surprised when the leaders of America demand that they be brave, and offer concessions to reconcile with their occupiers. They are surprised when they are told to accept the Israeli government’s desire for the Palestinian side to offer concessions on Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the right of return, and to accept Israel as a Jewish state regardless of the Palestinians who live there!

We say to [U.S. Secretary of State] Mr. Kerry, who is requesting that both the Israelis and Palestinians present courageous concessions, that unfortunately there is an occupier who increases its seizure of Palestinian land that hinders our bravery. An occupier who increases racial discrimination inside the Green Line, and whose practices are said to be a violation of international law.

No, Mr. Kerry, we are students of peace and owners of the land, protectors of the holy Christian and Islamic sanctities. Our hands are brave, but they do not dream of being occupied. It is enough already that we recognize the state of Israel, whose occupation you enable with your weapons and money. An occupation that expels Palestinians from their land, land their ancestors have owned for thousands of years. An occupation that makes them live in shelters outside of their country, homes and land — all of which the occupiers have seized.

Mr. Kerry, courage would be for you to say the truth to the world, especially to the American people. Not to the Palestinian people, for we know the truth: that you support an occupation with money and weapons. [Courage would be] to say you do this, despite seeing them mistreat our children, and our defenseless people. Bravery, Mr. Kerry, is for us to say to the strongest president of the most powerful country in the world that he must fulfill his promises. Fulfill the promises he gave in his resonating speech at the University of Cairo, where he promised that America “will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity and a state of their own.” We clapped for him, and said that it is necessary for the day to come when the leader of America carries out the decisions that the great world powers subscribe to at international forums, and not to return to the White House and execute the demands of an occupier.

All we can hope for from Mr. Kerry, who is getting ready to come to the region this week, and from the leaders of the United States in the White House and Congress, is that they read what is written in their own Constitution. Read as if it is from the mouths of the Palestinian people: that we are a proud, free people who believe in the right to self-determination and an end to racism.

Racism, Mr. Kerry, is to request the Palestinian people to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. It is hypocritical how you say that you are against racism around the world, except in a country that is practicing the most ugly forms of it. Even without our dignity, we recognize [Israel] as a Jewish state.

What you now see in the occupied land within the Green Line are all of the worst types and manifestations of repulsive discrimination. This is what all Israeli governments have practiced against the Palestinians. Were you not given time to see how the occupier tortures our children, such as Ahmed Mansara, during the investigation? How about the burning of Muhammed Abu Khadir before his murder, or how they burned the Dawabsheh family while they were sleeping, without trying their killers?

Mr. Kerry, for 68 years we have been living under an Israeli occupation, but in the diaspora there is hope. Hope that America can be brave, according to the words of its own Constitution, thus lifting the darkness and honoring what it agreed to in 1947. Recognize that it agreed to divide Palestine into a Palestinian state that was 56 percent Israeli and 46 percent Palestinian.* Mr. Kerry, your country should respect the decisions it agreed to after Palestinian partition, such as the right of return for refugees to their homeland, because America is the primary reason people left their country in the first place.

The people of Palestine demand peace, and their brave leadership at the PLO requires that 80 percent of historical Palestine be returned to its people for peace to exist. As for now, all the Palestinians need from you is to say the truth and do what America has promised us. We need you to understand how it is a shame for the most powerful country in the world to not realize that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. It works against the will of the world and the 138 countries that recognize the state of Palestine along its 1967 borders.

It is wrong for America to be the only country that exercises its veto against people who want peace, and be the salvation of an occupation for 68 years.

This is the courage needed from the most powerful country in the world today.

*Editor’s note: These figures are accurately translated from the original.

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