Our culture and social mores prohibit us from failing to welcome our guests, even when our land is occupied, our cities are free for the taking and our homes are not our homes. But I knew that you were coming to our region to discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict, which officially ended long ago when your colleague, Henry Kissinger, asked Anwar Sadat to declare that the 1973 War would be the last of the wars. Then, four Arab countries went on to simultaneously normalize relations with Israel in what is known as the Abraham Accords. Finally, there was the peace agreement with the Palestinians that was signed at your White House, an agreement known as the Oslo Accords.
What will you discuss, Mr. Secretary, other than what has been discussed by the more than 20 U.S. secretaries of state who came before you? Since William Rogers in 1969, they have examined, counted, promised, postponed, threatened and ignored. The most recent among them was Mike Pompeo, who blessed Donald Trump’s colony in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and agreed to the Israeli annexation of all of the Jordan Valley.
Come, Mr. Secretary, with “Israel’s right to defend itself” on the tip of your tongue. But what about the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves? Israel occupied what was left of their land in 1967, and over the decades, they have defended themselves with stones against guns and tanks. And when this did no good, your Israel only became more arrogant, thanks to the financial, military and economic support you provide. Gaza used its missiles only after Israel launched four never-ending wars against it. I see that you will not visit Gaza, only Ramallah. It’s OK, but Gaza, Mr. Secretary, has been under total siege for more than 15 years. Don’t you think that it, too, has the right to defend itself? The American Jewish philosopher Noam Chomsky once said, “The problem is not that Israel is a racist, aggressive, occupied state, but the problem is that it still appears to the public to be an oppressed state, while the real oppressed ‘Palestinians’ appear to be terrorists and darkness.”*
The days ahead will show, while they still stretch long in front of you as secretary of state of the Great America, that the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem is not a mosque, church or holy shrine. Palestinians will come from everywhere to defend themselves against the door being slammed in the face of their religion. With a shrewd and damaging approach, you divide us into moderates and terrorists. And while this may be true of some of us, it is certainly not true of all of us. Meanwhile, Israel is preventing 2 million “Israeli” Palestinians from rising in solidarity with their brothers in Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah by arresting them in the hundreds. You will not succeed. Just as you will not visit Gaza and see the consequences of the brutal, barbaric human turmoil there. This is because you do not want to remember that some of the blood of those children is on your hands.
*Editor’s note: Although accurately translated, the quoted remark could not be independently verified.