Walter Clay Lowdermilk, one of the most important American agronomists of the 20th century, was so impressed by the advanced techniques that the Zionist settlers developed for water-efficient agriculture and land use, that he devoted a whole book about these methods of land reclamation in his Palestine: Land of Promise. In contrast to this ingenuity, Palestinians in Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank have been rejoicing at the sight of Israeli land being set on fire by incendiary balloons. A report is here:
Back during the wildfires of 2016, the Fatah movement adopted a similar stance, underscoring “The Palestinian identity of all Palestinian rocks and trees being burned now, which are part of our historic Palestine….” There would be no point in bringing up the “diagnosis” of Mansour and people like him, whose views of the Zionist enterprise and the return of the Jewish people are well-known, if it weren’t for the nationalist pyromanaics whose discourse repeats the same perception: that the fire is a blow to the enemy and the “occupied land” at the same time. Or in other words, “If I can’t have it, neither can you.”
The Palestinians have taken great pleasure in the fires their arson balloons have set. They are harming the Zionist enemy, and are perfectly willing to destroy what they regard as their own, Palestinian land, as long as they are also depriving the Zionist enemy of its use. Apparently their attachment to the land, and supposed love for it, are not enough to outweigh their desire to harm the Zionists in any way they can. Better for those farms to go up in flames than that they feed the hated Jews (and, of course, Arab Israelis as well). Better to burn down those forests if they provide profit and pleasure to the Zionists.
This approach is nothing new. Many Palestinians danced on their roofs 30 years ago, when Saddam Hussein fired missiles at us (and them) during the Gulf War. Last May, many gathered at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem were happy at the sound of the sirens as rockets were fired on Jerusalem, the city where they themselves live.
In the Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein fired rockets at Israel, Palestinians – and Israeli Arabs – danced on their roofs, cheering the destruction wrought on Israelis, and indifferent to the fact that the Iraqi rockets also killed Palestinian and Israeli Arabs. As long as Zionists were suffering, the Palestinian Arabs were happy. And this May, at the beginning of the Hamas-Israel war, Arabs in Jerusalem were delighted that Hamas rockets hit Jerusalem, even though it was their home, just as long as Zionists were killed or wounded as well (as it turned out, there were no Israeli casualties in Jerusalem).
In the last few weeks, another version of “If I can’t have it, neither can you” emerged in the Haifa District Prosecutor’s Office. A few Arab prosecutors asked to be exempted from handling cases against Arabs who rioted during Operation Guardian of the Walls. This is an unacceptable position for anyone who has supposedly made a commitment to go after anyone who breaks the law, especially those who try to murder or attack Jews. When Khalil Awad, 52, and his daughter Nadin, 16, were killed last May in a village near Lod by a direct hit from a rocket fired by Hamas, there were Arab Israelis in Lod and other places nearby who refused to condemn the attack. Years ago, I witnessed a similar situation that took place after a major terrorist attack in Jerusalem in November 2002, in which 11 people were killed and over 50 wounded in a suicide bombing on the No. 20 bus.
When I got to Shaare Zedek Medical Center to interview the wounded and their loved ones, I met Arab students from the Galilee who were studying at David Yellin College and living in rented apartments in the Beit Zafafa neighborhood, like their wounded friends. All my and my colleagues’ attempts to get them to condemn the despicable act were in vain. From their perspective, despite knowing the wounded personally, the suicide bombing was legitimate.
So deep is their inculcated hatred of the Jews that none of the Arab students the author spoke to were willing to condemn the terrorist bombing of a bus, even though they knew some of the wounded; for them the suicide bombing was a legitimate blow struck at the Zionist enemy, in this case the “enemy” being civilian men, women, and children.
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Author: Hugh Fitzgerald
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