In a quick passing sentence in the Introduction to his chapter, A Country in Darkness, Vijay Prashad wrote:
Palestine struggles alone. Israel turns, hand on the pillow, pushing down and says, “Look, Palestine is threatening us, endangering our lives. Others look away, giving Israel license to push harder.[i]
That image of smothering Palestine caught my imagination. I picture some poor victim being pushed to the floor, thrashing about, feet and hands clawing in the air doing any and everything in his power to push away the pillow so he can breathe.
Now, make the pillow invisible and all the thrashing around looks unreasonable and out of control. Is that not exactly what our US media and politicians have done. They freely talk about the unreasonable Palestinians who simply want to deny Israel’s right to exist. Make the pillow invisible and every reaction from rocks to rockets looks like the acts of mad men. Nobody is in control. Nobody wants peace.
In January 2004, Sheikh Yassin said he was willing to end armed resistance against Israel if a Palestinian state was created in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi also said that Palestinians would declare long hudna in exchange for independence.
On March 22, Israel assassinated Sheikh Yassin, On April 17, they killed al-Rantissi.[ii] To this day, most of Palestine’s leaders have either been killed or are sitting in Israeli prisons. But if Palestine does not resist, it will totally suffocate under the Israeli pillow. And its reaction to Israel’s theft of its land and water, the continued enlargement of Israel’s apartheid wall, road blocks, check points, illegal imprisonment of Palestinians, including children, the cutting off of electricity, and regular bombardment of Gaza will go unnoticed.
And as long as the good citizens of the US refuse to see the pillow and allow Israel to dictate our conscience, little will change. The pain of the pillow will press down harder and harder.
August 12, 2017
[i] Vijay Prashad, Letters to Palestine, (Verso Books, NYC, 2015) p.9.