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What joy. At long last we have a terror attack of our own, at long last we are on the side of the good guys. True, deep mourning and terrible sadness descended on Shfaram this weekend, but still, for the Arab sitting in front of the screen there was also a kind of achievement in the terror attack, a consolation.

How long was it before MK Azmi Bishara (Balad) was interviewed on television? And not only Bishara, but all of them were there: MK Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash), MK Abdulmalik Dehamshe (United Arab List), Ahmed Tibi (Hadash-Ta'al). And they weren't even invited to condemn and to defend themselves. When was the last time an Arab MK who appeared on television wasn't there in the role of the accused who is attacked by a skeptical broadcaster?

And now this weekend it happened, because of the blood that was spilled in vain in Shfaram. Now we are on the map, in the role of the victim, purely the victim. By virtue of the terror attack maybe they will let us alone a bit, because of the blood that was spilled in Shfaram, thinks the naive Arab. Maybe they will regard us differently.

After all, every group has to pay the blood tax, and everyone knows that there is nothing like a terror attack that claims lives to create a sense of belonging. At long last we are part of the family of blood. True, it wasn't a Palestinian, someone from Islamic Jihad or Hamas, who blew himself up in a bus in the middle of an Arab neighborhood, knowing without a doubt that he was killing only Arabs. In that case, the situation would have improved immeasurably.

But still, even a Jewish terror attack is something. Perhaps now they will let us alone a bit, perhaps we will stop being a security threat for a moment. Perhaps now they will have pity on us a bit, will say to themselves those poor Arabs, we didn't know that they also get sad when their sons are killed. And they even showed restraint, no doubt about that. The police were there, there was a strike and a funeral and they behaved all right. Maybe after all they aren't all that dangerous. That is to say - most of them.

Nevertheless, there are always a few rotten apples. True, Arabs died in previous terror attacks, restaurant workers, tourists in hotels. And then too an Arab sat in front of the television and hoped that there was an Israeli Arab among the casualties, because somehow this is supposed to soften the anger of the masses. Look, we're dying too. Please don't blame us. Please, we're really sorry.

Perhaps by virtue of the terror attack in Shfaram, thinks the Arab who was educated from earliest childhood to be afraid of the authorities, we'll stop being a demographic threat. Perhaps learned and balanced experts will stop suggesting solutions like exchanges of territories. Perhaps the rightists who are proposing transfer will become a bit more delicate.

Now we have a terror attack of our own, a terrorist - I swear that this is what they called him on television, a terrorist by the name of Natan Zada, who had dark skin and whose father has a mustache and who grew up in a shaky building. A terrorist, they said so many times that the viewer surely got confused and thought of him as an Arab. A Jewish terrorist killed civilians, citizens. How long have we waited for them to tell us this, how long for this definition, citizens.

For this is the fear of every Arab who dwells in Zion, the threat, morning and night, of the denial of his citizenship. Isn't he shouted at from childhood, true, you are a citizen, but this is an administrative matter and it's mainly because of a mistake. This is not a long-term thing. Your citizenship is temporary.

By virtue of the terror attack in Shfaram, we have received a full acknowledgment from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon himself that we are citizens. This what he said in his official condemnation of the attack. He called us citizens and not just citizens but "innocent citizens, civilians."

Gentlemen, this is heavy for us, all at once. It is hard for us to digest titles like that and manifestations of solidarity that come at a single stroke. Please, serve them up to us in small portions, gradually. We are accustomed to being a cancer in the heart of the nation, a fifth column, members of minority groups, abettors of illegal sojourners and now one soldier, a terrorist named Natan Zada, has turned us into innocent citizens.

Thank you, Natan Zada, for the sweet illusion. Thank you, Natan Zada, for having fulfilled a dream, though momentary, but still a big dream. With a submachine gun you have succeeded in doing what a million Arabs had not succeeded in doing. Ever since the establishment of the state, we have been begging to be part of it. We learned to keep quiet when necessary, to bend our backs, to be grateful for the discrimination, to accept the hatred with understanding, to forgive Kafr Qassem and the events of October 2000, even to bear the guilt.

Thank you, Natan Zada, for having brought us such moments of illusory grace and thank you for stirring in us once again the vain hope that there is still a chance, that there is reason to dream that we will be equal citizens in the Jewish state.