Opinion |

Shhh, Palestinians – It’s Election Time in Israel

Please, keep quiet, my brethren! The Israelis are going to elections for your sake too, to determine your future. Remember, this is a democracy.

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
Palestinians celebrate the resignation of Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman as a woman holds a picture of Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh, in Gaza City November 14, 2018.
Palestinians celebrate the resignation of Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman as a woman holds a picture of Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh, in Gaza City November 14, 2018. Credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

In the first half of 2008, the Palestinian organizations fired an average of 100 rockets a month at the south from Gaza. Now, 10 years later, in two days of fighting, about 450 rockets were fired, in part due to two operations meant to wipe out the Palestinians’ military capability and which cost the lives of thousands of Gazans. Luckily Benjamin Netanyahu had second thoughts in this latest round. If he’d continued, Gaza would have become a regional rocket superpower.

As the saying goes, the arrogant don’t die, they just get replaced. Education Minister Naftali Bennett decided to teach the Palestinians a lesson. The ancient Arabic poet Jarir said: “Al-Farazdaq has declared that he shall kill Mirba’ / Rejoice, O Mirba’, at the prospect of a long life!” Hamas’ rockets can rest easy; Bennett has decided to eliminate them.

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Meanwhile, the prime minister explains that there are two types of data out there: one type for the masses, like us, that buy whatever the media feeds us, and another that is provided to the members of the security cabinet by the various intelligence agencies. And I don’t know why it’s the classified info that has me worried – yes, this was what prevented more bloodletting, but maybe it’s just a springboard to a much bloodier round to come.

Well, without being privy to the information provided to the select few, one can still figure that it’s a plan cooked up in Washington under the mesmerizing name of “the deal of the century” and involving Israel and its new pals: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and who knows who else. With the Palestinians, the interested party, absent as usual. Before the Nakba, the Palestinians relied on “the Arab brothers” and asked them to speak on their behalf, and the result was tragic. Today the Palestinians won’t let anyone else speak on their behalf – if you want them, talk to Ramallah, to the PA. But Israel prefers to turn only to Gaza, to Hamas.

Netanyahu says that Hamas is equivalent to ISIS but then works with it to achieve the deal of the century, which would mean wiping out Palestinian rights. All signs indicate that Hamas won’t be able to satisfy the Gazan public with the Qatari bait. Because the bait is pathetic and its cost – the crushing of Palestinian nationalism – is enormous, and from the start Gazans scorned the Qataris and their paltry donation, which is dividing them. Now the combative Israeli media that demands more bloodletting – among Palestinians, of course – is aligning itself with the biggest extremists in Israel: It can’t go back to business as usual in light of the “spoils” that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar displayed in Gaza – a pistol with a silencer – at a mass rally this week. Anyone watching Dana Weiss’s furious expression on the Hadashot news broadcast would have thought it was a column of Israeli tanks that Hamas had seized and was parading through the streets of Gaza.

Even after the killing of over 200 Palestinians at the demonstrations, and not in combat, on the Gaza border, the Israeli media doesn’t want the Palestinians to have even a little morale boost that could sweeten just a bit the hard days dealing with food shortages and lengthy power outages. Come on, Dana Weiss, let the Palestinians have a little enjoyment without making a face about it.

Right now all Israeli eyes are turned to former IDF chief Benny Gantz, who “is continuing to keep mum,” as reporter Rina Matzliah said. Pardon me, but I have a little trouble understanding why the Israeli public gives so much credit to a person who doesn’t speak; I haven’t even heard him comment on the price of tomatoes. Apparently, when most talk is empty, silence becomes a coveted value. Who knows, people wonder, maybe this silent guy will be the one to save us.

So let me make this impassioned plea to my Palestinian brethren: Please, keep quiet! The Israelis are going to elections for your sake too, to determine your future. Remember, this is a democracy.

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