Opinion |

Drucker Is Mad at the Wrong Arabs

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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Joint List flyers for the 2021 election, last March.
Joint List flyers for the 2021 election, last March. Credit: Ilan Assayag
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

At the end of his opinion piece, Raviv Drucker faithfully expresses the feelings of the Palestinian people with regard to the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt. He states that, “The Palestinians see Sadat as an Arab leader who threw them under the bus.” But then, Drucker goes on to speak about Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Arab opposition party, the Joint List. He claims that, “If Odeh is trying to convince the Zionist left that they have betrayed their values by comparing Abbas to Sadat, then his algorithm has apparently gone completely haywire.”

According to Drucker, the correct “algorithm” for Odeh is for the Palestinians to align with the “Zionist left” in Prime Minister Naftali Bennet's government. They should lie to themselves and say, “Sadat, the hero, the genius of our times.”

Palestinians knew in their hearts that peace with Egypt would rain disaster on them (and on the Israelis). And indeed, following its withdrawal from Sinai, Israel launched a war against Palestinians in Lebanon that left 18,000 Palestinians, Lebanese and Syrians as well as 654 Israelis dead. Even today, peace with Egypt is about joint security interests; the two peoples aren’t truly at peace. Any peace that bypasses the Palestinians puts us even further away from real peace.

The leaders of the occupation will tell you that Arabs only understand force. Peace-seeking Israelis who demand withdrawal from the occupied territories stand helpless. The right tells them that Israel has achieved peace without withdrawing a centimeter, you idiots! Indeed, in the wake of the peace agreements, the right has only grown stronger. Meanwhile, playing the idiot, the Zionist left continues to innocently wonder why Palestinians don’t accept the peace offered to them by their overlords.

Well, dear idiots, the Palestinian people refuse to accept this definition of peace because it abuses them. The true peace-seeker is correct when he says that when Israel was truly at war with Arab countries, there was still hope that one day we would achieve peace; but now, amid a torrent of “peace agreements,” pessimism reigns. The same algorithm guides Drucker in his attitude toward Arab Israelis: If the Zionist left appoints them a leader, they should stand at attention.

But there’s a different algorithm, one of opposition versus coalition. The role of the opposition is to challenge the government, and if it can, to replace it. But because the alternative was a Netanyahu government, the Joint List had to act responsibly. It had to fight the injustices of Netanyahu's government while simultaneously preventing it from returning to power.

Even if the Electricity Law is reasonable, as the opposition, the Joint List's job is to point out its flaws and injustices. This is all the more so when the law has already been nearly emptied of all its content, and when the Arabs remain hostage to Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who has “promised” to connect their homes to the grid as slowly as possible.

And when the bulldozers chomp on Arab land, what do you expect, dear Drucker, that they’ll fall silent because they finally have government representation?

The Joint List’s strategy is to support an alternative government to Netanyahu, not to be part of it. To be in the coalition means to be a partner to the policy of occupation. And when the Joint List, including the United Arab List, supported Benny Gantz, it did so to get rid of Netanyahu's regime. But it never agreed to be part of the occupation. That is the difference.

But instead of complaining about the leadership of the coalition – which routinely abuses the UAL in front of the Arab public by passing laws that even Netanyahu's government wouldn’t have dared to – of all things, Drucker directs his anger at Odeh and his fellow Joint List lawmaker Ahmad Tibi. Et tu, Drucker?

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