Dear Yossi

I managed to read part of your book. To be more precise, I have read only the book’s first letter. Nonetheless, I have some thoughts on this letter, and I would like to share them with you. 

Before I start, however, let me tell you something: if the rest of your book is the same as the first letter then I’m sorry say that you will have failed to deliver the message you clearly seek to impart. The truth is that you are writing in a condescending manner that is typical of the Zionist mentality, failing to recognize or consider the other’s side. Your discourse and rhetoric in this book are not all that different from those of that Rabbi who called the Palestinians “cockroaches”. It is the same such rhetoric that has enabled the rape of Palestinian women and killing of Palestinian children.

It may sometimes appear that you are objective in the way you present your thoughts and perceive the other side. However, often your words suggest otherwise. On page eight, you talk about the soldier who entered Gaza’s Al-Bureij camp. You write: “He was murdered when a mob of Palestinians surrounded him and burned him alive”. The quotation may have ended but my questions have just begun. Why did the soldier enter Gaza? What was he doing there? Did he go there to visit his friend, as you did, or did he enter in order to kill some innocent people by whom he had never before been attacked?

Indeed, I did not see you writing anything about the dozens of Palestinians who were burned alive in the Gaza Strip, nor about the families whose houses have been torn down over their heads by the army whilst still inside them for no good reason. I’m not the only one who makes such accusations; your own army has repeatedly admitted that they have, for no good reason, killed innocent Palestinians.

I am reminded of your late prime minister, Ariel Sharon, who said in 2001:“I want to see a lot of blood”.

I would also like to remind you of the massacres of Deir Yasin and Kufur Qasim, the two Palestinian villages whose names will never be erased from our collective memory. They are testaments to your brutality. Here, you killed many innocent people and the murderers were never put on trial. Killing Palestinians in cold blood is an acceptable course of action for your side and it will never merit your condemnation, no matter where or how it is carried out. 

You spoke on page nine about the failure of peace talks despite Israeli goodwill. The first question that came to my mind was: Yossi, are you fooling yourself? Was it your goodwill that filled the West Bank with settlements and rendered the two-state solution impossible? Where was Shamir’s goodwill when he said in 1991 that he was going to waste 20 years of negotiation with the Palestinians over nothing? Where is the goodwill in Lieberman or Bibi Netanyahu’s actions? Those two hope to expel Palestinians from this land even though today’s Palestinians’ grandparents were born here before Israel was even born, and before even Lieberman’s grandmother was born in Russia. Where is the goodwill in your Nation State Law? It is a law that doesn’t recognize the Arabs who were here before those who issued the law were even born. Show me Rehavaam Ze’evi, Raphael Eitan or Bibi Netanyahu’s goodwill. They are extremists who don’t even consider Arabs to be human beings.

On page ten, you explain the Jewish right of return to their homeland, but you don’t demand the same right for Palestinian Arabs in Palestine, nor do you support the right of return for the ten million Palestinians who were displaced and expelled from their land by force. You cannot simply deny this truth by twisting the facts and claim that the Palestinians fled of their own volition and were not in fact expelled by the Israeli military.

You claim that you have the right to be here since your ancestors were here 3000 years ago. Yossi, this is just nonsense. How can you insist that you have the right to be here based on your claim that you have historical roots in the land from three millennia ago? In any case, the historical presence which you claim exists has already been proven false by well-known Zionist Jewish archaeologists. How is it that you recognize a 3000 year-old history whilst simultaneously denying a 72 year-old right? This is just nonsense.

How dare you talk to me about us being neighbors when you deny the truth? How dare you ask me to recognize and understand your suffering when you deny the suffering and pain you have brought upon me? You, yourself, admitted this in your book. And it’s not only you who has confessed as much; many soldiers of your army have done so as well. 

You talk about the legitimate Jewish right of return after a period of 3000 years despite the fact that so many of their families’ roots cannot even be traced. Simultaneously, you deny the right of return for a Palestinian student who left Palestine in 1980 to study abroad but was prevented from returning to his home by your military legislation. This person lost everything and became a homeless refugee in a matter of seconds.

You said you want to hear our stories, so here are the stories of my own uncle and one of my cousins, and there are many more painful stories to tell.

On page 11, you cite the story of a Jewish family losing a daughter who was about to get married. I felt the pain that this family has experienced because I lost my own 15-year-old brother whom your army admitted to killing for no reason. They offered us compensation, but as far as I’m concerned, whatever they may pay would not be worth even a scrap of my brother’s shoe. Your army killed my uncle, his son and one of my neighbors for no reason.

Why did you neglect to mention in your book the murder of 14 children in Gaza during your army’s assassination of a Hamas leader, despite the fact that one of your air force pilots explicitly warned that this operation would kill children? Prime Minister Sharon, back then, ordered the pilot to assassinate the target with no care for the innocent children. Have you ever read or watched what the Musta’arvin of your own special forces have said about murdering innocent Palestinians? One of them once said: “I felt that I was God himself, I could grant life and death to whomever I wanted”.

You were evidently biased in your discussion on the collapse of the 2000 peace talks, parroting your own side’s justification for the failure. Upon reading this section of your book, Yossi, I deemed you to be arrogant and blind. You spoke of Arafat’s rejection of the two serious offers in 2000 in a way that testifies to your colonizing Zionist aspirations and your disinterest in hearing the other side of the story. 

I don’t think that you have read or even want to read publications written by your own people – Jewish and American writers – which lay out the real reasons behind the failure of these talks. They state explicitly that the Israelis never made any serious offers to Yasser Arafat, nor to Abu Mazen, a leader who believes in you, Israelis, more than he believes in his own people.

You disappointed Abu Mazen, causing him to lose everything and making a fool of him in front of his people. You killed Arafat, saying that he was not a real partner for peace. Even Abu Mazen, the Palestinian leader who has pushed most for the Oslo Accords, is not a real partner in your eyes. I think that the only good partner as far as you’re concerned is the founder of the “Rawaabit elquraa” (a group of Palestinians who, before the Oslo Accords, cooperated with Israel on civil issues in the Territories), or perhaps someone like Saad Haddad (one of the leaders of the Christian militias who fought the PLO in Lebanon). These are the only people who have been willing to collaborate with you, enabling you to fulfil your colonizing aspirations. 

In attacking the Zionist political left on page 12, you belied your condescending attitude and extreme right-wing politics. I don’t necessarily disagree with your criticisms, however. The Israeli left is immensely cowardly, disappearing at critical moments of truth; the Israeli right wing killed Rabin and the Israeli left’s meagre response could be likened only to a dead person incapable of reaction.

However, your left is getting weaker and your extreme right-wing is becoming stronger and stronger. You have 99 right-wing Members of Knesset; more than 30 of them are religious and racist. The irony is that you are bashing and fighting extremist Palestinian parties like Hamas, even though Hamas accepted the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. But this means nothing to you. You continue to demonize Hamas whilst your own radical political and religious parties have seized control of your life and politics.

Furthermore, according to your own standards and definitions of extreme and radical groups, your own religious Jewish institutions are becoming more radical and extreme than Iran and even Egypt when Muhammad Morsi was in power. I think that Israel, whose regime has no opposition, much like Iran and North Korea, ranks amongst the most radical countries in the whole world.
Turning back to your book, on page 15, in discussing your return as part of an ingathering of an indigenous people, you describe the phenomenon as a historical justice which in some way compensates for the historical injustice to which you have been subjected in the past. But why should I pay the price of this historical injustice? Why should your justice come at my expense?

I don’t think you have read the publications of the Jewish historians and archaeologists Shlomo Sand and Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University which prove that you were never the only inhabitants of Palestine and you never existed there as a nation. This is without even mentioning that some academics deny all the stories of the Torah. However, I respect the fact that you are a religious person and I contend that you should believe the contents of your holy book. By the way, some of what is written in our holy book, the Qur’an, confirms some of what is written in your Torah.

As you know, the Torah was written over the course of 700 years in several different places. I don’t believe that the Torah should be used as a political, historical or archaeological reference to prove or grant any legitimate right to anybody. And let us assume that I have recognized your legitimate right to be here based on your historical and religious claims, what about us? Where does that leave the people who lived in Palestine and paid the price of your return?
Furthermore, you talk about walls, but you must surely know that while you can freely cross to your neighbor’s side of the wall, your neighbor cannot cross to yours. Have you ever thought about this? Each and every country in the world grants citizenship to whomever is born on the land of that country, except your country. You deprive the Arabs of this very basic right in a manner that can be likened to the behavior of Saudi Arabia and the other terrorist Arab Gulf countries.

My father was born on this land before Israel was even born, so why did Israel not grant him citizenship? Why is he prohibited from visiting Jaffa to pick oranges like he used to before Israel was established? How come the Ethiopian, who may have arrived to this land just days ago, enjoys the right to live and get citizenship here whilst you simultaneously deprive my father of these rights? What’s more, you know perfectly well that this Ethiopian is not even Jewish! 

On page 17, in speaking about the pain you feel whilst thinking about ​​giving up on the mountains of the West Bank, you ask of me to understand this pain. But why can’t you understand the pain that I feel when I visit Jaffa and gaze upon its beautiful plains? Why don’t you talk about this?

You talk about the Holocaust, another difficult topic, but I want you to know that we read and educate ourselves about you just as you educate yourselves about us. We know who helped incite the Nazis against the Jews.

We also know that you were considering Uganda and Argentina as potential territories in which to establish your state. The Torah is merely a story that persuades religious Jews to build a Jewish state in Palestine. But you must know that this claim doesn’t grant anybody any right, nor can it hide your colonialist ideology.  

If you want to be my neighbor, you have to get your boot off my back. You have to recognize your denial of my very existence. You have to admit that you have killed me, and you must compensate me for that, even though no amount of compensation will ever heal the pain. You have to recognize my rights. You have to see me as an equal who is also deserving of rights.

The Palestinian will never see you as his neighbor as long as you keep pressing your boot in his back whilst demanding payment for the efforts of removing the boot; the price of this payment will pierce his heart, cut off his hands and break his ribs.

Qasem Y. Awad



To read yossi’s response to Qasem go to this link




Qasem’s Second response to Yossi:


Dear Mr Yossi,

As you know, it is now Ramadan and we, the Muslim people, are fasting. I therefore don’t have much time or strength to write and read. However, I shall try to continue reading your letters. I must make one point very clear: in my eyes, the basis – in fact, the precondition – for dialogue and discussion, must lie with the following acknowledgements:

  1. Whilst I do agree that Jews suffered in Europe, it must be recognized that it was not us who caused your suffering.
  2. Just as I acknowledge your suffering, you have to acknowledge that your government has caused us misery. We, Palestinians, have paid the price for your suffering. I believe that all Palestinians are waiting for a clear admission from your government that the Israelis exiled 900,000 innocent people in 1948 and that they demolished their houses and have killed many thousands since. Some 100,0000 Palestinians have been imprisoned in Israeli jail cells for no reason other than fighting the Israeli occupation despite the fact that this resistance is deemed legal by international law. As long as there is no clear and sound admission by your government regarding our suffering, the discussion you hope to facilitate will lead nowhere.

You suffered in Europe and now you receive political and financial support. We are still suffering from your actions. You have to admit that and pay a price. Only then will we be able to sit and talk, and perhaps even reach reasonable solutions.

Qasem from Palestine


To read Yossi’s responses check this link