Dear Yossi

I managed to read part of your book, to be more precised I have finished reading only the first letter. I have some thoughts this letter and I would like to share them with you. 
But before I start let me tell you something: if the rest of your book is written the same the first letter was written then I would be sorry to tell you that you have failed to deliver the message you have been trying to deliver. The truth is that you are writing in a condescending manner that reflects the Zionist ideology which doesn’t recognize or consider the other side. Your discourse and rhetoric in this book are not that different than that Rabbi’s rhetoric who called the Palestinians “cockroaches”. It is the same rhetoric that gave permission to rape Palestinian women and kill the Palestinian kids.

Though it sometimes seems like you are objective in the way you present your thoughts and understanding in you’re the way you perceive the other side.  

However, you wrote on page 8 about the soldier who entered Gaza in Al-Bureij camp. You said: “He was murdered when a mob of Palestinians surrounded him and burned him alive”. The quote has ended but my questions have just started: Why did the soldier enter Gaza? What was he doing there? Did he go there to visit his friend, as you did, or he went there to kill some innocent people who had never attacked nor did something bad to him?
In fact, I did not see you writing anything about dozens of Palestinians who were burned alive in Gaza Strip, nor about those whom your army destroyed their houses on top of their heads for no reason. It’s not only me who says this but also your army who had repeatedly admitted that they killed innocent Palestinians for no reason.

This reminded me of your late PM Ariel Sharon speech when he said in 2001:“I want to see a lot of blood”..

I also want to remind you of the massacre of Dir Yasin and Kufur Qasim, the two Palestinian villages which their names will never be erased from our collective memory. They are the reminder of your brutality. You killed many innocent people there while the murderers were never put on trial. Killing Palestinians in cold blood is an acceptable action by your side and it will never get your condemnation wherever or however this happens. 

You spoke on page 9 about the failure of the peace talks despite the Israeli goodwill, and the first question that came to my mind: Yossi, are you fooling yourself? Is it your goodwill that  filled the West Bank with settlements and made the two states solution impossible? Where was Shamir’s goodwill when he said in 1991 that he is going to waste 20 years of negotiation with the Palestinian over nothing? Where is the goodwill in Lieberman or Bibi Netanyahu’s actions? Those two who want to expel Palestinians from this land even though their grandparents were born on this land before Israel was born, and before Lieberman’s grandmother was even born in Russia. Where is the goodwill in your Jewish Nationality Law? This law that doesn’t recognize the Arabs who were here before those who issued the law was even born. Show me Rahbaam  Ze’evi’s or Raphael Eitan’s or Bibi Netanyahu’s goodwill, those extremists who doesn’t even consider Arabs as human beings.

You mentioned and explained on page 10 how Jews have the right of return to their homeland, but you never demanded the same right for the Palestinian Arabs in Palestine, nor did you support the right of return for the 5 million Palestinians who were displaced and expelled from their land by force. You cannot just deny this truth by twisting the facts and claim that the Palestinians fled on their own and they were not expelled by the Israeli Army.

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 claim that you have the right to be here because you claim that you have history here 3000 years ago! This history, that you claim you have here on this land, is already proved to be false by well-known Zionist Jewish archaeologists. How come you recognize a 3000-year-history and deny 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 my suffering and pain that you caused? You yourself admitted this in your book. It’s not only you who admitted, many soldiers of your army admitted this as well. 

You talk about the legitimate Jewish right of return after a period of 3000 years, when so much of their families’ roots cannot be even traced. At the same time you deny the right of return for a Palestinian student who left Palestine in order to study abroad in 1980, but couldn’t come back because your military law deprived his right to return home. This person lost everything and became a homeless refugee in few 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 painful stories to tell.

On page 11 you mentioned the story of Jewish family that lost a son who were about to get married. I felt the pain that this family felt because I lost my 15-year-old brother, and your army admitted that they killed him for no reason. They offered us compensations, but in my eyes whatever they pay is not worth a piece in my brother’s shoes. Your army killed my uncle and his son and one of my neighbors for no reason.

Why did not you mention in your book the murder of 14 kids in Gaza when your army assassinated one of Hamas leader, despite one of your air forces pilots who warned explicitly that this operation would kill children? Sharon, back then, ordered the pilot to assassinate the target and never cared about the innocent kids. Have you ever read or watched what the Musta’rivin of your own special forces said about murdering innocent Palestinians? One of them said once: “ I felt that I am God himself, I grant life and death to whoever I want”.

You also spoke about the failure of the 2000 peace talks and you were completely biased to your side’s justification behind this failure. I felt when I was reading this part of your book that you, Yossi, were arrogant and blind, You spoke about Arafat’s rejection of the two serious offers in 2000 and 2008 in a way that just proves your colonizing Zionists aspirations, a way that just proves to me that you don’t want to hear the other side or his part of the story. 

I don’t think that you have read or even want to read publications written by your own people, Jews, and American writers about the real reasons behind the failure of these talks. They said explicitly that Israelis never offered serious offers to Yassir Arafat or Abu Mazen, this leaders who believes in you, Israelis, more than he believes in his own people.

You disappointed him, caused him to lose everything and made a fool of him in front of his people. You killed Arafat saying that he was not a real partner for peace. Even Abu Mazin, the most Palestinian leader who was pushing for Oslo Accords, is not a real partner in your eyes. I think the only good partner you fantasize is the one who came up with the Palestinian Villages Collaborations, or probably someone like Saad Haddad is a good partner in your eyes. Those are the only ones who would collaborate with you so you can fulfill your colonizing aspirations. 

On page 12, you attacked the Zionist left wing, and this is what proved to me your condescending extreme right-wing viewpoints. But I don’t disagree with you because the Israeli left is so coward. They disappear when the moment of truth comes. The Israeli right wing killed Rabin and the Israeli left wing was like a dead person with no reaction .

However, your left-wing is getting weaker and your extreme right-wing is becoming stronger and stronger. You have 99 right-wing Knesset Members, including more than 30 religious and racist ones. The irony is that you are bashing and fighting the Palestinian extreme parties like Hamas, even though Hamas accepted the two state solution based on the 1967 borders. But this means nothing to you. You kept demonizing Hamas, while your radical political and religious parties have controlled your life and your politics.

And according to your own standards and definition of extreme and radical groups – your our religious Jewish institutes are becoming more radical and extreme than Iran itself, even more radical than Egypt when Muhammad Morsi was in charge. I think you sit on top of the radical countries in the whole world. Israel has a regime that doesn’t have any opposition, what makes it similar to Iran and North Korea.
 
Back to your book, you continued talking again about the return of the indigenous people on page 15 and how your return was a historical justice and a sort of compensation for the historical injustice that you were subjected to. But why should I pay the price of this historical injustice that you are talking about? Why should your justice be on my expanse?

I don’t think you read the publications of the Jewish historians and  archaeologists Shlomo Sand and Frankenstein of Tel Aviv University who proved that you were only once in Palestine and you never existed there as a nation. Not to mention that some of them deny all the stories of the Torah, but I respect the fact that you are a religious person and you should believe what’s written in your holy book. And 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 in course of 700 years and this was in several places. I don’t believe that the Torah should be 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? The people who lived in Palestine and paid the price of your return.
 
Furthermore, you were talking about walls, but you have to know that you can freely cross to your neighbour’s side of the wall, but your neighbour cannot cross to yours. Have you ever thought about this?  Each and every country in the world grants it’s citizenship to whoever is born on the land of that country except you. You deprive the Arabs very basic this right, similar to the way that Saudi Arabia and the rest of the terrorist Arab Gulf countries behave.

My father was born on this land before Israel was even born, so why Israel did not grant him its citizenship? Why is he prohibited from visiting Jaffa to pick oranges like he used to do before Israel was established? How come the Ethiopian, who may arrived to this land 10 days ago, enjoys the right to live here and get a citizenship while you deprive my father of these rights? Even though you know that this Ethiopian is not Jewish! 

On page 17 you spoke about the pain you feel when you think about ​​giving up on the West Bank mountains, and you said I must understand this pain. But why couldn’t you understand the pain I that feel when I just visit Jaffa and look at its beautiful plains? Why didn’t you talk about this?

You talked about the Holocaust, which is another difficult topic, but I want you to know that we read and educate ourselves about you the same way you educate yourselves about us. We know who contributed in inciting the Nazis against the Jews.

We also know that you were thinking about Uganda and Argentina as potential lands to establish your state there. The Torah was just a story of persuading the religious Jews to build the Jewish state in Palestine. But you have to know that this claim doesn’t grant anybody any right and it cannot hide your colonialist ideology.  

If you want to be my neighbour you have to take yourself off my chest. You have to recognize your denial to my existence. You have to admit that you have killed me and you must compensate me for that, even though no compensation would ever heal the pain. You have to recognize my rights. You have to see me as equal as you in your rights.

The Palestinian would never see you as his neighbour as long as you are continuously sitting on his chest and demanding him to pay you for the efforts of taking you off his chest, this price that will pierce his heart, cut off his hands and break his ribs.

Qasem Y. Awad