Dear Mr Netanyahu: Sorry we dared to dream. Yours, Israel’s Arab population

Sayed Kashua writes: For a moment I was optimistic.

For one moment this week the hope I had utterly lost last summer – a summer suffused with racism, hatred, blood and devastation – came back. For one moment, after I left Jerusalem with my family for life in Illinois, I thought that maybe there’s still a chance, maybe there are still enough people in Israel who refuse to rule and oppress another nation.

The last pre-election polls in the Israeli media predicted a loss for the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the head of the Arab parties’ Joint List, the young lawyer Ayman Odeh, gave me hope that it was not too late to stop the fascism. Odeh took part in a television debate with Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who as usual called Odeh and the rest of the country’s Arab citizens – people like me – a fifth column, the spearhead of the terrorist organisations in the Knesset.

Odeh smiled tranquilly, and spoke about unity, cooperation, terminating the occupation in the Palestinian territories and forging a future of equality in Israel. The young lawyer succeeded in cutting Lieberman down to size, and showed him exactly for what he is: a benighted, pathetic racist.

For a moment I no longer felt afraid of Lieberman and of his threats against the Arab citizens; for a moment I wanted to believe it was still possible. [Continue reading…]

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