Adonis Diaries

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My grandmother, the Palestinian

A Love Story or a faked narrative?

Note: Be warned. This article is written by an extremist Zionist far-right Jew. It was meant to state that the name Palestine and Palestinians were created to bring the names of Jews and Israel to oblivion. I don’t mind very controversial articles: it is an opportunity for me to try debunking these faked world views. Sentences in parenthesis are mine

Dvora Marcia, my grandmother, was a Palestinian. I have the documents to prove it.

Featured image
My grandmother – taken in Tel Aviv 1933

She went to school in Palestine. She grew up in Palestine. Got married, had two boys and worked with her (first) husband in Irgun Hashomer to protect Jewish land from being stolen by Bedouin.

My grandmother worked as head secretary in the Israel Diamond Exchange and served as a liaison between members of Israel’s different underground resistance units (meaning Jewish terrorist factions), helping them pass messages between each other – all for one purpose… to free Palestine.

From the river to the sea, Palestine must be free!

(That’s what we in the Middle-East call Greater Syria, one people, one nation: current Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Iraq, including Cyprus)

Free from the British. Free to return to her natural state. To return to being what she always was – Israel, Zion.

My grandmother went to America to lobby for the foundation of the State of Israel. She distributed pamphlets and spoke on the radio. She spoke passionately in front of a number of different audiences, raising money and awareness for the plight of the people of Palestine.

My grandmother was a freedom fighter. Not a terrorist, she was a real freedom fighter, fighting for the right of her people, the Jewish people, to live freely in their homeland.

It was hearing my grandmother speak on the radio that compelled my grandfather to seek her out. He felt he had to meet her. Once I asked him why he, born in to a non-practicing Christian family, was interested and so moved by my grandmother’s plea to free Palestine and help the Jewish people rebuild their homeland.

He is answer was: “Because I thought that Jewish blood was worth more than Arab oil.”

(“Arab” is what the Israelis have been trying hard to define the Palestinian identity, so that they implicitly give the idea that the Palestinians can be safely transferred through successive wars of expansion to other ‘Arab” land. That’s what exactly Israel did since 1948. Palestinian families have been transferred 6 times, whenever they managed to survive) 

He then went on to tell me that, when he finally found her, it took him a total of 3 seconds to realize that he had to marry her. It wasn’t long before he did, becoming her second husband.

My grandparents danced in the streets of New York celebrating their joy over the end of the British Mandate and the official establishment of the State of Israel. Shortly afterwards, they left America and moved to Israel. My mother was born in Jaffa.

My grandmother, the Palestinian, had an Israeli daughter.

In a time when the world seems to have gone insane, everything is topsy turvy. Black is white, up is down and facts that were once understood by all have now become extremely confusing and too complicated to comprehend.

Palestine.

Palestine is a name given to the Land of Israel for the sole purpose of disconnecting the Jewish people from Judea, from Israel, from Zion. This was done in the 2nd century CE, when the Romans crushed the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba (132 CE), and gained control of Jerusalem and Judea which was renamed Palaestina in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel.

(The name Palestine was coined 12 centuries before the existence of any sect called Jewish. The Palestinians occupied the stretch of land from El Arich, Gaza and Eshkelon. The remaining land was called Canaan and Jerusalem was the Capital of the Canaanite Kingdom. The Jews were mere Bedouins south of current Judea and never reached any kinds of seas. Later, their warrior God Jehovah was used by the Canaanite during period of wars to incite the mercenary tribal Jews to cooperate and a tiny idol temple for Jehovah installed in Jerusalem close to their main temple. Mind you that Israel means “Isr El” or the land of El, the highest God among the gods of the Canaanite and Phoenician Gods. The same as the Idol Allah was the highest among the “Arabic peninsula” gods before Islam)

After World War I, the name “Palestine” was applied to the territory that was placed under British Mandate; this area included not only present-day Israel but also present-day Jordan. Leading up to Israel’s independence in 1948, it was common for the international press to label Jews, not Arabs, living in the mandate as Palestinians.

Words give meaning and form to reality, thus names are of vast importance. It is obvious that Jews belong in Judea, but who belongs in Palestine?

Palestine is and always was, a politically motivated name. It is a name that is meant to denigrate and destroy the Jewish connection to her homeland. If you will – calling Israel, “Palestine” is the original hate speech. (As calling Palestinians as “Arabs” is another hate speech)

And today, out of nowhere, there suddenly is a new people called “Palestinians” and they are demanding “Palestine” for themselves. And most people in the world go along with this story, furthering a narrative that is a perversion of history and one that steals and makes a mockery of the efforts my Palestinian grandmother and thousands of others like her to reinstate Palestine to her rightful status of being recognized for who she really is and always was – Israel (Meaning Palestine or Canaan?).

It’s probably the biggest media stunt in the history of the world. And everyone has accepted it. The world has recognized that there is a “Palestinian people” and they no longer mean what this term always meant – Jews.

Any people, the world agrees, has the right to self-determination (unless they are Kurds or Tibetan). Suddenly it becomes reasonable to give “Palestine” to the “Palestinians.”

When Palestine, Texas was named, its founders were not thinking about an Arab nation. Neither were the people of Palestine, Illinois. They were thinking of Zion, the country who America’s founders modeled her after. (Fake conjecture. Palestine is Palestine and Not Zion)

The “Palestinian narrative” is one big commercial that the world has swallowed, hook, line and sinker. This is based on the premises that if you repeat a lie enough times people begin to believe it. If enough believe it becomes fact. (The same mantra that Zionist Hasbara is applying: keep lying through your teeth and start believing your faked narrative)

But the facts are that there are Jews and there are Arabs. There are Israeli Arabs, Jordanian Arabs, Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian Arabs. There are Muslim Arabs and Christian Arabs.

(A very confused mind trying to make some logic. Arab refers to the language Arabic, one of the slang of the Aramaic main language, as Hebrew is. The expansion of the Islamic Arabic tribes was done through the original people in each land, far more cultured and united: it is basically an Islamic expansion)

Arab “Palestinians” are a nationality invented to facilitate and justify cleansing Jews from Israel.

The “Palestinians” are stealing my history in order to steal my land. Stealing my land is one step before my annihilation. Without Israel there is no Jewish people. The “Palestinians” are claiming my history as their own. Denying my roots, to deny my future. (It is the way around. The Jews who immigrated to Palestine in the early 20th century called themselves Palestinians.)

Words are powerful. Every single person who uses the terminology as defined by the Arabs who wish to establish the State of Palestine is complicit.

You are literally, wiping Israel off the map. (As Google wiped Palestine from the maps?)

We have all been complicit. It is time to change our language and return to the factual, historical definitions. Before it is too late.

It’s really not that complicated. Palestine was always Israel. Palestinians were Jews. (It is the way around. Read note #2)

For the love of Zion, my grandmother was a Palestinian.

Note 2I conjecture that all the minority people in the Middle-East are one people (Armenians, Kurds, Syriacs, Assyrians, Keldans, Yazidis, Sunnis from Syria and Iraq, Shias from Iraq and Syria, Greek Orthodox in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, Maronites from Lebanon, Druzes in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine…) we are One people. Let’s Not get hung on names that were attached to us in periods of foreign aggression on our land to divide us and control us. 

As a warrior empire invade our land, a few of us allied to the invaders and other resisted. The end result is that many flee, are transferred or stay and eek out a living. Let’s negotiate win-win deals among ourselves to re-start a civilization that we exported westward and eastward, our land, this hotbed for civilized nations for thousands of years.

Notes 3: The western colonial powers coined terms Semitic and Arian in the 20th century to differentiate their white racist ideology from the rest of the world. The Middle-East people and Islamic world were labelled Semitic. How a Jew likes to be labelled? According to color of skin or colonial passport he carries?

How my Grandmother Was Made Homeless: The dispossessed

Every year, on May 15, I ask my grandmother to tell me the story of how she was made homeless.

It happened 67 years ago. She was 14, the youngest of 11 siblings from a middle-class Christian family.

They had moved to Haifa from Nazareth when my grandmother was a little girl and lived on Garden Street in the German Colony, which used to be a colony for German Templars, later becoming a cosmopolitan center of Arab culture during the British Mandate.

When I ask her to recall what life in Haifa was like back then, her eyes fix on the middle distance.

“It was the most beautiful city I have ever seen. The greenery … the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean Sea,” she says, as her voice trails off.

My grandmother remembers clearly the night her family left.

They were woken up in the middle of the night by loud banging on the front door. My grandmother’s cousins, who lived in an Arab neighborhood of Haifa, had arrived to tell them that Haifa was falling.

The British had announced they were withdrawing, and there were rumors that the country was being handed over to the Zionists.

At the time, the German Colony had been relatively insulated from the incidents of violence in the rest of the country, which included raids and massacres of Palestinian villages by Zionist paramilitary groups.

Yet the Haganah, a paramilitary organization that later formed the core of the Israel Defense Forces, saw the British withdrawal from Haifa as an opportunity and carried out a series of attacks on key Arab neighborhoods where my grandmother’s aunts and cousins were living.

“That night our Jewish neighbors told us not to leave,” my grandmother remembers.

“And my father wanted to stay, to wait it out. But my mother … well she had 11 children, and of course she wanted us to be safe. And her sisters were leaving because of the attacks in their neighborhoods.”

The Bathish family. The author’s grandmother, the youngest of 11 children, is second from left in the front row. Taken around 1936–37.
The Bathish family. The author’s grandmother, the youngest of 11 children, is second from left in the front row. Circa 1936–37.

Courtesy of Saleem Haddad

The family debated all night. In the morning, they reached a decision.

They each quickly packed a small suitcase and left the rest of their belongings. “We hid the most valuable things we couldn’t take in a locked room in our house, thinking it would be safe until we came back,” she tells me, chuckling.

As the women of the family packed, my grandmother’s older brother, who had once been employed by the British forces, struck a deal, allowing them to leave on one of the last British vehicles withdrawing from Haifa. With what little they could carry, my grandmother’s family travelled to the Lebanese border, hiding in a British army vehicle.

When they arrived to Na’oura, on the border between Palestine and Lebanon, they were shocked to see so many other people from across the country.

“It felt like the world had ended. The borders were overcrowded with cars and trucks full of people and belongings fleeing the violence. Others were leaving by sea.”

At the border they were ordered into a car, which drove through Lebanon for a few more hours. They were dropped later that night in Damour, a coastal town just south of Beirut.

It was dark, they didn’t know anyone, and with no place to rest, the family of 13 slept on the streets in front of a supermarket, the dirty ground littered with rotting fruits and vegetables.

As the sun rose the next day, they walked the streets of the unfamiliar town, recognizing friends and neighbors from Haifa who were also wandering the streets aimlessly. After hearing that Beirut was too crowded with refugees, they headed to Jezzine, in south Lebanon, where friends helped set them up in a tiny room in the home of some family friends. (The same process is happening to the Syrian and Iraqi refugees)

“All summer we waited for news that we could go back,” my grandmother says. “By September, we realized there was little hope, and made plans to move to Beirut.”

For the next few years my grandmother’s family survived through the goodwill of friends and strangers, as well as through food parcels, given to them by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which contained, among other things, powdered eggs, much to my grandmother’s fascination.

Her older brothers eventually took up jobs in Beirut to support the family. My grandmother’s family was lucky on balance: As wealthier and Christian refugees, they were given Lebanese citizenship. However, the vast majority of Palestinian refugees were never naturalized, instead placed in one of the dozen UNRWA-operated camps in Lebanon, where they continue to live to this day.

My grandmother’s story is not a unique one.

In 1948 Zionist militias depopulated and destroyed more than 530 Palestinian towns and villages.

An estimated 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes, and many who were unable to flee were massacred.

By the end of July 1948, hundreds of thousands of  Jewish immigrants from outside Palestine, many of whom were survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, had been housed in homes formerly belonging to Palestinian families like my grandmother’s.

In December, the new Israeli state implemented a series of laws commonly referred to as the Absentees’ Property Law.

These laws created a legal definition for non-Jews who, like my grandmother, had left or been forced to flee from Palestine. The laws allowed the newly created Israeli state to confiscate 2 million dunams (about 500,000 acres) of land from Palestinian families, including my own.

In April 2015 the law was extended to cover land in the West Bank, thereby legalizing the continued expulsion of Palestinians and the confiscation of their land and property in order to house new Israeli citizens coming from abroad.

The uniqueness of what has become known as the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe, is partly the timing: It occurred at the dawn of state formation throughout much of Asia and Africa, which meant that hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish Palestinians found themselves stateless, unrecognized in the new world of postcolonial nation-states.

Perhaps as a result, there is a joke that Palestinians collect passports obsessively, fearful that we might be stripped of one or the other.

But is that really surprising given our history, that moment where the door was shut, leaving us on the outside, unrecognized—not just homeless, but stateless as well?

Photograph of the author's grandmother's passports over the years.
Photograph of the author’€™s grandmother’€™s passports over the years.

Courtesy of Saleem Haddad

In 1948, upon Israel’s creation, David Ben-Gurion, the founder and first prime minister of Israel, remarked that “the old will die, and the young will forget.” Given the centrality the Jewish tradition places on memory and the commemoration of struggle and suffering, Ben-Gurion should have known better.

For the past 67 years, Palestinians have resisted the Israeli government’s continued efforts to erase the memories of trauma and resistance that began with the Nakba.

To this day, Palestinians of my grandmother’s generation often wear the keys to their old houses around their necks, a sign that despite the dispossession of their land, their memories refuse to dim.

Every time my grandmother recounts her experience, a new memory emerges, and I add it to the story, embellishing it with new details and anecdotes.

But as her memories made their way onto the page, I had a moment of self-doubt: In my grandmother’s recollection, she was clear that her family had made a decision to leave.

Might this play into one of the myths used to justify the establishment of modern-day Israel on Palestinian land—the myth that, despite overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary, Palestinians left on their own free will?

“Are you sure you left voluntarily?” I ask my grandmother. “There was a war,” she replies.

“But no one kicked you out, yes? No one was directly attacking you?” I continue.

The author's grandmother and grandfather as newlyweds, Beirut, 1952.
The author’€™s grandmother and grandfather as newlyweds, Beirut, 1952.

Courtesy of Saleem Haddad

“Not us personally, but my mother was worried by the reports. We thought we would be gone for a few weeks at most.”

Could my grandmother’s memory of the Nakba bolster the false narrative that Palestinians voluntarily left, given that her family had not been physically removed form their home?

As I considered this, my thoughts began to coalesce around two points.

The first point—which seems particularly poignant in 2015, as boats of Arab and African migrants sink off European shores—is a question: What constitutes voluntary displacement?

On May 15, 1948, in the face of growing hostilities and the threat of a regional war, my great-grandmother did the only thing she knew to protect her children: She left. Does running away from an imminent war, with a small suitcase and plans to return, constitute a voluntary departure?

And if so, is the departed then unentitled to the land and belongings they left behind, and forbidden from ever returning?

My second thought centered on the politics of memory in war.

In his novel, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Milan Kundera writes: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”

Israeli politicians hope that, given enough time and pressure, Palestinians will forget and accommodate themselves to their loss.

This remains true to this day, as the Israeli state consolidates its occupation, constricting the remaining Palestinians into ever-shrinking ghettos.

Meanwhile, the collective Israeli memory of the Nakba continues to ignore the bloody events that led to the expulsion and displacement of the Palestinian Arab population.

In textbooks, the events of May 15, 1948, make no mention of how Palestinians experienced the Nakba and instead represent Israel as a heroic David defeating the many enemies arrayed against it.

Since 2011, the refusal to acknowledge the Palestinian Nakba is enshrined in Israeli law, with organizations facing fines if they commemorate the day.

In the face of a powerful Israel that seeks to wipe away remnants of Palestinian life and culture, there is an instinct to close ranks and develop a single story.

Nuance and contradiction are luxuries that a people under threat cannot afford.

Yet to remember the events of 1948 and to recount them, with their nuances and diversities, is a form of resistance: resistance against forgetting. The collective memory of the Nakba is made up of 750,000 stories, one for each of those who left their homes and were never able to return.

Taken together, the stories offer a nuanced, real, and humane look at a community’s reaction to what is now widely accepted as an act of ethnic cleansing. My grandmother’s story, unique to her, is but one part of a collective memory of this trauma that must be told in all its shades of gray.

To recount the unique personal stories of those who lived through the Nakba is to commemorate the struggle and suffering of Palestinians who lost their land and lives at a time when Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived side by side on the land of historic Palestine.

It is to inscribe individual fates onto the canvas of history, which the victors painted in large, ugly blocks. It is personal stories like my grandmother’s, and their ability to be passed down to future generations, that serve as a reminder that peace and coexistence are possible, so long as the memories of all are acknowledged.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
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