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Palestine’s Mandela

March 22nd, 2010 · 10 Comments · Politics

People with little knowledge of the Palestine-Israel situation often sigh before uttering the following sentence: “If only the Palestinians had their Nelson Mandela”.

They do. This man:Marwan Barghouti was captured in Ramallah by soldiers of Israel’s occupation army. He was sentenced to five life sentences following a trial widely labelled as flawed.

The similarities between Barghouti and Mandela are astonishing. Both were jailed by white supremacist states (Mandela is on record as labelling Israel as an apartheid regime). Both used military means to fight against the repression their people faced. Both were accused of targetting civilians, and both denied it.

Despite their incarceration, both were hugely influential over their people. Barghouti is touted as a potential president of Palestine – even from inside his prison cell.

If the parallels are to be continued, Barghouti will be released from prison (his name keeps coming up in stories about prisoner exchanges). After the fall of the Jews-only state, he will lead the united state of Israel-Palestine in the country’s first universal elections (covering Israel, the West Bank and Gaza). And become the unified state’s first post-apartheid president.

He will then preside over a general amnesty for Jews who repressed non-Jews through peace and reconciliation hearings, which will reveal the truth of those dark years, but will not seek to blame.

What’s more, Barghouti – the secular leader – is admired even by Hamas. Marwan Barghouti is Palestine’s greatest hope.

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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 i // Mar 22, 2010 at 11.50 pm

    It’s a joke, right?

  • 2 Victor // Mar 26, 2010 at 5.05 am

    Sasa,

    For how long will Arab people seek the destruction of Israel? On the one hand, you speak of human rights. On the other hand, you view Israel through a zero-sum game, “If the Jews win, then the Arabs lose”. This is not a zero-sum world. We can both win. Arabs need to overcome their self-inflicted wounds – the shame of defeat at the hand of the Jews. It’s over, forget about it.

    Israel has made peace with Egypt and Jordan, and has not had a single problem with either country ever since. It’s time to let go of the prejudices of the past. The Jews are not your dogs anymore. Israel has created a thriving democracy and a model economy in spite of a 70 year boycott by the Arabs and incessant war being waged against it. Meanwhile, the Arab world is drowning in petrodollars and bullets.

    The entire region, and increasingly the entire world, is being held hostage to your hatred for the Jews. Let go of your anger, come to terms with a just reality – a Jewish national home exists, and for all its faults, it is an amazing, vibrant country – and everyone can move on in peace and prosperity.

  • 3 Victor // Mar 26, 2010 at 5.06 am

    Some cold water to your fire:

    Unlike many in the Western media, Palestinian journalists and writers have rarely – if ever – referred to Barghouti as a “charismatic” leader or as the “Palestinian Nelson Mandela.” Cynics and conspiracy theorists in the Palestinian territories go further by arguing that Barghouti is actually part of a US-Israeli scheme aimed at turning him into the next leader of the Palestinians. To back up their argument, they ask simple questions such as: Since when does Israel allow a security prisoner to give media interviews or hold meetings with Israeli, Palestinian, European and American officials in his prison cell?

    Undoubtedly, Barghouti is respected by many Palestinians. Yet, this is not because he’s the Palestinian Nelson Mandela or Salah Eddin – the Muslim warrior who drove the Crusaders out of Jerusalem – but because he’s sitting in Israeli jail.

    Barghouti is respected by many in Fatah, but his popularity among the faction’s cadres is surely not as enormous as it’s being portrayed by many Western journalists. Dahlan and Rajoub are believed to enjoy much more support among Fatah members and supporters in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • 4 josh // Mar 27, 2010 at 8.58 pm

    The construct of Israel as an “apartheid” state is troubling. The occupation is a fact, but its character is not racist in nature. Equating Marwan Barghouti with Mandela is unfair – and bordering on offensive – to Mandela.

  • 5 josh // Mar 27, 2010 at 9.04 pm

    A further note: the “Mandela memo” you cite was in fact not written by Mandela:

    http://arjansweblog.blogspirit.com/mandela_memo

  • 6 qunfuz // Mar 29, 2010 at 6.16 pm

    I’m sure the Mandela memeo was not written by Mandela. It’s not his style, for a start. But Victor and Josh are in cloud cuckoo land. Israel was established by an act of massive ethnic cleansing. 80% of Palestinians were driven from the 78% of Palestine captured by the Jewish state. The descendants of the remnant are now Israeli citizens – but not nationals. Nationality is for Jews only. Palestinian Israelis can vote, but all the Zionist parties agree that they will never enter a coalition with Arab parties, so the vote doesn’t mean much. Israel’s ‘rural communities’ are Jews only. Palestinian Israelis have had vast amounts of land confiscated, have their houses demolished, suffer from economic and educational discrimination. That’s inside ‘Israel proper’. Palestinians in annexed Jerusalem don’t have nationality or citizenship, but only residence permits, thousands of which are revoked every year. Palestinians in the West Bank suffer a full-blown apartheid system. Desmond Tutu, Ronnie Kasrils and other veterans of the South African struggle have described conditions in the occupied territories as worse than South African apartheid. I’ve been there and seen it myself – the walls, the checkpoints, the permits system, the Jews-only roads, the settlements and military zones ringing and strangling Palestinian towns and villages. And the very idea of foreign Jews establishing a homeland in Palestine, somebody else’s country, is of course a racist idea.
    http://qunfuz.com/2009/11/07/%e2%80%9cisraeli-apartheid-%e2%80%93-a-beginner%e2%80%99s-guide%e2%80%9d/

  • 7 Victor // Mar 29, 2010 at 7.27 pm

    This muqawama propaganda is getting old and smelly, like three day old shwarma in the summer. You have no understanding of the reality of Israel or Israeli life.

    The Palestinians fought a war with the Jews in ’48, and they lost. They fought many wars, the recent just a year ago, and they keep losing them. You think we Jews are going to be ashamed of rebuilding our country after 2000 years of exile, or of defending our people from aggression? You’re out of your mind.

    Israeli Arabs are full citizens in the State of Israel. Not only do they have access to full benefits, like any Jew, but they don’t even have to do national service – army or volunteering – like every Jew does! That’s two or three years of the life of every Jew in Israel that is devoted to the security and improvement of the State, and every Arab can choose not to do it.

    There have been Arabs in Likud and Arabs in Kadima and Arabs in Meretz! You have no idea what you’re talking about. There are what, 10 or 13 Arabs in the Knesset. This is a Syrian blog. In Syria, bloggers who write against Assad are dragged out of their beds and thrown in jails or murdered. In Israel the Arab MPs say the worst things about the State. Of course we don’t agree with it, but the entire society respects their right to say it. Jewish soldiers die so that Israeli Arabs can have the freedom to say anything they want. And why should normal Israeli parties join in alliance with crazy radicals who preach the destruction of the state? They are like dinosaurs that no one listens to. Young Israeli Arabs reject their hatred. A new generation of Arabs is growing up in Israel that is tired of killing Jews and trying to destroy the country. They just want normal lives, to be part of the State, and they will get it, because that’s the kind of place Israel is – a country that is responsible to its citizens.

    Yes there is discrimination against Israeli Arabs, and there is also discrimination against Russian Jews and Ethiopian Jews and so on. Israel was founded by over 100 cultures, coming together in refugee camps, working from nothing to create the miracle that is the State today. Everyone is working to decrease discrimination, to increase opportunities for Arabs and Haredi Jews and other disadvantaged groups.

    Arabs in annexed Jerusalem were given a choice of Israeli citizenship or permanent residency status. With small exceptions, most chose permanent residency. They can vote in local municipal elections but not in national. Still, any Arab in Jerusalem with permanent residency can become an Israeli citizen. All they have to do is fill out the paperwork. For 20 years now, very few want to do this, and it’s their choice. They have access to all services, just like citizens – only they can’t vote in national elections. Their permanent residency permits CAN NOT be revoked, unless they leave Israel for over 5 or 10 years, I forget which one. And even then they can fight in court to get their residency back. This is like in any other country. If I get permanent residency in the USA and leave for 10 years, I won’t have residency anymore.

    Palestinians in Yesha suffering Apartheid? Are you insane?! They are living like kings! They have a higher standard of living than any other Arabs anywhere in the Middle East.
    I’ve “been there myself” and seen it myself also. Palestinians near Ramallah are building huge villas. There is no such thing as “Jew-only” roads. There are Israeli only roads that were built to go around villages, because when Israeli cars used to drive through Arab villages in the second intifada they were shot. The roads were built to decrease friction and violence, and they work, just like the security barrier. Since the security barrier went up in 2006, there has not been a single homicide bombing, thank G-d. When there is no terrorism Israel relaxes the security.

    The West Bank economy grew 7% last year, more than any Arab country. All Jews ask from them is to not kill Jews. Is this so difficult? Just stop the violence, stop the killing, and you can have everything. The Jews should accept aggression and murder of their people?

    The basic fact is that the Jews of Israel worry more about the welfare of their fellow Arab citizens than any Arab dictator worries about his own people. The Egyptians are rioting because they don’t have bread! When did Israeli Arabs riot because there wasn’t bread? The Syrians send terrorists all over the region – Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan. The Lebanese are in civil war for 40 years. The Saudis are raping little girls, killing anyone who doesn’t agree with their fundamentalism and spending billions of dollars spreading hatred and extremism. And you want to talk about Israel?! Who gave you the right to even open your mouth on this subject?!

    And the very idea of foreign Jews establishing a homeland in Palestine, somebody else’s country, is of course a racist idea.

    Israel IS and always WAS our homeland. Check your Quran. We don’t need anyone’s permission to rebuild our country, and certainly not from people trying to kill us. You have 22 Arab countries and that’s not enough? What have you done with these 22 Arab countries? What have you built? What is the great Arab invention over the last 100 years? Seven million Jews created a country that sends rockets to space, that has astronauts. Who was the last Arab astronaut? How many rockets did Egypt, with 70 million people send to space? What do you have to be proud of? Al Qaeda? Wake up! Your hatred for the Jews is eating away at your souls.

    You talk about Israel? In the first 50 years of Israel’s existence, it took in millions of poor Jewish refugees from all over the world (including Arab countries), built a modern, democratic state and defended itself from invasion by “great” Arab powers like Egypt and Syria. And after all this, the Israelis are turning to themselves and saying, what can we do to help the Palestinians. How can we integrate Israeli Arabs better into the State? How can we work with other countries in the region to improve access to drinking water, to quality medicine, to increase economic cooperation.

    What have you Arabs done in this time? Killed one another? Gave permits for Europeans and Americans to pump your oil? Created a few fat billionaires that are living in Europe? Look what the Arabs have done with Palestinians who found themselves in your countries! Jordan killed 20,000. Syria killed 40,000. Kuwait and UAE made them into slaves and kicked them all out when they supported Saddam. The Arabs prevent Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria from owning land, even from leaving the refugee camps! You treat your own “brothers” like dogs, and you talk about Israeli Arabs, who have the highest standard of living for any Arabs anywhere in the Middle East?!

    7,000,000 Jews are living in the middle of 350,000,000 Arabs. Look what the Jews have created, a paradise, a democracy, a high tech economy that everyone wants to copy. This was during 70 years of Arab boycott and war against the Jewish State. And what have the Arabs created in their hatred and jealousy? 9/11 is your big victory?! If not for Osama Bin Laden then no one in the West would know that Arabs existed!

    If you had two brain cells you would set aside your hatred and try to learn from the Jews, to understand how they created the most egalitarian society in the region while being mercilessly attacked again and again by your “brave” Arab martyrs.

    But no, you can’t even do that. You keep repeating the same old propaganda. There are 22 Arab Muslim states on tens of millions of kilometers of land, but 1 Jewish state, in a tiny piece of land is too much, it’s unbearable, it’s a cancer in the Arab body, it’s the end of the world! Maybe the cancer is not the Jews. Maybe the cancer is inside your mind and inside your heart.

  • 8 i // Mar 30, 2010 at 12.38 am

    Victor

    Well said .
    but Don’t hold your breath.
    Hatred is all what that cretin has.

  • 9 ????? // Apr 5, 2010 at 10.05 pm

    http://www.yamansalahi.com/2010/04/05/asides/palestine-israeli-love-song/

  • 10 Bruce // May 19, 2010 at 12.07 pm

    This muqawama propaganda is getting old and smelly, like three day old shwarma in the summer. You have no understanding of the reality of Israel or Israeli life.

    The Palestinians fought a war with the Jews in ’48, and they lost. They fought many wars, the recent just a year ago, and they keep losing them. You think we Jews are going to be ashamed of rebuilding our country after 2000 years of exile, or of defending our people from aggression? You’re out of your mind.

    Israeli Arabs are full citizens in the State of Israel. Not only do they have access to full benefits, like any Jew, but they don’t even have to do national service – army or volunteering – like every Jew does! That’s two or three years of the life of every Jew in Israel that is devoted to the security and improvement of the State, and every Arab can choose not to do it.

    There have been Arabs in Likud and Arabs in Kadima and Arabs in Meretz! You have no idea what you’re talking about. There are what, 10 or 13 Arabs in the Knesset. This is a Syrian blog. In Syria, bloggers who write against Assad are dragged out of their beds and thrown in jails or murdered. In Israel the Arab MPs say the worst things about the State. Of course we don’t agree with it, but the entire society respects their right to say it. Jewish soldiers die so that Israeli Arabs can have the freedom to say anything they want. And why should normal Israeli parties join in alliance with crazy radicals who preach the destruction of the state? They are like dinosaurs that no one listens to. Young Israeli Arabs reject their hatred. A new generation of Arabs is growing up in Israel that is tired of killing Jews and trying to destroy the country. They just want normal lives, to be part of the State, and they will get it, because that’s the kind of place Israel is – a country that is responsible to its citizens.

    Yes there is discrimination against Israeli Arabs, and there is also discrimination against Russian Jews and Ethiopian Jews and so on. Israel was founded by over 100 cultures, coming together in refugee camps, working from nothing to create the miracle that is the State today. Everyone is working to decrease discrimination, to increase opportunities for Arabs and Haredi Jews and other disadvantaged groups.

    Arabs in annexed Jerusalem were given a choice of Israeli citizenship or permanent residency status. With small exceptions, most chose permanent residency. They can vote in local municipal elections but not in national. Still, any Arab in Jerusalem with permanent residency can become an Israeli citizen. All they have to do is fill out the paperwork. For 20 years now, very few want to do this, and it’s their choice. They have access to all services, just like citizens – only they can’t vote in national elections. Their permanent residency permits CAN NOT be revoked, unless they leave Israel for over 5 or 10 years, I forget which one. And even then they can fight in court to get their residency back. This is like in any other country. If I get permanent residency in the USA and leave for 10 years, I won’t have residency anymore.

    Palestinians in Yesha suffering Apartheid? Are you insane?! They are living like kings! They have a higher standard of living than any other Arabs anywhere in the Middle East.
    I’ve “been there myself” and seen it myself also. Palestinians near Ramallah are building huge villas. There is no such thing as “Jew-only” roads. There are Israeli only roads that were built to go around villages, because when Israeli cars used to drive through Arab villages in the second intifada they were shot. The roads were built to decrease friction and violence, and they work, just like the security barrier. Since the security barrier went up in 2006, there has not been a single homicide bombing, thank G-d. When there is no terrorism Israel relaxes the security.

    The West Bank economy grew 7% last year, more than any Arab country. All Jews ask from them is to not kill Jews. Is this so difficult? Just stop the violence, stop the killing, and you can have everything. The Jews should accept aggression and murder of their people?

    The basic fact is that the Jews of Israel worry more about the welfare of their fellow Arab citizens than any Arab dictator worries about his own people. The Egyptians are rioting because they don’t have bread! When did Israeli Arabs riot because there wasn’t bread? The Syrians send terrorists all over the region – Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan. The Lebanese are in civil war for 40 years. The Saudis are raping little girls, killing anyone who doesn’t agree with their fundamentalism and spending billions of dollars spreading hatred and extremism. And you want to talk about Israel?! Who gave you the right to even open your mouth on this subject?!

    And the very idea of foreign Jews establishing a homeland in Palestine, somebody else’s country, is of course a racist idea.

    Israel IS and always WAS our homeland. Check your Quran. We don’t need anyone’s permission to rebuild our country, and certainly not from people trying to kill us. You have 22 Arab countries and that’s not enough? What have you done with these 22 Arab countries? What have you built? What is the great Arab invention over the last 100 years? Seven million Jews created a country that sends rockets to space, that has astronauts. Who was the last Arab astronaut? How many rockets did Egypt, with 70 million people send to space? What do you have to be proud of? Al Qaeda? Wake up! Your hatred for the Jews is eating away at your souls.

    You talk about Israel? In the first 50 years of Israel’s existence, it took in millions of poor Jewish refugees from all over the world (including Arab countries), built a modern, democratic state and defended itself from invasion by “great” Arab powers like Egypt and Syria. And after all this, the Israelis are turning to themselves and saying, what can we do to help the Palestinians. How can we integrate Israeli Arabs better into the State? How can we work with other countries in the region to improve access to drinking water, to quality medicine, to increase economic cooperation.

    What have you Arabs done in this time? Killed one another? Gave permits for Europeans and Americans to pump your oil? Created a few fat billionaires that are living in Europe? Look what the Arabs have done with Palestinians who found themselves in your countries! Jordan killed 20,000. Syria killed 40,000. Kuwait and UAE made them into slaves and kicked them all out when they supported Saddam. The Arabs prevent Palestinians in Lebanon and Syria from owning land, even from leaving the refugee camps! You treat your own “brothers” like dogs, and you talk about Israeli Arabs, who have the highest standard of living for any Arabs anywhere in the Middle East?!

    7,000,000 Jews are living in the middle of 350,000,000 Arabs. Look what the Jews have created, a paradise, a democracy, a high tech economy that everyone wants to copy. This was during 70 years of Arab boycott and war against the Jewish State. And what have the Arabs created in their hatred and jealousy? 9/11 is your big victory?! If not for Osama Bin Laden then no one in the West would know that Arabs existed!

    If you had two brain cells you would set aside your hatred and try to learn from the Jews, to understand how they created the most egalitarian society in the region while being mercilessly attacked again and again by your “brave” Arab martyrs.

    But no, you can’t even do that. You keep repeating the same old propaganda. There are 22 Arab Muslim states on tens of millions of kilometers of land, but 1 Jewish state, in a tiny piece of land is too much, it’s unbearable, it’s a cancer in the Arab body, it’s the end of the world! Maybe the cancer is not the Jews. Maybe the cancer is inside your mind and inside your heart.

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