A 'terrible disease of the mind'
helps explain the roots of Middle East conflict
By Zaid Nabulsi*
I lost my gloves one day in a coffee shop in Geneva, and I tell you, it's difficult to ride a motorcycle without them when it's really cold. So as I was paying for a new pair with a credit card, the salesman - who I knew was from Israel - asked me what my family name means. I told him that it relates to the city of Nablus where my family is originally from. Suddenly, the most bewildered look got plastered on his face. "Where is Nablus?" he asked, "I've never heard of it". Then he pretended to remember. "Ah, Shkheim you mean?" With my insistence not to learn these ugly sounding names that the Zionists have dug up from oblivion to erase our identity, that name certainly didn't ring a bell . Now it was my turn. Although I knew where he was from, I asked: "And you're from?" As he smiled, I replicated the look on his face moments ago. "Israel? Where is that?"
Then after a brief pause: "Ah, the land of Canaan you mean. Palestine." You see, if you want to get biblical, there was never such a thing as Israel, and I made that very clear to this gentleman with obnoxious chutzpah. So here we were all of a sudden; my family descended from a place called Shkheim, and this guy became a Palestinian. God does work in mysterious ways, but I still thanked him for his small mercies; that at least my name was not Zaid Shkheimy.
While the gloves warmed up my grip on the bike, my heart was still frozen. I just cannot stand thieves who steal your gloves, or any other kind of thieves. Then it finally dawned on me. Zionism is a sickness, for it takes much more than just a twisted ideology to make people think like that. It requires a profound leap of immorality of a higher order to instill this mentality in your followers. Zionism is not merely a political movement, but in its essence represents a deeply disturbed view of the world, resulting from a terrible affliction of the mind.
Indeed, to deny the existence of a vibrant community such as the Palestinian society in the early 20th century and describe Palestine as "a land without a people for a people without a land" is a serious blinding ailment.
To assert property claims over real estate after thousands of years with the same certainty of title as if one resided there yesterday is the essence of arrogance.
To describe the colonial immigration to Palestine of a European people with no proven historical link to the ancient Israelites - and whose great, great recorded ancestors have never set foot there - as some kind of a "return" to that land is a distorted misapplication of the verb to "return".
To blame the Palestinians for being unreasonable in rejecting a partition plan in 1947 which gave the Jews, who only owned 7 per cent of the land, an astounding half of Palestine, is an arithmetical impairment. To eventually grab 78 per cent of Palestine through war, evict the population through massacres and then live in their same houses is unashamed theft.
To deny the orchestrated eradications of hundreds of Palestinian villages in 1948 and then denounce the Israeli historians who later exposed this truth as self-hating Jews is compulsive forgery.
To claim that having escaped the horrors of the Nazis is a justification for the murder, expulsion and occupation of another, guiltless, people is moral incapacity.
To legislate that any resident of Poland, New York or Brazil, who happens to be blessed with a Jewish mother (yet cannot point to Palestine on the map), has a right to "return" and settle in Palestine, unlike someone who has been expelled from his own land, confined to a squalid refugee camp and still holds the keys to his house, is racism.
To blame God for the theft and occupation of someone else's land by claiming that it was He who had pledged this land exclusively to the Jews, and to seriously promote the myth of a land promised by the Almighty to His favourite children as an excuse for this crime, is insanity.
To milk the pockets of the entire world for the atrocities of the Nazis, while stubbornly refusing a simple admission of guilt, let alone compensation or repatriation, for the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people, is perverted conceit.
To keep blackmailing the world with expensive museums and endless movies of the plight of the Jews under Hitler 70 years ago, while at the same time inflicting on the Palestinians today the fate of the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto, is acute schizophrenia.
To impose collective guilt on the Western civilisation for the Holocaust and to criminalise all legitimate historical debate of the nature and extent of that horrific event is thuggery.
To incarcerate the Palestinian people inside degrading cages, destroy their livelihoods, confiscate their lands, steal their water and uproot their trees, and then to condemn their legitimate resistance as terrorism, and to exact vengeance on the innocent families of suicide bombers by punishing them with the dynamiting of their homes is sadistic cruelty.
To describe the offer of giving the Palestinians 80 per cent of 22 per cent of 100 per cent of what is originally their own land as a "generous" offer is macabre Shylockian humour.
To believe that you have the God-given right to continue to humiliate the Palestinians at gunpoint by making them queue for hours to move between their villages, forcing their mothers to give birth at checkpoints, is a predisposition to bestiality.
To flatten the camp of Jenin on its inhabitants' heads and deny any wrongdoing is a severe delusional disorder.
To build a huge separation wall which disconnects farmers from their farms and children from their schools, while stealing even more territory as the wall freely zigzags and encroaches on Palestinian land is unrepentant immorality.
To leave behind, in the last 10 days of a losing war in Lebanon, more than one million cluster bombs which have no purpose except to murder and maim unsuspecting civilians is murderous depravity.
To believe that the entire world is out to get you, and to denounce any critic of the racist policies of the state of Israel as an anti-Semite, the latest victim being none other than peace-making Jimmy Carter, is hysterical mass paranoia.
To possess, in the midst of a non-nuclear Arab world, more than 200 nuclear warheads capable of incinerating the whole planet, in addition to having the most lethal arsenal of weaponry on earth, while continuing to demand sympathy, is the ultimate false victimisation syndrome.
And today, to blockade the world's most densely populated strip of land for 18 months, suffocate its already displaced and miserable inhabitants by asking them to die a slow death, and then punish them for refusing to die silently by deliberately bombing their schools, mosques, hospitals and ambulances with internationally prohibited weapons and poisonous gasses in the ugliest televised massacre of children in modern history, all the while looking the world in the eyes and claiming that this is an act of self-defence, is a critical stage of dangerous psychosis, and is pure, unadulterated madness.
Yes, and for that salesman in peaceful Geneva to be as insecure as a common thief to refuse to acknowledge the name of the largest West Bank city under his country's brutal military occupation is, sadly, more of the same infectious and ultimately fatal disease of the mind.
* The writer is an attorney, partner in Nabulsi & Associates law firm. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times. JAN. 14-09