Raja Shehadeh: Where the Line Is Drawn: A Tale of Crossings, Friendships, and Fifty Years of Occupation in Israel-Palestine (2017)

Just finished (January 7th, 2018) this amazing book of #Raja_Shehadeh (2017), Where the Line is Drawn. Raja’s account of friendship in divided societies. He concluded the book with this interesting account: “We cannot unpick our life or the history of our nation…. Despite what separates us, I am proud to have a friend called Henry.

I was wondering however, where Raja stands from BDS movement, which is now referred to as one of the strategic options that Palestinians have to peacefully resist occupation and the colonial – settler policies that are taking place – clearly recognized in Raja’s book.

I respect of course Raja’s choices and have great esteem for his courage in defending his friendship despite divisions. I also think that we should acknowledge humanity in all, including our oppressors and enemies. I still think however it is not a strategy for liberation. Raja indeed recognizes this when he says that he and Henry where not leaders and could not help change their respective communities.

Raja’s book includes a vision about mutual recognition: “The Palestinians have to accept that after the Holocaust many countries refused to take in European Jews. For many, Palestine was their last refuge. Israelis have to remember the Nakba. withdraw from the Occupied Territories and acknowledge the brutality they have used against Palestinians struggling for self-determination and basic human rights.”

Here are some of the interesting quotes I found in his book:

Between mute submission and blind hate, I choose the third way. I’m Samed. (Shehadeh 2017, 71)

“Israeli military courts were a parody of real courts. Israeli officials used their legal expertise to devise ways of justifying the theft of our land.” (Shehadeh 2017, 111)

“If only we could admit defeat we could begin anew. Instead all our defeats were turned into hollow victories. Nothing was learned.” (Shehadeh 2017, 130)

“The only thing worse than defeat is the failure to recognise it as defeat and claim it as a victory.” (Shehadeh 2017, 131)

“Intellectuals can often be among the most skilled accommodators. They can justify almost anything if they think it is to their benefit.” (Shehadeh 2017, 145)

“The Nakba could not be equated with the Holocaust… It is never right to conflate tragedies, but it is also wrong to use one tragedy to justify another[.]” (Shehadeh 2017, 222).

“The failure to acknowledge past atrocities is key to what is happening today, key to the crimes committed by the Jewish settlers.” (Shehadeh 2017, 222)

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