Palestinian resistance efforts are meticulously scrutinized in the West. On the right, supporters of Israel have long branded any form of Palestinian protest against Israeli political violence as terrorism, fanaticism, or religious extremism. Oftentimes, dead Palestinians are retrospectively dehumanized into “Hamas fighters,” and, thus, deemed legitimate targets of Israeli violence. The left, by contrast, has been more inclined to focus on non-violent Palestinian heroism.
In a recent piece for Al Jazeera, Palestinian American author Susan Abulhawa interrogates the left’s romanticism, and argues that it, too, has dehumanized the colonized Palestinian population. In particular, Abulhawa argues that framing the Palestinian struggle in mythical terms obscures Palestinian humanity, much like its right-wing counterpart:
At both ends of the spectrum, defenceless Palestinians are larger than life, unlike other humans, either superhumanly posing a threat to highly armed soldiers several football fields away, or displaying supernatural courage and fearlessness before near-certain death.
Abulhawa reminds us that Gaza, once an important trading center, has been transformed into a “black hole of dreams” by the Israeli occupation. “People can barely breathe,” Abulhawa writes, illustrating in detail the unbearable circumstances of life/death in Gaza. She continues:
There is nothing for the world to romanticise in Gaza. Nothing to idealise. Gaza is a death camp. Death and suppression technology is “the Jewish Nation’s” single greatest export and Gaza is the human laboratory where Israeli arms manufacturers fine-tune their wares on the bodies, psyches and spirits of Palestinians. It is a wretched existence that spares none of the two million prisoners in that concentration camp.
Read the full article here.