“Your past is not your potential. In any hour you can choose to liberate the future.” –Marilyn Ferguson
I come in peace. In my hand I hold an olive branch, above me flies the dove that symbolizes the possibility of a brighter tomorrow for both you and me.
I am the daughter of the ancient Canaanites. My forefathers have been living on this land you now call yours for thousands of years. There was a time not so long ago when my people and your people lived together and shared the same dreams. Now your dreams have become my people’s nightmares.
Your government encourages settlers like you to come and live on my land, outside of Israel proper. From the hilltops that belong to my people, you take pride in shooting at my neighbors and me while we farm our land. My small stone house is riddled with bullet holes. At night my parents and I cannot sleep and my little brothers and sisters wake up in the dead of night with bouts of screams and their small bodies heavy with sweat. A few days ago, our neighbor’s daughter was killed at home. She was my best friend. While she was sleeping, some Israeli soldiers perched on top of the hills where your settlement is, opened fire on her house. A bullet hit her in her heart and struck her dead instantly. Even in death she looked beautiful. I spent the rest of that night crying for my friend Areej.
The Israeli government encourages settlers like you to live on more and more of my land and the land of my people. You are exempt from military service, but receive military training in order to kill us better. You are paid money to exploit us and to make sure we live in constant fear. Your reprisals against our uprisings are lethal, swift and without mercy. Inspite of this, the other day my little brother bravely declared, “The settlers can do what they want to our house. I’m not leaving.”
But my little brother deserves more than a perforated house to live in and the fate of the pogrom of him and his people.
As you sit on top of our occupied hills looking down on us with contempt, I stare back at you with a multitude of questions spiraling through my mind. I mean you no harm. Surely you have a wife and children of your own. I wonder where you came from and why you came here now to take my father’s and my forefather’s land away from my family and me. Would you like it if someone came and took away your home and shot and killed your wife and children? Surely a wrong committed against a Gentile is as wrong as one committed against a Jewish settler. I should not be punished for the suffering of your people that happened way before I was born. I can’t understand why you hate me and my people so.
Whatever you and your people may have suffered generations ago is not my fault. I bear you no malice. I just want to live in peace.
We believe in the same God. Our God is the God of justice and He hates tyranny and oppression. He would never condone your killing of my people and me so that you can take our place on the land that is ours.
I urge you to put down your gun and forsake your hate. Let us live in peace together and build a better tomorrow for the children of the future. A future where Jewish and Palestinian children will be able to play and laugh together. A future where you guns will no longer shoot down innocent civilians like my friend Areej.
You have sold your conscience. Please do not sell your soul.