Today, it is the Israeli memorial day for the fallen soldiers and the victims of terror. And at the same time it is the eve of the Israeli independence day.
A time of joy for so many, and at the same time of grief for so many others. While Israel is remembering their fallen and in the evening will join the joy over independence, over finally having a safe space after hundreds and even thousands of years of persecution and discrimination, it is easily forgotten that for the Palestinians, this week is a special week of grief. Not only do they also remember their victims of this terrible ongoing conflict but also the „Naqba“ – the „catastrophe“, as they call the establishment of the state of Israel on their homeland.
True is the word „One man`s meat is another man`s poison“ ….
It is hard to judge those who celebrate as well as it is hard to judge those who sit in grief…
And for me, the wife of a Palestinian Israeli, these days are always a dilemma: When time comes and the sirens sound all over the country in remembrance of the fallen soldiers, Israel stands still. Cars and people stop in the street, a moment of silence is taking over the country. But also behind closed doors, Israelis stand up in honor for their soldiers … I cannot stand up in honor of the soldiers of Israel – not in an environment which is politically used at cementing the idea of „Us“ versus „Them“, cause where do I belong? Where does my husband belong and my child? My lovely daughter who has Israeli citizenship but carries with her the history of the Palestinian people? No, we are not „Us“ against „Them“. I refuse to take sides in this matter, especially in days like those Israel is celebrating right now….
But there is a way out of the dilemma: Thousands of people, Israelis and Palestinians show that it is possible. Every year since 11 years now, they come together on the eve of memorial day to remember together, to share their pain, their loss, their grief. And by doing this together, sharing their tears, standing together side by side, they proof, year after year, that there is another way. And although the lost ones are lost and cannot come back, although the grief and sorrow will last, hope is arising from exactly this grief. Peace is possible if we only accept the sadness of one another and then there is no „Us“ against „Them“ anymore. There is only „Us“, together we stand for a better future, together we stand up for peace to come.
And so, this year, I decided, that when the sirens sound in the country, I will stand up, in remembrance of those who have died in this terrible, sad conflict – Israelis and Palestinians alike -, but also with the hope that together, we can change the fate of those who are still alive, for that no more blood shall be spilled…