Riad Ali: time to make a choice
I have tremendous respect for Riad Ali. Calling for critical reflection within your community is always hard, it is ten times harder in times of violent conflict. Riad is for me the counterpart of Amir Pastuer and Itamar Shapira.
A Palestinian moral-ethical debate on the status of the suicide bomber never took place. The saboteur was and remained a shahid, with all of the positive attributes that the word carries in Islamic terminology. [..]
A similar process happened with Hezbollah. If before 2000 the organization could have had the benefit of the doubt and claim it is fighting Israeli occupation of Lebanon, today it is clear to see that its war is against Jews wherever they may be. You have to be deaf in order not to hear the voice of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as it emerges from Nasrallah’s throat, and naive in order to believe that the purpose of the arsenal Nasrallah has accumulated is the release of prisoners and the liberation of the Shaba Farms. [..]
This is the time to address the Arab citizens of Israel, and tell them that the time has come for them to decide where they stand. And they should do so for their own sake, and not for the sake of the Jews. For the sake of the values they want to instill in their children. For the sake of retaining their intellectual dignity. [..]
I am not at war with the Jews, nor with the people of Israel. I have an argument with the Jews, and I have an argument with the State of Israel. On one point I do not argue, and that is the right of the Jewish people to their own independent state. To the best of my understanding, this war, as with the intifada, has to be judged from this perspective.
Arab citizens of the state who truly believe in the principle of two states for two peoples and those who believe in a democratic liberal society must ask themselves if the Islamic ideology that is leading the war today against Israel and the West in the guise of a war against the occupation and heathens is representative of their ambitions. We must separate the pain and sorrow for the innocent victims from the purpose of the war, as seen by those who lead it – in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and in any place where people seek to liberate land in the name of Allah.