Israelis are struggling with their identity, with their future. Mainly they’re asking themselves a core question: What are we finally going to do with all these Palestinians?
Israel is holding elections on Tuesday, and the debate seems to be between those on the right and those on the far right. In other words, the decision is between maintaining the status quo (the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza) and fully settling and incorporating the West Bank. Of course, these would be easy questions if we just weren’t around.
If it weren’t for us, I don’t know what they would talk about.
The debates in Israel are lively. Now, they don’t directly talk about it, but everything centers on us Palestinians. We make Israeli life exciting. So to my Israeli friends, I say: You’re Welcome!
If it weren’t for us, CNN wouldn’t care much about Israel. A country full of one kind of people not causing any uproar in the UN wouldn’t be that stimulating. If Israel had actually been founded on a vacant land, the New York Times would never write about it. But because of us, you get headlines every day. You’re welcome.
If it weren’t for us, there would no Israeli lobby, wielding unmatched power and influence on Capitol Hill. Your impact here is impressive. You can actually cause US senators to consider rejecting a decorated Vietnam Veteran’s appointment to head the Defense Department. That kind of sway can only come about because we are part of the conversation. You’re welcome.
If it weren’t for us, you definitely wouldn’t be getting $5 billion a year from American taxpayers. You might get something, but not $5 billion. You might have to fund your own army, your own cities, and your own campaigns. You know they don’t give you that money because of that “shared value” nonsense, right? It’s because you’ve been able to convince them, quite successfully, that we and all of our brethren want to wipe you off of the face of the earth. We’re the reason you’re able to get that big check. So, you’re welcome.
If it weren’t for us, Iran would never say anything about you. You wouldn’t be able to go the UN, hold up signs of a cartoonish bomb, educating diplomats what a fuse looks like. It’s because of us you were able to conduct that seminar. I know you won’t thank us, but you’re welcome anyway.
And it would be unjust for me not to mention our contributions to your cuisine. Every Israeli cookbook I read (yes, I pick them up whenever I get a chance) contains recipes for falafel, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves. We brought garlic into your lives. It does a number on your breath, but you have to admit, the food is damn good. You don’t even have to thank me for this one. Everyone loves our food. You’re welcome.
If it weren’t for us, people might notice that you were rallying against the presence of black people in your country. And that kind of stuff does not go over well here in America. Trust me. We’re having an inauguration, and our president kind of looks like those people you’re demonstrating against. We actually have a federal holiday for a black guy. But you can turn all the attention to us whenever you need to. We should get a big thank you for this one. You are welcome.
If it weren’t for us, what would you do? What would you talk about? You might have to learn to live without conflict. I’ve been watching you for a long time. And from what I’ve seen, I’m not sure you can do that.
Lucky for you, we’re not going anywhere, and we’re pretty loud, so you should be fine for some time to come. From my people to yours, you’re welcome.
In any case, I’m open to a “thank you” every now and then. And if you feel the urge to send a card, please do. You can reach me in Nazareth, Haifa, Jaffa, Ramallah, or Bethlehem. I also have an address in Gaza, but the mail doesn’t always get there safely. But if it’s easier for you, you can just send it to my mailbox in Jerusalem. I check that one the most.