Dienstag, 18.05.2021 / 14:10 Uhr

A message to the true friends of the Palestinians

Mohammed Altlooli

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Dear Friends of the Palestinian people,

I am writing to you in these terrible and dark times. Once again, bombs are raining down on Gaza, my tormented homeland, and I worry about the live and well-being of my family, friends and colleagues. Since a long time, people in Gaza are living in despair and poverty and are longing for a better future. 

We, the young generation who grew up without even knowing anything else, are the ones who must pay the price if nothing is going to change. I had to flee Gaza some time ago, because together with a group of others we opposed the rule of the Hamas regime. We did, what millions of other Arabs did across the region: We demanded more freedom, an end of corruption and violence. If you raise your voice against them, you face repression and even being put to prison. They fear us, the young generation, much more than their declared enemy Israel, because they know they have nothing to offer but destruction, pain and poverty.

We want both: To live in freedom in Gaza and to be without blockade and hardships from Israel. We are caught between a rock and a hard place: Suffering from an intolerant, repressive regime and from Israeli constriction. We have no air to breathe.

Mohammad Altloooli in a Greek refugee camp

But we opposed the hateful propaganda of our rulers and sent a clear message to the Israeli people: We want to live in peace side by side, but as equals and not in a large prison. We want a common future with our Israeli neighbors and an end of war, killing and hate.

Jews and Arabs are not enemies

Tragically these hopes were smashed once again last week when a new war started between Hamas and the Israeli Army. We refuse to call this a war between Palestinians and Israelis, because even when I see the destruction in Gaza I do not feel any hatred against the people in Israel. I know many of them are living in fear and need to hide in shelters, many were killed and injured. This is not my war and it is not the war of us who are longing for a better future. We see how Arabs and Jews are now demonstrating in Haifa, Nazareth and other cities for peaceful coexistence and against hatred. Their slogan is: Jews and Arabs are not enemies. 

The people in Gaza who think like me cannot demonstrate, any protest would end in bloodshed and prison. But please know that even though we are taught hatred in our schools and listen to hateful propaganda, in our hearts many of us are with these demonstrations on the other side of the fence.

If you are a friend of the Palestinians please know, Hamas does not represent us, they like to speak in our name but they don’t do. We refuse that they are our voice. Our voice sounds different. It’s the voice of peace.

Then, we see demonstrations in Europe, where people call very horrible slogans against Jews and Israel. We hear the same hatred we hear in the propaganda channels of Hamas. Anyone who is a friend of us should not talk like this! We don’t want and deserve such friends! Since a very long time so many people claim they are our friends, but in reality they just hate Israel and the Jews. This is not only wrong and against our intentions and beliefs, it also harms the just cause of the Palestinian people: We want to live in peace, dignity and self-determination, side by side with the Israelis. We want justice and freedom. We don’t want war and destruction.

False Friends

How anyone can ever believe in our true intentions if such hateful slogans are shouted on the streets of Europe and the Middle East? This gives the wrong image about us.

So many of these people who are now shouting such slogans claim they are our friends, but they are false friends. They do harm to us and create a wrong image of us. We don’t want anti-Semites, Nazis and Israel haters as friends. We want peace, loving, noble people on our side who share our goals. We don’t want that Jews in Europe are scared of us, we want everyone to understand that there is only one future for all in the Middle East, a common future together in a peaceful and prosperous region.

If you are a real friend of us, please do us a big favor, step away from them, don’t let them talk in our names. Please spread our message of peace and justice. 

Maybe today this message is like a small plant, but we all can work together to let it grow and become a tree. We know even in our society we are few, but many changes started with few people. And we hope one day this tree will be big enough, so that we can all sit in the shadow of its leaves.

Please, demonstrate for us, please raise your voice. Please, demonstrate against the false and destructive politics of the Israeli government. But also please raise your voice against what Hamas is doing. Please stand on the side of the Palestinian people and our just cause.

But please, don’t do it with these false friends.