A documentary series on the Palestinian Arab nationalist Mohammed (aka Haj) Amin al-Husseini was recently broadcast in Israel. Al-Husseini was the leader of the Palestinian Arabs in the years preceding the establishment of the State of Israel. He was determined to prevent its founding. During World War II, al-Husseini became Hitler’s close ally, and together they drew plans to destroy the Jewish settlement in Palestine. In the years leading up to the war, he incited to violence and led uprisings and attacks against Jewish settlements throughout Palestine, as well as against the British forces that governed Palestine. One might think that had it not been for al-Husseini, the bloody, hate-filled history of the relationships between Jews and Arabs in Israel would have been different. I am not inclined to speculate on what might have been; it is impossible to know and pointless to try.
Concerning al-Husseini, we need to realize that the world is divided into factions and groups, and everyone is in some sort of struggle. It makes no difference if the arguments of one side are correct, and those of the other side are incorrect, since no one listens to the other side anyway. Whoever has an opinion sticks to it and people rarely change their minds.
Because of it, I think it is pointless to seek justice, as the truth is in the eyes of the beholder. It is clear that an Arab leader will be against Jews, and Jewish leaders should act accordingly, meaning stand against the Arabs. In other words, each side fights for its own justice and its own people. There is no justice here; each side is right from its own perspective.
To Arabs, the fact that Jews want to settle in Palestine is a just cause for hate. As long as Jews did not want to settle in Palestine and rebuild their historic homeland, things were relatively quiet. But once the Jews began to return, the hatred began to flare up.
As this is the case, I see no possibility for peace unless we embrace the spiritual meaning of the word. In spirituality, peace does not mean absence of hostilities; it means complementarity. Peace is a situation where each side has a completely different perspective, yet understands that there cannot be a complete picture of reality unless both perspectives coexist.
To coexist, the vying parties must value peace, meaning complementarity, more than they are zealous about their own side of the story. Once they come to such a state, they can rise above the chasm between them. There, in the common, higher realm, they will find a completely new reality. That reality will be called “peace.”
Therefore, it is imperative that the Jews unite among themselves and present an equal force against the enemy that wants to destroy them. In the end, neither side will destroy the other but the struggle between them will lead to the birth of a new perception of reality—a spiritual, complementary one.
Until this happens, we Israelis will continue to have to live by the sword, as the specter of al-Husseini lives on among us and seeks to terrorize us and drive us out of Israel. We will never kill it, but we must fight against it with all our might, and at the same time fight for unity above our differences, as this, in the end, is the only thing that chases away contemporary and future al-Husseinis.
Attribution: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-004-09A / Heinrich Hoffmann / CC-BY-SA 3.0
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