Elie Wiesel and the Question of Palestine

This essay was first published in Tikkun, November-December 2002.

In his 1986 Nobel lecture, Elie Wiesel spoke with characteristic gravity on any attempt to reckon with the Holocaust: “There are no theological answers, there are no psychological answers, there are no literary answers, there are no philosophical answers, there are no religious answers. The only conceivable answer is a moral answer.” The moral themes of silence and being a bystander before atrocity have been central to Wiesel’s work as a public intellectual in his adopted homeland of the United States over the last four decades. Winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1985, confidant of and advisor to American presidents, author of over forty books, Wiesel has acted as a Jewish guardian of memory and as an international conscience. In his many interventions for human rights, Wiesel has drawn upon his own bitter experience during the Nazi years. He once confessed, “I am obsessed with silence because of the silence of the world. Where were the humanists, the leaders, the liberals, the spokesmen for mankind? The victims needed them. If they had spoken up, the slaughterer would not have succeeded in his task.” Over the decades, the European Christian churches, the American Jewish community, and even the pre-War Zionists have come in for Wiesel’s critical questioning because of their silence, prudence, faintheartedness, or interest in priorities other than saving European Jewish lives.

Wiesel has also goaded his fellow citizens to respond to the suffering of victims today. In the last thirty years he has put his ever-increasing prestige at the service of a variety of causes. In a 1974 interview, Wiesel confided to his interlocutors: “I don’t think [the Jew] should become obsessed with only Jewishness. I think he should be obsessed with everything else as well. I am. I was obsessed by Biafra; I think I was among the first to fight for Biafra. I saw the children’s pictures in the newspapers and I couldn’t sleep.” Accordingly, Wiesel’s concern has been extended to Holocaust survivors, Russian Jews, the Vietnamese boat people, Bosnian and Kosovar victims of ethnic cleansing, Tibetans under Chinese occupation, and Miskito Indians in Nicaragua. In these cases Wiesel has minimized politics and instead emphasized the moral role of witness. His time-honored strategy has been to listen to the cries of those victims whose upheaval reminds him of his own. As he has moved from one crisis to the next, he has shared his time and energy with the victims and their allies.

Yet, throughout this illustrious career, Wiesel has been plagued by one controversy, a controversy as to how his apothegms against silence and his philosophy of witness apply to what Edward Said has called “the ethical dimensions of the Palestinian issue.” Jews as various as Noam Chomsky, Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, and Israeli journalist Matti Golan have been critical of Wiesel’s position on Israel and the Palestinians. How has the Noble laureate and advocate of remembrance addressed the question of Palestine?

The Innocent Occupation

In an essay “To a Concerned Friend” shortly after the June 1967 War, Wiesel tried to reassure French writer François Mauriac that he need not worry about Israel acquiring a conqueror’s mentality. In this letter, Wiesel stressed that the meaning of victory in the Jewish tradition is primarily victory over oneself and that victory does not depend upon crushing one’s opponent, “[f]or this reason too the Jew has never been an executioner; he is almost always the victim.” He considered the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza necessary, but also declared it to be “the most humane and least oppressive possible.” For Wiesel, Israel was the victor that didn’t want a conflict; the conqueror who refused to engage in retribution. In what will serve as his refrain on Israel in the troubled decades to come, Wiesel later stated, “the Jewish fighters did not become cruel. They became sad.” Implicit in Wiesel’s letter was the assurance to Mauriac that one need not worry about such sad, i.e., humane, soldiers.

According to Wiesel, what Israel’s critics found so hard to forgive was that Israel had not sacrificed its honor or its purity. He contended, “It is because Israelis commit no sacrilege and profane no mosques, that they are resented.” In addition to being militarily triumphant, Wiesel maintained that Israel was morally unimpeachable, unlike so many other states in the international arena. He characterized Israel’s conquest to be a moral victory above all, for Israel’s “national independence has not been achieved at the price of human dignity,” despite the fact that it required displacing seven hundred thousand Palestinians in 1948. Indeed, Wiesel accused Israel’s judges of hypocrisy, reciting a litany of political horrors around the globe about which “the world remained silent” even though people somehow found the time to criticize Israel. Finally, he offered the following principle, which linked the Holocaust and Israel: “The nations that kept silent during the Holocaust ought to keep silent now as well. The world that then condemned itself by its silence has lost all right to judge Israel now.” In Wiesel’s formulation, the European Jewish experience dominates the Middle East: Because “the world” didn’t respond to Jewish suffering during the Holocaust, that world has no right to find fault with Israel as occupier of Arab lands in 1967.

Still, Wiesel expressed hope in future reconciliation between the Jews and Arabs. He conceived that this was the true vision of Israel, but, regrettably, felt extremists influenced Arab leaders. Such leaders did “not take the hand extended them, and therein lies the tragedy.” Wiesel did not remark to Mauriac that shortly after Israel began its occupation, plans went through for Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian lands; Palestinians were also the victims of Israeli collective punishment and deportation, which violated international law. Thus, 1967 witnessed Wiesel assuming the role of a mystic pacifist lauding the military triumph of an innocent, even passive, occupying power.

Confronting the Suffering of the Palestinians

Several years later, in 1979, Wiesel attempted to address the Palestinian movement for liberation in his letter “To a Young Palestinian Arab” published in A Jew Today. There, he expressed a desire to make human contact with the Palestinians and to further the goal of mutual understanding. He wished to confront the “pain” of the Palestinian, since that was what separated Jew from Arab, and, in so doing, to judge himself since another’s suffering was a call to his own responsibility. With his habitual suspicion of political matters, Wiesel emphasized that his engagement came out of a moral commitment: “I draw this to your attention from the start, because I do not understand and am wary of politics.”

In this letter, Wiesel insisted that both sides had valid arguments. What touched him deeply was the human, ethical dimension of Palestinian suffering. But for each Palestinian complaint, Wiesel countered with a corresponding Jewish trump that served to fault the Arabs: “if only they had taken into account Jewish suffering also, the Jewish right to also claim its sovereignty on its ancestral land.” He urged the Palestinians to adopt what he characterized as a particularly Jewish response to suffering: rather than inflict a justified vengeance on an unfeeling world, the Jewish survivor chose to take a stand on behalf of humanity. In contrast, Wiesel framed the Palestinians’ response to their suffering as terrorism: they killed innocent Jews who had already known enough suffering and death. He thought that his Palestinian interlocutor would surely describe these violent acts as the work of extremists; however, Wiesel asserted “they acted on your behalf, with your approval, since you did not raise your voice to reason with them. You will tell me that it is your tragedy which incited them to murder. By murdering, they debased that tragedy, they betrayed it.”

In short, although Wiesel started this letter with a hope to connect at an ethical level with the Palestinians, he gradually moved into blaming the Palestinians and averting his eyes from the political causes of their grievances. In this encounter with the Palestinian, Wiesel instinctively adverted to the incomparable suffering of the Holocaust and the way Jews supposedly transcended that brutality in an amazingly humanistic way. He compared Palestinian responses to suffering under Israel with Holocaust survivors’ responses to suffering in Europe. What he did not do was to raise the pertinent issue of what Zionist Jews in Palestine did with their European-based suffering before and after the Holocaust in their quest for a Jewish state outside of Europe and, after 1948, what Israeli Jews had done with their historical inheritance of affliction in relation to the indigenous Palestinians. Wiesel admitted that he felt responsible for Palestinian “sorrow,” which, in historical terms, was caused by the mass dispossession since 1948 and military occupation since 1967. But he didn’t specify what he felt compelled to do as a result of feeling responsible for this sorrow and he did not acknowledge any wrong-doing by Israel as a direct agent in causing Palestinian suffering.

Political critic Edward S. Herman maintains that “[i]f ‘terrorism’ means ‘intimidation by violence or the threat of violence,’ and if we allow the definition to include violence by states and agents of states, then it is these, not isolated individuals or small groups, that are the important terrorists of the world.” In his rebuke of the Palestinian embrace of violence, Wiesel chose not to condemn how Jewish terrorists, like Menachem Begin in the Irgun, engaged in murderous activities against the British and the indigenous Arab population in Palestine or how in the 1950s Israel attacked the villages of Kafr Kassem and Qibya. In his letter to the Palestinian, Wiesel did not comment upon various Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories during the 1970s, which were, apparently, enacted on his behalf as a Jew by the Jewish state, according to his own logic in criticizing the Palestinian. He had not raised his voice (outside of Israel, anyway) to reason with the Golda Meirs and Yitzhak Rabins who promoted illegal Jewish settlement in the Occupied Territories, negated the existence of Palestinians, denied their right to return to their homes, and opposed their political right to exercise national self-determination. Given his own outspoken views on the nature of witness, did this silence indicate Wiesel’s approval of these Israeli policies? How could the twentieth-century’s best advocate for speaking out against injustice not speak?

The Responsibility of Jewish Intellectuals 

Wiesel’s dedication to defending Israel was called upon in a most serious way in 1982, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Since the invasion constituted an undeniable and unprovoked aggression, international criticism was directed at Israel. During this time, some Israelis engaged in the kind of dehumanizing rhetoric that Arab leaders had directed at Israeli Jews in 1967. For example, General Rafael Eitan stated, “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged roaches in a bottle.”

More than at any time in the recent past when he sought to justify Israeli actions, Wiesel was now on the defensive. In an interview in early September 1982, he depicted Israel as being “forced to take cruel and distressing measures,” though he did not indicate why or how Israel, long lauded for its “purity of arms,” was so forced to destroy a city full of innocent civilians. But what Wiesel found most distressing over the course of the summer was the widespread expression of hate towards Jews and the State of Israel. He believed that the press was engaging in distortions and did not show Israel’s perspective. He applauded Israel for remaining remarkable, as its democratic character has been preserved even during the current war. Wiesel still avowed that no country was in a position to give moral lessons to Israel.

In the September interview, Wiesel’s interlocutor pointed out that, “[a]s a survivor of the Nazi terror, you have taught that silence is the greatest sin, that it should always be avoided.” He asked Wiesel if it was not those Jews, now critical of Israel’s invasion, who were best upholding Wiesel’s own teaching. Wiesel’s response was two-fold. As a general principle, Jews should observe, “but not pass judgment. Our role is to witness.” In specific, Wiesel admitted to feeling hurt and grief over what he had witnessed, but criticism was out of the question: “I have a principle. I am not Israeli, I am a Diaspora Jew, and the price I pay, the price I chose to pay for not living in Israel, especially in times of danger, is not to criticize Israel from outside its borders. When I have something to say, I go there and say it. Sometimes I am received with anger, but I do it nevertheless. That is my taboo, and I stop on that line.” Through this period, he clearly considered Israel to be the main victim, as it was not the Israeli invasion that he deemed excessive, but the discourse of Israel’s critics, some of whom were Israeli and, like Wiesel, Holocaust survivors. For Wiesel, the responsible Jewish intellectual should simply have expressed total loyalty to Israel.

A week after Wiesel’s article appeared in London, Lebanese Christian militias ruthlessly murdered hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Beirut refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. Although Israeli military forces did not take part in the actual atrocities, they trained, armed, and, in effect, allowed the Phalange killers to proceed with their butchery. The events at Sabra and Shatila precipitated even more revulsion than that already expressed by world opinion against the Israeli invasion. Once again, Wiesel was pressed for a response. He granted that, since 1945, he had not known a Rosh Hashanah as dark as the one of 1982. But even in the face of this mass murder at the time of the Jewish New Year, Wiesel’s devotion to Israel remained undiminished: “It is not that I accuse or indict anyone, and surely not the people of Israel, but I felt sadness, incommensurate sadness, almost disarmed.”

Such remarks indicate Wiesel’s inability and unwillingness to speak critically in the face of the wanton destruction of Palestinian civilians, although he had rightly produced such trenchant criticism of Poles and Germans, popes and presidents, for not speaking out during the Nazi years. When confronted with the horror of a cold-blooded massacre of Palestinians in Beirut, Wiesel could not bring himself to address this atrocity; instead, he recalled the Holocaust: “Perhaps if we had told the story [of the Holocaust] more convincingly, if we had prevented the trivialization and cheapening of what was and remains a unique catastrophe, things would not have happened this way.” A year before, Zionist leader Nahum Goldmann articulated a quite different point of view: “[t]o use the Holocaust as an excuse for the bombing of Lebanon, as Menachem Begin does, is a kind of ‘Hillul Hashem’ [sacrilege], a banalization of the sacred tragedy of the Shoah [Holocaust], which must not be misused to justify politically doubtful and morally indefensible policies.”

The Intifada and Public Criticism of Israel 

Throughout the 1980s, Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories continued to face harassment, expulsions, arbitrary arrest, restrictions on movement, land confiscation, demolition of homes, and political repression. In December 1987 a spontaneous uprising of Palestinians began in the Gaza Strip and soon spread to the West Bank, taking the form of a massive and, for the most part, nonviolent, civil insurrection against the Israeli occupation. The media showed vivid scenes of Palestinian youths throwing stones at the powerful Israeli army. Soon these demonstrations of Palestinian courage and desire for independence led to greater sympathy for their struggle and forthright criticism of Israel’s harsh measures, such as Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s insistence on ending the revolt with force, beatings, and might. The stakes of the Israel-Palestine conflict were featured more prominently in the U.S. media and some American Jews became even more vocal in their criticism of the Israeli occupation, with proposals for a two-state solution being taken more seriously.

In the spring of 1988 when he was in Israel, Wiesel visited the Gaza Strip and subsequently gave an eyewitness report in an op-ed in the New York Times. He began his testimony by reflecting on the relative normalcy of Gaza, in contrast to its recently acquired reputation as a cauldron of Palestinian resistance. He noted that the Israeli military forces were “more felt than seen” as were “the implacable plight of tens of thousands of refugees who dwell in inhuman conditions in two camps nearby.” Wiesel talked with a few Palestinians as well as with young Israeli soldiers and he raised many urgent questions: “How should one deal with the sufferings of the Palestinians? Is insensitivity the answer? Isn’t a Jew called upon to be sensitive to his fellow human beings? How then is one to reconcile the needs of security with Judaism’s concept of humanism?” His discussions led Wiesel to raise the obvious question — “Should Israel be above criticism?” His response: “No one says that.” Wiesel admitted Israel’s “short-comings” but he objected to how the Israelis were being presented as “blood-thirsty,” or, in circles favorable to Arab causes, the way “Israel is being compared to Hitler’s Germany, its policy to Nazism and the Palestinians of today to the Jews of yesterday. How are we to convince Israel’s political adversaries that the Holocaust is beyond politics and beyond analogies?”

Wiesel acknowledged his sympathy for the Palestinians who had been isolated and “betrayed by the whole world,” including other Arab nations. When they had been condemned to be nonpersons, “[w]hy shouldn’t they have chosen violence as a means of attracting attention to their existence and their dreams of obtaining national identity?” Wiesel’s wording here is interesting — some Palestinians chose violence since some Israelis denied their very existence (Golda Meir) and both political blocs, Labor and Likud, attempted to crush the Palestinian dream of obtaining, not so much “national identity,” but national freedom. Wiesel agreed that in modern civilization, self-determination is “a sacred principle,” and that such a principle applied to the Palestinians but he questioned exactly what this Palestinian self-determination was, as he attested that the Palestinians had been dangerously expanding their goals.

Israel, on the other hand, “did not want those territories” Wiesel assured his readers, “they were imposed on Israel in war.” Such imputed passivity is at odds with the explicit Israeli determination to create “facts on the ground” with Jewish settlements; the territories weren’t “imposed,” they were desired for political and economic ends and then taken. In short, Wiesel conceded that he did not accept all that Israel had done in response to the intifada but he felt obliged nevertheless to come to the aid of the Jewish state.

Over a year and a half later, as the intifada had changed the political contours and debate of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Wiesel introduced a symposium for the U.S. Zionist monthly Midstream on the current crisis. He asserted that Jews were entitled to discuss Israeli policy, since whatever happens to Israel will affect Jewish life everywhere. In the present context of what he called the “recent Palestinian riots,” Wiesel maintained that discussion by Jews about Israeli policy “must be anchored in a deep attachment to and love of the Jewish State.” Only those who had expressed solidarity with Israel in the past were entitled to speak now, and their privilege was only to “voice their sadness when faced with certain events taking place in Israel.” He repeated his untiring principle, “In personal terms: I refuse to see myself in the role of judge over Israel. The role of the Jew is to bear witness; not to pass judgment.” Perhaps in response to those critics who had accused him of silence, Wiesel interpreted this principle as not constituting a “vow of silence. Modifying his earlier view that the Diaspora Jew could say nothing at all about Israel, he now averred, “We may ask all the questions; but the answers belong to the Israeli people.” Wiesel’s stance begs its own question: Who benefited from this anguished call for questions? Not the Palestinians who were held in administrative detention, whose land was expropriated, and whose homes were demolished.

Retrospection and Reckoning 

Certainly after the first intifada, events moved at a dizzying pace in the Middle East: the August 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the U.S.-led war on Iraq in 1991; the U.S.-brokered Madrid Negotiations; the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO; the reciprocal, reactionary violence of Jewish and Islamic fundamentalists; the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin; Israeli redeployments, and the battle over continued Israeli settlements and Jerusalem, even as the Palestinian Authority attempts to exercise control in territories partially ceded by Israel. Throughout the 1990s Wiesel’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained consistent with his long-standing defense of Israel, although there emerged some interesting shifts, admissions, and nuances not present in his public work before.

Many American Jews and liberals had long shared Wiesel’s views on Israel: don’t speak critically about Israel and don’t acknowledge fundamental Palestinian rights. As Wiesel grew in public stature with increased connections to American power, he became a part of the prevailing consensus on the assumed U.S. role in promoting a “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians. Like Israeli leaders, Wiesel even modified his views on Arafat, becoming willing to at least consider Arafat a “partner in peace.” In general, Wiesel came to adopt the terms of the dominant U.S. discourse: his mission was to overcome the fanaticism of the extremists and terrorists, even as he continued to hope for miracles and exalt Israel’s commitment to peace. This discourse obscured how the “peace process” further marginalized the Palestinian people, with the dismissal of their fundamental rights.

Nevertheless, Wiesel evinced greater discomfort about the evolution of Israeli society in recent years. In his memoirs, he wrote freely about the many currents in Israel that disturbed him. He realized that by speaking plainly he was likely to antagonize some Israelis who believed that, unless he lived in Israel, he had no right to criticize what they do. Wiesel justified his speaking out this way: “Oh yes, I know the formula, having used it myself at times. A person who does not live Israel’s ordeals and challenges has no right to criticize its decisions. Never mind. I shall speak out, because the situation is too serious and the stakes too high for me to remain silent. An ancient philosopher said: When truth is in danger, silence equals guilt.” Previously, Wiesel had not found the stakes too high when it came to criticizing Israeli policies towards the Palestinians. But he became so disturbed by what Israelis were saying about other Jews that he had to leave behind his long-standing formula and address these concerns in a forthright way.

One of the issues that bothered Wiesel was the hostility toward his own person, which he noticed after he won the Nobel Prize in 1986: “And so I learn that Israel is the only non-Arab country where, along with the praise, there were negative articles on the Nobel committee’s decision — not many, but enough to make me sad. A journalist from the extreme right scolds me for not living in Israel; one from the extreme left is angry because I have not sufficiently espoused the Palestinian cause. Once again I am told that by choosing to live in the Diaspora, I have sinned against Israel.” Wiesel then lamented the fanatic divisions between secular and religious, the frequent tone of rancor that did not allow for dignified discussion of serious matters, and Israelis’ supercilious tone toward Diaspora Jews as second-class Jews. Wiesel was also unnerved by the 1996 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and Baruch Goldstein’s massacre of Palestinians at prayer in Hebron in 1994. Both Yigal Amir, Rabin’s assassin, and Goldstein were committed to a racist and extremist religious ideology that dehumanized the Palestinians and threatened other Israelis who had a different view on peace negotiations. About Goldstein, Wiesel exclaimed, “There can be no justification for the murderous act of a religious man, a physician whose calling it was to save lives. What was it in Israel’s political climate that made this criminal act possible?” Yet Wiesel could not remain focused on these troubling realities. Instead, he concluded his reflection by turning to “Israel’s young people, who will soon be summoned by the army. I think of the dreamers in front of the Wall. I think of all those mothers and fathers who lost their sons in combat. In times of doubt it is their faces that represent the eternal image of Israel.” Such eternal images were more consoling than the reigning vituperation in Israel.

In And The Sea is Never Full, Wiesel wrestled more with his position on the Palestinians. Evidently feeling that he had to address this issue more directly than he had previously, he contended, “Indeed, I can say in good faith that I have not remained indifferent to any cause involving the defense of human rights. But, you may ask, what have I done to alleviate the plight of the Palestinians? And here I must confess: I have not done enough. Is an explanation in order? In spite of considerable pressure, I have refused to take a public stand in the Israeli-Arab conflict. I have said it before: since I do not live in Israel, it would be irresponsible for me to do so. But I have never concealed how much the human dimension of the Palestinian tragedy affects me.” However, earlier in his memoirs, Wiesel had cited Albert Camus, “not to take a stand is a stand.”

While Wiesel did express his existential empathy with Palestinian suffering he refused to examine the historical and political causes of their suffering, except to blame the Arab nations or the Palestinians themselves. In bearing witness, he instead expressed paeans to Israel (as after the 1967 war), or, when things got out of hand, confessed anguish and sadness (as after the Lebanon invasion and the intifada). As he desired that Israel be a land of poets and dreamers, he did not really reckon with Israel as a powerful state, enthusiastically backed by the United States, with the same capacity for realpolitik characteristic of other governments in the international state system. In his various defenses of Israel, Wiesel alleged that any assertion that the victim had now become the victimizer was tantamount to anti-Semitism, a useful rhetorical strategy for neutralizing criticism. The historical record and ample documentation of Israel’s policies of exclusion, dispossession, and violence — from the U.N., international human rights groups, and Israeli human rights groups — could then be quickly dismissed as another expression of the world’s contempt for the Jews. Wiesel may have been personally incapable or unwilling to penetrate the systematic distortions in the Israeli narratives and to criticize Israeli practices towards the Palestinians. But in his silence he opened himself to the criticism that his moral maxims — for which he has been accorded respect both by powerful and powerless alike — were suspended when it came to his own favorite state of Israel.

Paying Up Personally 

In a gathering with Dominican monks after World War II, French writer Albert Camus commented on the Pope Pius XII’s manner of addressing the then unnamed Holocaust: “What the world expects of Christians is that Christians should speak out, loud and clear, and that they should voice their condemnation in such a way that never a doubt, never the slightest doubt, could arise in the heart of the simplest [man or woman]. That they should get away from abstraction and confront the blood-stained face history has taken on today. The grouping we need is a grouping of [men and women] resolved to speak out clearly and to pay up personally.”

There is no doubt that Elie Wiesel would agree with Camus. In his 1986 Nobel Peace Prize address, Wiesel carried on in a similar vein, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.”

As each day we read more sickening reports of the deaths of innocent Palestinians and Israelis in an increasing spiral of violence, the urgency to speak out clearly, pay up personally and interfere with injustice becomes even greater and requires an exacting moral courage. On so many issues, Wiesel has called on every person to speak in witness. But when it comes to Israel, it is people like Baruch Kimmerling, rather than Wiesel himself, who have heeded the call. Here is part of an article Kimmerling, an Israeli, published in an Israeli paper this February 2002:

“I accuse those people, of all ranks, who order the black flag hoisted above them, and those who follow their unlawful orders. The late philosopher Yeshayahu Leibovitz was right — the occupation has ruined every good part and destroyed the moral infrastructure upon which Israeli society exists. Let’s stop this march of fools and build society anew, clean of militarism and oppression and exploitation of other people, if not worse.

“I accuse everyone who sees and knows all of this of doing nothing to prevent the emerging catastrophe. Sabra and Shatilla events were nothing compared to what has happened and what is going to happen to us. We have to go out not only to the town squares, but also to the checkpoints. We have to speak to the soldiers in the tanks and the troop carriers — like the Russians spoke to their soldiers when they were ordered to retake control in Red Square — before entry into Palestinian cities turns into a murderous urban warfare.

“And I accuse myself of knowing all of this, yet crying little and keeping quiet too often.”


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