altDuring the Salt March that he led on December 3, 1930, Gandhi picked up a handful of earth and said: “Britain can crush this hand. Nevertheless, salt will remain the eternal question of India”.

On the Land Day, Palestine commemorates those holding firmly Palestine’s soil in their hands; they are the martyrs, peasants, children, and people who are resisting Israel’s occupation of Palestine through holding the soil and stones of Palestine firmly in their hands.

When the land firmly holds Palestinians, they become the eternal question. When Palestinians firmly hold the land, the land becomes the eternal question. Isn’t the glorious uprising in which the Palestinian people are daily taking part their interaction with the land? This interaction occurs when they feed the land with their sweat, martyrs, and love, when the land, on its turn, interact with seeds and roots, and, as a result, abundantly produces plants and fruits, and when these plants and fruits interact with human beings, completing, as a result, the life cycle.

People and land own one another. Throughout its course, history could not sever the close ties between Palestine and Palestinians despite disasters and misfortunes.

Israel everywhere was relying on arms. Therefore, arms were Israel’s eternal problem. Throughout history, and wherever they lived, Israelis were harmed by their weapons. Today, if Israel does not put an end to the force of arms, the force of arms will put an end to Israel.

The fact is that nobody is permitted to use power to liberate Palestine because it is holy. Palestine should be demilitarized.

We have accepted the “Peace of the Brave” with open-mindedness. We signed this commitment with tears and martyrs’ blood. We are aware that we are capable of rendering this generation the happiest or the most miserable among all generations. Peace –not war- is our choice and destiny.

Abba Eban once said: “History teaches us that people behave wisely after they have taken all other alternatives.” Israel has taken all alternatives against us except for peace. These alternatives are occupation, expulsion, murder, humiliation, imprisonment, starvation, closure, suppression, servitude, and containment. Weapons do not protect peace. Israel’s existence and security is not ensured by its atomic bombs and military forces but by the Palestinian people. 

Israel should learn from history that the interests of nations are far more important than the protection and safety of others.

Palestinians will overcome this “time of humiliation.”  What Israel can do in the upcoming “flood of revenge” when there will be nobody to build a “Noah’s Ark” to protect her?

Therefore, let us take a decision to put an end to the conflict and occupation. Down with Ben Gurion’s vision “Woe betide the weak”, that has led us to these very difficult days. Time will come when you, the Israelis, will not sleep on your beds but in your tanks. Time will come when your sons will not feel the warmth of being held into your bosom, but they will feel the tinges of the volleys of bullets fired by canons, warplanes, and guns.

You are haunted with the fear that when you lately become convinced with the significance of making peace, we will have disbelieved it and became convinced that war is the strategic goal to snatch our rights. So, let us make peace even though we have been forced to wage wars for it.

We have snatched our right to a Palestinian State. From this time on, the world shall be ware that every hand that harms a Palestinian will be severed.

The military force of Israel should remain under control; “The force that we utilize covertly or overtly under the cover of national security is a double-edged sword.”(Edward William Proxmire). As long as you (the Israelis) are safeguarding your national security with the military force, peace you are envisaging will be at stake, because military force is a double-edged sword. So,  It is wise of you to radically reconsider your old worn-out Zionism. 

We are deeply-rooted in our land that is flowing with milk and honey. This land is Palestine, which was described be the spies Moses sent as: “a country that devours its inhabitants.”(Numbers 13:32) How about you invaders and strangers?

Our graves are filling our spacious land and protecting our history. He who has a grave has a homeland. Our land shares with us the history of salvation from its inception to the upcoming kingdom. 

There is no place in our land for who crushes the poor and weak or violates human rights.

From the Greek Mythology we read: “Once upon a time, there were two sisters, daughters of a king. They were dancing in celebration of the feast of their deity. It happened that they stumbled, fell down, and drowned in the river. However, the compassionate land gave forth to them as two evergreen cypresses.” Similarly, the compassionate land of Palestine will give forth to all of our martyrs as trees for us to sit in their shade.

When the hour of prayer is announced in minarets and bells of churches are rung on March 30th heralding the opening of the Palestinian ceremonies of Land Day, let Palestinians bow down and hold the grains of soil, so that the question of the Palestinian land remains the eternal question.

The Book of Joshua recounts the conquest of Southern Palestine in this manner: “Reaching the Vale of Eshcol, there they lopped off a vine branch with a cluster of grapes, which two of them carried away on a pole, as well as pomegranates and figs. This place was called the Vale of Eshcol after the cluster which the Israelites cut there. After forty days they returned from reconnoitring the country. Making their way to Moses, Aaron and the whole community of Israel, in the desert of Paran, at Kadesh, they made their report to them and the whole community, and displayed the country’s produce. This was the report they gave: ‘We made our way into the country where you sent us. It does indeed flow with milk and honey; here is what it produces. At the same time, its inhabitants are a powerful people; the towns are fortified and very big; yes, and we saw the Anakim there. The Amalekites occupy the Negeb area, the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites the highlands, and the Canaanites the sea coast and the banks of the Jordan.’ Caleb called the people round Moses to silence and then said, ‘We must march in immediately and take it; we are certainly able to conquer it.’ But the men who had been with him said, ‘We cannot attack these people; they are stronger than we are.’ And they began disparaging to the Israelites the country they had reconnoitred, saying, ‘The country we have been to reconnoitre is a country that devours its inhabitants. All the people we saw there were of enormous size.We saw giants there too (the Anakim, descended from the Giants). We felt like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’ (13: 23-33). 


Written by: Father Manuel Musallam

Birzeit – March 30, 2013