Jerusalem24 – In a recent news report, an Israeli said, “Israelis don’t know about Palestinian society. Even I don’t know much. There is a huge gap between what we think we know and what is presented.”
The man’s statements coincided with a recent study, that Israeli-Jews have only a minimal knowledge of the Palestinians and even of Palestinians living in Israel.
Despite the ethnic cleansing of 1948, and the subsequent Israeli occupation and two intifadas; Israelis know very little about the people whose lives they control.
In an interview on Wake Up Palestine, Israeli-Affairs Expert Chris Whitman explained that Israelis have no concept of the strength of their country or its military. He also said, “the average Israeli has little to no interaction with Palestinians.”
Israelis do not need to deal with Palestinians, according to Whitman, even settlers in the West Bank have bypass roads to avoid Palestinians. Keeping Palestinians out of sight, and out of mind.
Most Israelis do not want to be involved whenever something happens in the occupied territories. A concept that a lot of Palestinian activists consider a privilege, to be able to tune the conflict out of their minds. Whitman goes on to say, you can live a life in Tel Aviv or Herziliya and not now that 10 miles away there’s an apartheid wall or a military occupation. It is easy to live a “normal western life inside Israel.”
Meanwhile, for the past 3 decades, the majority of interactions Palestinians have with Israelis are either settlers or soldiers. People with guns and power. According to Whitman, it is only natural that Palestinians are going to have a negative view of Israel. Even when taken out of historical context, every Israeli a Palestinian can deal with is someone with the ability to crush their lives.
Whitman was of the belief that Israelis know that something is wrong, however, that feeling is challenged with the problem that their society has no trust in what’s being told to them from the outside. Some Israelis may say that there is something deeper here, and others may default and say its ant-Semitism.
Whitman described the attitude of Israelis towards the conflict and the plight of the Palestinians to the way White-Americans view Black issues. “How many White-Americans are integrated into Black communities?” Whitman asked rhetorically. However, he explained that allegations of racism are often met with a response that has become a joke; “I can’t be racist I have Black friends.”
He goes on to say the same exists in Israel, “I can’t be racist I know Mohammad.”
You can listen to Chris Whitman’s entire interview by clicking here.