Thank you, Marilyn Shepherd, for this review.
Kill Khalid by Paul McGeough
McGeough is that rare journalist who takes no sides or prisoners of his own but his compassion and care for those who are traumatised and battered always shine through. I scarcely feel qualified to give any sort of review of his book Kill Khalid but as the book itself is a tour de force that should be read by any and all people who can find it in themselves to have an open mind and open heart I will give it a shot.
I grew up with the romantic notion that Israel was really the story of Exodus as written by Leon Uris; I grew up thinking the Jews were so hard done by they were right to take the empty land and make it their own. I had no idea how deluded that was until the massacre in Sabra and Shatila in 1982 laid bare to the world the brutality and vicious hatred of those Jews towards the Arabs they saw as the enemy. My journey into the region led me to the case of Akram Al Masri and other Palestinians in 2002 which led me to a greater understanding of the area and has had me reading the works of Norman Finkelstein – Beyond Chutzpah and The Holocaust Industry – which show that the Israelis are not the victims: they are the criminals in what Finkelstein calls the satanic state.
Ilan Pappe’s Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine is a brave, landmark book which McGeough clearly used to explain his book. Jimmy Carter laid bare the lies and infamy of Barak’s Camp David walkout and non-deal and Arafat’s corruption and sellout of the people he was supposed to protect. Others like Gershom Gorenberg and Akiva Eldar have written about the illegal settlements and the impact on the Palestinians, and a few Palestinians who were displaced in 1848 have written of their experiences.
Journalists like Amira Hass, Gideon Levy and Uri Avnery have written for many years about the cruel occupation and the plight of the Palestinians. We need to hear their voices.
It is those experiences that led to the birth of Khalid Mishal and his so-called terrorism. I say that because when I compare his life to the privilege of someone like Netanyahu and Peres I cannot call the man a terrorist.
Two protagonists: Israel which was built on lies, spin, terrorism and ethnic cleansing over many years and Palestine which was a nation of farmers, olive growers and ordinary human beings for 2000 years or so who were the victims of the ethnic cleansing. I state now that my grandfather was in Palestine in WW11 with the 2AIF and I grew up hearing of their hospitality, kindness and caring for their fellow man and frankly the cruel, racist brutality of the Zionist my grandfather encountered. He was injured by one such person and was defended by a Palestinian farmer, something these two men had in common.
Rather than repeat the reviews that have been written so far I would like to explain how I feel about Mishal and how I understand what made him.
At the age of 11 he and his family were forced out of the West Bank in the Six Day War and the illegal occupation of the land by Israelis. Like the refugees in 1948, these new refugees thought they could go home: the UN had said Israel could not keep the land. They were as wrong as the first refugees because the Israelis simply started building illegal outposts by calling them “military”, and once the world decided it was OK they turned them into what we see today. Rows and rows of red roofed Jews only homes connected by Jews only roads, all deliberately built to be fortress outposts spying on the Palestinians and making their lives a living hell in smaller and smaller spaces.
Mishal is just a couple of years younger than me: a teacher, a lad made homeless and left drifting without any real home since 1967. He graduated highly as a physics teacher in his land of exile, Kuwait, and became interested in getting his home back even if that meant violence. So he connected with the Muslim brotherhood and dreamed of his homeland until 1991 when Arafat backed the wrong horse in the attack on Kuwait and Kuwait expelled over 400,000 Palestinians.
In Jordan he was almost murdered by Netanyahu, a man who got his education in America and had every privilege in Israel on his return. A man who came to be the PM and decided to murder a man whom he had never met, who was not really very important in the scheme of Hamas and at the same time triggered an international crisis from Canada, to Jordan, the US, Israel and Palestine that lost him his job in the end.
I know that I am supposed to be appalled at the actions of Hamas but I cannot find myself in that place – I find myself in sympathy instead because I see that Israel is the real terrorist entity here and has been since the 19th century when Hertzl and a few others decided they wanted Palestine. I find that telling the Palestinians not to fight back against the oppression, imprisonment and ritual torture and torment is the same as telling the victim of a gang rape to smile nicely at her rapists and then thank them.
The first terrorist attack by Hamas was not launched until after Baruch Goldstein entered a mosque, while people prayed, and committed a massacre. That was answered with a suicide bomber.
I won’t go any further; I do though recommend this timely book and suggest that everyone read it from the view of an open mind instead of the closed Zionist spin.
Mishal has never raised a weapon himself: he lives in hiding, he has had Netanyahu try to kill him, has had Zionists drive him from his home, he has been exiled three times and has no real home.
Who am I, who are you, to judge this man as a terrorist when he is far more sinned against than sinner? To my mind Bibi is the terrorist and yet he has just been re-elected by the Israeli people who know he is a terrorist and just don’t care. Livni is a war criminal, Barak is a war criminal, Peres is a war criminal. The Israeli cabinet are all war criminals just elected by a criminal non-state while 6 million Palestinians have still lost their homes, their land, their lives and their hope.
My question is, “Who is the real terrorist here?”
This is a book I simply could not put down.