Gaza Chernobyl - Cover

What Lies between Gaza and Chernobyl

I am sure you know Gaza is a highly radioactive topic. That’s why it’s very befitting to compare it to Chernobyl. Pour yourselves some vodka and keep an eye on your Geiger counter while reading.

The best scene in Chernobyl

Chernobyl by HBO is probably the best television I have seen in recent years. It had many excellent moments, but the one that stuck with me the most (and I am sure I am not alone in this) is what Valery Legasov’s said about truth and lies during the final hearing in the aftermath of the disaster.

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Allow me to repeat what he says there:

“We are on dangerous ground right now, because of our secrets and our lies. They are practically what define us. When the truth offends, we lie and lie until we no longer remember it is even there. But it is still there. Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later that debt is paid. That is how an RBMK reactor core explodes. Lies!”

We could take this statement to so many directions these days, but I would like to apply it to what’s going on in Gaza right now, and to the Israeli-Arab conflict in general. At the moment Gaza is much like Chernobyl with even more devastation, while Israel is the exposed core minus the radiation.

Gaza’s suffering

Gaza suffers. The people there suffer. They suffer on a daily basis, not just when there is active fighting. Gaza suffers much more than Israel, and I say that as an Israeli who is fully aware to the horrible events that transpired last Saturday. Gaza is like Chernobyl, only the fallout comes in the form of huge bombs falling from the sky rather than tiny particles emitted from a hole in the ground.

Gaza suffers and the people there suffer. There is no denying that. But they suffer not because of the atrocities committed by Hamas, nor because they are the ones who elected them to power. They don’t suffer because of rockets, bombs, guns, or any other sort of weapon employed by them or their enemy. They don’t even suffer because they are completely committed to the annihilation of Jews. Nope. These aren’t the real reason Gaza and Palestinian people everywhere suffer.

The real reason Gaza and the Palestinians suffer is the very same reason the people of Chernobyl suffered – lies. And not just any lies but, as Professor Legasov had said, the lies that practically define them.

The lie within the truce

Did you know that the UN has a separate definition for Palestinian refugees? Before we examine it, let’s take a look at the current working definition for regular refugees, taken straight from the official website of the UN:

“owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it”

First, note the presence of concrete concepts. Concepts like country, nationality, or habitual residence. Second, note the presence of clear reasons. Reasons like fear, persecution, and inability. Also note the presence of objectives like avail, protect and return. But most of all, note the fact that there are no dates to be found anywhere in the definition. The only reference to time can be found in the words ‘former’ and ‘habitual’ right before residence’.

Now let’s take a look at the definition for Palestinian refugees. Here is how UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), the UN body created specifically for Palestinian refugees, defines them in their official website:

Palestine refugees are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”

Note the absence of concrete defining words like country, nationality, and even state or land. Also, instead of “former habitual residence” we have the very vague “normal place of residence” with a surprisingly short time frame – June 1st 1946 to May 15th 1948.

That’s right. The people who keep telling the world they are the true native population of Palestine, and that they have lived there since forever, or at least certainly long before the Jews ever decided to come back, had to make significant changes to the definition of the word ‘refugee’, and shorten the time frame to less than two years in order to make them eligible for refugee status. What does that tell you?

This tiny little paragraph, buried deep inside UN documents nobody even bothers to read anymore, exposes the two greatest lies hidden deep in the core of the Palestinian identity. It brings to light two very important conveniently forgotten truths. The first – Palestine was never a country, a state, or a sovereign entity associated with the race, ethnicity or nationality of Arabs living in the area. The second – many of the Arabs who lived in Palestine by 1948 are not native to the land at all.

By the way, in case you didn’t know – this includes Yasser Arafat himself. He was born in Cairo in 1929 and spent most of his youth in Egypt.

Perpetuating the Paradox

Sadly, the manipulation of definitions doesn’t stop there. In the next paragraph from UNRWA we find this:

The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including adopted children, are also eligible for registration. When the Agency began operations in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, some 5.9 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services.

That means we now have well over 5,000,000 people who don’t fit the standard definition of actual refugees. They are displaced from a place they never resided at, and they are meant to return to a place they have never been to. It’s an amazing paradox. A paradox we all not only contribute to its existence, but also pay the price for maintaining it and allowing it to exist – both in money and in blood.

Definitions Matter

Have you seen this absurd image of “Queers for Palestine” that has been circulating around social media lately?

Queers for Palestine

When you really think about it, this photo shouldn’t surprise you even one bit. It is no wonder that people with complete disregard for facts, people with such disdain for boundaries, people who are so definition-phobic, people who have lied themselves out of our shared reality and into their safe spaces – it makes sense that they would support the side that had to reshape history, manipulate definitions, all while copying and appropriating someone else’s identity, and being offended by their presence. Sounds familiar?

If you ask me, the real irony here is not how these people would be treated in Gaza or in Palestine, but how these so called “non-binary” people see everything in “oppressor-oppressed” binary, to the point of their own detriment. It is just another prime example of brain squashing.

The Cost of Lies

The worst thing about lies is that it is not only the person or the party that tells the lie who pays the price. Sooner or later everyone around that lie will pay a price. The people who believe it, the people who don’t but still go along with it, the people who wish it could be true and try to pursue it, the people who ignore it in the hope it will die out on its own, and even the people who speak against it and calling it out. Everyone will pay a price.

Take a good look at what’s going on in Gaza and Southern Israel. That is the cost of lies.

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