Wednesday, November 09, 2005

In each others' hearts and lungs

Ha'aretz: Family of boy shot dead by IDF donates organs `for peace between peoples'

When Israeli soldiers shot and killed his son, Ahmad Al-Khatib remembered his older brother who had died of kidney failure from lack of a suitable transplant and decided to donate his son's organs.

"I don't mind seeing the organs in an Israeli or a Palestinian. In our religion, God allows us to give organs to another person and it doesn't matter who the person is," said Jamal al-Khatib, the boy's father, who added that he hoped the donations would send a message of peace to Israelis and Palestinians.

And indeed, they went to three Israeli girls, two Jewish and one Druze.

It's not the first time those who have lost their lives to terrorism of either the state or individual sort have gone on to provide life for those on the other "side." On September 22, 2002, the Catholic news agency Zenit reported that the parents of a Jewish student killed in a suicide attack in Tel Aviv donated his organs, including a kidney that was transplanted into a seven-year old Palestinian girl. The year before that, the organs of a Palestinian man killed by a Jewish settler provided life for one Arab and three Jewish Israelis.

For those who think that Palestinian Islam is all about hate and revenge, consider the reasoning the family of the Palestinian man gave for their gift.

"I consulted the Muslim authorities, who assured me that the gesture not only could be carried out according to the Koran, but that, in addition, it is a meritorious and just act, regardless of the religion of the recipient of the organs,"

A sentiment shared by our own Holy Father while he was still Cardinal.

Yep. Palestinians and Israelis share more than just borders. They carry each others' hearts and lungs.

This was the point that my friend Nur Masalha (one of the nicest guys ever!) made in the current issue of the Nation regarding Iran's unfortunate comments about Israel.

Ahmadinejad's rhetoric...raises a key issue at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict: the need for Palestinian Muslims and Christians to make a clear distinction between our political struggle against institutionalized racism and ethnic cleansing in Palestine-Israel and the fact that we and the Israelis will, ultimately, have to live together as equal citizens under some form of secular democracy--rather than wipe each other out. Muslim fundamentalists (Ahmadinejad included) have miserably failed to understand the reality in historic Palestine. In the process of brutal colonization of the country, a Hebrew-speaking "nation" has emerged, with its own distinct language, culture and flourishing literature. There are 5 million to 6 million Hebrew-speaking Israelis, and no one has the right to talk about wiping them out. Acknowledging the current binational reality is completely different from legitimizing the colonial process by which this reality has come about.

You can build exclusive by-pass highways and walls higher than the old Berlin Wall. You can refuse to acknowledge the Zionist entity and establish diplomatic relations. But the plain fact of the matter is that the future includes Israelis and Palestinians together and there's no getting around it without genocide either way.

Just ask Ahmad al-Khatib, who sees his son in the little Jewish girl who has his heart.

[Cross-posted at Sollicitudo Rei Socialis]

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