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“We will take back our land, and the colonialism and occupation [Israel] will become nothing more than lines in the history books”

Excerpt of an op-ed by Muwaffaq Matar, Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the official PA daily


“ Given that there are Arab brothers who are convinced that Israel is the last western colonialist base, we are certain that we will take back our land, and that the colonialism and occupation [by Israel] will become nothing more than lines in the history books.” 


The article refers to an incident at the Manama Dialogue conference of the International Institute for Strategic Studies on Dec. 6, 2020, which was attended by both the Saudi Prince Turki Al-Faisal and the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi. In his speech at the event, Al-Faisal attacked Israel and said that: “Israeli governments have arrested thousands of the inhabitants of the lands that they are colonizing and incarcerated them in concentration camps under the flimsiest of security accusations — young and old, women and men who are rotting there without recourse or justice… They’re [Israel] demolishing homes as they wish, and they assassinate whomever they want to. And yet, the Israeli Knesset passed a law that defines the citizenship of Israel as exclusively Jewish, denying the non-Jewish inhabitants of Israel equal rights under the law. What kind of democracy is that?” The Jewish Nation-State Law, which Al-Faisal mentioned, does not deny non-Jews citizenship or equal rights; see note below. Ashkenazi responded to Al-Faisal’s attack by saying: “At the beginning of my remarks I would like to express my regret abouton the comments of the Saudi representative. I don’t believe that they reflect the spirit and the changes taking place in the Middle East.” 

Jewish Nation-State Law – law passed by the Israeli Parliament on July 19, 2018, which codifies in Israel's Basic Law that Israel is the home of the Jewish nation with Jerusalem its capital, and the Hebrew calendar its official calendar. It establishes Hebrew as the sole official language and grants Arabic a special status, and it recognizes Jewish and Israeli holidays, memorial days, and the Jewish Sabbath as national holidays and days of rest - while guaranteeing the right of all Israeli citizens and residents to celebrate their holidays and days of rest. The law, which passed with 62 in favor, 55 against, and 2 abstentions, has sparked controversy within Israeli society.