The day is approaching when we will long for these Hamasniks. One day we will wonder why we didn’t talk to these Hamas leaders. At the same time, we will be faced with much larger threats. It is clear to me that this is a bitter lesson of history.
Sari Nusseibeh gives me a lesson on one chapter of history in his memoir, “Once Upon a Country.” His life story, which is written with precise, even noble, elegance, is a mirror of our missed opportunities. It is a rebuttal of the patronizing Israeli assertion that “the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
The truth is that we refuse to speak with them because we are incapable of speaking with ourselves. Every time we tried to make a mockery of them, we were pulling the wool over our own eyes. There are topics we have no problem discussing with the enemy: hummus, car repair shops and washing the floors. But when it comes to refugees and settlements, we don’t have the courage to tell the truth to ourselves, nor are we ready to talk to ourselves about the part of the responsibility we bear for the refugee problem, its marginalization, political exploitation and the fact it remains unsolved to this day.