The ‘Real’ Forever War – Part II
Yesterday, I had a meeting with several people. One of them is a Druze. A gentleman who served in the Army (IDF) for 25 years and recently completed his service – he still does Miluiim (reserve duty) voluntarily. He is just completing now his doctorate.
One of the things he told me is that over the past few weeks he has been receiving tens of emails per day from acquaintances from Gaza City, even from Sajiyah, begging, literally begging, us not the stop, that we do not halt the operation prematurely– to please free them from the horror of living under Hamas. They are begging for us to finish the job because Hamas is too horrible for them to countenance. These are residents/citizens of Gaza City.
Whose side are they on? Their own!
One of the items totally misunderstood – and totally misrepresented by the US media, is the structure of society among these folks.
Residents of the Gaza Strip are divided into two groups, the “original” citizens of the area, most of whom are urban, and the “refugees” or what the ‘real’ citizens call “the Tunisians” because they were brought from Tunis after the ill-fated Oslo Debacle. Gazans and Hebronians do not speak the same language. Neither of them speak as do those from Shehem (Nablus). These are not ‘just’ different tribes; these are wholly different peoples, with nothing in common between them.
The languages differ sufficiently that they can barely speak and understand one another. Gazas speak the Arabic dialect of Egypt. People in Shehem speak the language of Iraq, for they all come from the area of Haran. Hebronians speak the dialect of Arabia, for historically, they come from there, as do the Erekat clan in Jericho.
When the British imported all these people, because they refused to allow Jews to work for them in the Mandate offices or bureaus, they brought them from various places, as opportunities presented themselves (see Joan Peters, “From Time Immemorial” for a complete description of the British employment policies and immigration policies).
As mark Twain said, when he visited the country in circa ~1870, there were no Arabs living here then (he exaggerated, there were some, but very, very few, and in very specific places).
A few years ago, a team of marvellous high school students from the Bedouin Village of Hura, about 20 kilometres directly east of Beer-Sheva in the South, decided to develop a book documenting history and culture of the Bedouin, in Hebrew and Arabic. As an established author, I became very excited by this project and offered assistance. I had the opportunity to visit them in this framework.
Upon entering, one cannot help but notice the homes; I estimate the smallest of them is about 200 square meters (about 2000 sq. ft.). Each surrounded by an identical wall; 1.5 meters of cinder blocks, surrounding between a dunam (1000 square meters, about a quarter acre) to two. Many houses are massive, 500 square meters or more. The areas between houses, houses or walls do not meet, is bare ground, unfortunately denuded of any growing thing.
Hura has four very large and fancily decorated mosques, in each of the four corners of the village.
The Bedouins are well-known and rightfully so, as excellent and skilled hosts; the presence of a guest is a sacred trust in Bedouin culture. Our host, while a young man of ‘only’ 24 years, was a true Bedouin host! He made a point of serving only strictly kosher cakes and refreshments! He was the teacher-coach of the children developing the book. During our entire conversation, he made a point of taking his notes in Hebrew, and not in Arabic, so that there could be no misunderstandings; again, exemplary manners.
Our conversation revolved around the book, which means, around culture. We discussed the “Coffee ceremony”, making goat’s milk butter, drinking camel milk, Bedouin law, Bedouin folk medicine, the woman’s role in the tent and more.
By the way, that last point is particularly interesting. His ‘family’ (i.e., clan) numbers some 3000 in Hura alone, all live in magnificent houses for several decades. Yet, concepts he describes, all reference the tent. He constantly illustrates his points by speaking of wandering (Bedouin were nomads). They still have extensive family in the Arabian Peninsula, from whence they were sent in his grandfather’s time, personally by King Ibn Saud himself, as colonists, because he coveted the land of “Palestine”. His grandfather has been on Hajj three times, and maintains constant contact with the half of the tribe in Arabia. (The story of their arrival here is his story not mine, which he tells proudly.)
His talk discusses hospitality, as this is such a central part of Bedouin culture. One interesting point: he says that when looking at ‘a man’s tent’ one can tell if he is proper host or a miser, by looking at the goat and camel bones on the left-hand side of the tent – Bedouin eat camels and ‘displaying’ the bones and refuse is a point of pride.
Bedouin do not speak or inter-marry with residents of Gaza, Hebron, Jericho, Jenin, Shehem, Jaffa or Jerusalem. Each tribe and clan revolves around itself – “Me against my brother, my brothers and I against the clan, the clan against the tribe, the tribe against the world.”
Arabs in Judea and Samaria have a 67 percent rate of consanguinity (intermarrying between cousins). Tens of generations of this have a enthralling society effect.
Put that in the ISIS pipe and see what smoke arises.