In 1948, Israel had its strange birth, and the newborn was greeted immediately by soldiers from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as they tried to snuff out the monster in its crib. They failed spectacularly, and an ink-drawn Star of David flag was raised on the shore of the Red Sea. Screw you, Arabs!
Twenty years later, Tahseen Al-Khateeb was born in Jordan to a Palestinian refugee family. Without ever living in a English-speaking country, Al-Khateeb made himself comfortable enough with the language to render Charles Simic's The World Doesn't End into Arabic. He has also translated a handful of my poems, with an interest in doing a full-length book. Recently, Al-Khateeb approached me for an interview, and of course I agreed. Our conversation would be translated into Arabic and published in a Jordanian newspaper.
Outside of Israel,
Jordan has the largest
number of Palestinians at 3,240,000, and Jordan
also hosts over 600,000 Syrian refugees and 200,000 from Iraq. When Jews
and Americans raise hell, Jordan
is there to absorb refugees, and for this service, Jordan
receives substantial aid from the United States. Working with the
CIA, Jordan operates two black sites where "detainees" can be "rendered" to be
After its initial hostility to Israel, Jordan became the second Arab nation to establish diplomatic ties with the Jewish Homeland. There is a 2010 Reuter photo of Jordan's King Abdullah II shaking hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While Bibi sits, the King stands and so must bow, and the caption also states that it's the Jordanian Monarch who greets Bibi, not the other way around. Reproduced at Iran's Press TV, this photo is greeted with derision. "You can clearly see in the picture who is acting as a master and who is as servant." "What, does the next picture show Abdullah kissing his ring?" "Everyone knows the scum works for the Brits; so was his father & his [granduncle] Faisal. He is just receiving instructions."
Propped up by the Brits, Faisal was King of Syria, then Iraq, and this forgettable figure is on record as saying, "We Arabs look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement." For his part, Abdullah II is half British, and from kindergarten through college, was educated entirely in the UK and USA. He even served in the British Army after graduating from England's Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. English is Abdullah II's primary language. What we have, then, is a line of rent-a-king for the West. For the right price, I'm sure you can hire a Jordanian King for your kid's bar mitzvah or church's nativity scene. Traditional costume and camel will cost extra.
Like Al-Khateeb's parents, I'm also a refugee, and like him and so many others, we're merely history's lesser victims, for we've only been uprooted, and not killed or maimed. Do we have a common enemy? Do you and I? It was my hope that the interview would be a vehicle to explore this question.
Tahseen asked, "As you have been lately involved in politics, how do look at the horrors done by the American Administration (s) to other nations: the invasion of Iraq and of Afghanistan, for instance? And what about their endless support for the Israelis despite their shameless war crimes against the Palestinians, whether in Gaza, or elsewhere?"
I began by stating the obvious, "Oil and Israel are the two reasons for American criminality against the Muslim world. Without these factors, Muslims would not be so demonized and attacked by Americans, and this pattern will continue as long as Israel and oil remain. Israel is an unprecedented historical mistake, for it makes no sense to claim a right of return for Jews after 2,000 years, but deny the same to Palestinians after six decades, though many have lost their homes much more recently, for this land grab is an ongoing process that won't end until all Palestinians disappear from 'the Jewish homeland.' It's tragic and farcical that a Chinese Jew can move to Jerusalem tomorrow, but not an exiled Palestinian who still has the key to his ancestral home. Israel is a violent concept that is executed and maintained with terror, and by this I mean American-sponsored Jewish terror, though these world class terrorists are so relentless with their propaganda, they have made "terrorist" nearly synonymous with their enemy, the Muslim. There is hope for Palestinians, however, for as the USA implodes, Israel will also go up in smoke. Working in tandem, the US and Israel have collapsed several Muslim governments and generated millions of refugees. The same fate awaits Israel, though its dissolution should be permanent, for only then will peace come.