Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words, at least. In the case of this image by Reuters’ Ammar Awad, this one may be worth 10,000 or more. It’s also instructive that the NY Times headline for the slideshow presentation of Land Day images that includes this one was: Protesters Scuffle With Forces. I don’t see protesters scuffling with Israeli forces. I see Israeli border police mauling unarmed Palestinian demonstrators. I see them pepper-spraying one at point-blank range. You might not notice that his head has already been bloodied as a result of the blows he received at the hands of these border police goons, known for their savagery against such protesters.
Israeli forces also killed one such individual, again someone unarmed.
Let’s not make the mistake of talking about this solely as a product of Occupation (which it is, in part). Keep in mind that this is Land Day. In other words, this is about the injustice of Israel expelling Israeli Palestinians and appropriating their land after the Nakba. There is only one way to address this injustice. It is not just to end the Occupation of Palestine, but to redress the injustice of Nakba.
Palestinian Nakba refugees must be compensated for what Israel stole from them in 1948. Those who wish to return must be permitted to do so. Those who choose to remain where they are or settle in Palestine proper, must also be similarly compensated. If Israel or other nations wish to encourage such refugees not to settle in Israel proper they might offer more compensation to those who do not return to Israel. But returning or not should be a decision of the refugee.
It goes without saying that this image portrays the monstrous thuggery of the border police, known for their savagery against generally defenseless Palestinians. But they are the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface lies much more profound injustice. It is precisely such injustices which liberal Zionists like Gershom Gorenberg and Peter Beinart cannot successfully address in their critique of Israel and Zionism.