Friday, August 26, 2005
Avi Farhan on al-Jazeera
It isn't often that I have any desire to read al-Jazeera. But they recently conducted -- and published -- an interview with Avi Farhan, an Israeli who lived in Alei Sinai, in the northern Gaza Strip, until it was evacuated.
Interestingly, he volunteered to serve as a test case. He would stay where he was, relinquishing his Israeli citizenship, and see how the Palestinians accepted him. It was this stance that caught al-Jazeera's interest, and resulted in the interview.
(I'm sorry to say that he didn't follow through with this. He has indeed been evacuated. I'm not sure if this was a wise move on the part of the Israeli government or not.)
In any event, you should read the interview. The interviewer posed the toughest questions he could think of -- and Mr. Farhan gave as good as he got. Here's a sample:
Many people reject your presence here and consider it illegal by standards of international law.Pretty cool stuff. Check it out.
Extremist [Palestinians] say: "We want to return to Haifa and Yafa." They don't want Avi to stay here. They want Avi to go into the sea.
Me and another 1 million Jews used to live in Libya. I came here when I was three years old. We were expelled. Some others were expelled from Morocco, Algeria, Tunis and all over. We left money, land and a house on the beach in Tripoli. I don't want my money and my dad's house, I just want to stay here.
I met [Mohammad] Dahlan four to five years ago in Eli Sinai in my fish restaurant. I told him if you could give me assurances of peace, we could make something great from Ashkelon to the al-Arish, and it could be better than the French Riviera, but you have to make peace from the heart, not political peace.
He said: "You can stay here if you become a Palestinian settler." I told him, "You don't scare me with this talk. If you agree to this, I will get elected in the Legislative Council before you do - I have more friends than you in Gaza."
All I want to do is remain, as a Jewish settler, in Eli Sinai in Gaza, just like Palestinians who live in the Um al-Fahem in Israel.