Thursday, 17 April 2014

Maundy Thursday

 "The 1948 Palestinian exodus occurred when approximately 711,000 to 726,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes, during the 1947-1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine and the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The exact number of refugees is a matter of dispute. But around 80 percent of the Arab inhabitants of what became Israel..Later, a series of laws passed by the first Israeli government prevented them from returning to their homes, or claiming their property. They and many of their descendants remain refugees." (Wikipedia)
Thinking about the plight of the Palestinians prompted this poem. The decision to expel them may not have taken place in an upper room in Jerusalem, that is a matter of poetic licence, but it probably did take place behind closed doors.
It is one of the ironies of history that the Jewish peoples, in exile for so many years from Israel, should in turn send the Palestinian people into exile, especially as they are genetic cousins. And sadly power games still dominate Middle Eastern politics today, as they did outside an upper room two millennia past.
Maundy Thursday
Upper rooms in Jerusalem
And behind closed doors
Talking about "us" and "them"
Hate leaves residual spoors
Palestine behind barbed wire
An exiled people, driven out
In poverty they live so dire
Why do not the hills cry out?
Upper rooms upon one day
Washing feet, a servant song
Another choice, another way
Instead another path so wrong
These power games forget the poor
When will it end, and be no more?
Notes on Genetics:
Tomas Rees commented in 2009 that:
 "The genetics of Arabs and Jews have been pretty extensively researched. The classic study dates to 2000, from a team lead by Michael Hammer of University of Arizona. They looked at Y-chromosome haplotypes - this is the genetic material passed from father to son down the generations. What they revealed was that Arabs and Jews are essentially a single population, and that Palestinians are slap bang in the middle of the different Jewish populations."
"Another team, lead by Almut Nebel at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, took a closer look in 2001. They found that Jewish lineages essentially bracket Muslim Kurds, but they were also very closely related to Palestinians. In fact, what their analysis suggested was that Palestinians were identical to Jews, but with a small mix of Arab genes - what you would expect if they were originally from the same stock, but that Palestinians had mixed a little with Arab immigrants."(1)
The geneticist Harry Ostrer showed more linkages:
"The Law of Return, the Israeli law that established the right of Jews around the world to settle in Israel and which remains in force today, was a central tenet of Zionism. The DNA that links Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi, three prominent culturally and geographically distinct Jewish groups, could conceivably be used to support Zionist territorial claims -except, as Ostrer has pointed out, some of the same markers can be found in Palestinians, distant genetic cousins of the Jews, as well. Palestinians, understandably, want their own 'right of return'."

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