The Galilee First, if the world is serious about Israel and Palestine!

Sam Bahour
7 min readJul 1, 2020
Attorney Sabri Jiryis (L) and Sam Bahour standing on the rooftop of the 113-year-old Saint Elias Church in the Palestinian village of Fassouta in the Western Galilee. The South Lebanon skyline is in the background.

Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands and Israeli dominance over Palestinian lives comes in a variety of shapes, forms, and flavors. Understandably, the international community and many Israeli citizens are in an uproar today about the impending Israeli annexation of large swaths of the West Bank, however, their hypocrisy can no longer be concealed.

Not only is this yet another act of de jure annexation by Israel, but the upcoming act of annexation is being made out to be the overarching issue at hand. It is not, per se. For decades, Israel’s actions on the ground have always pointed to the dangerous place we have reached today. For countries of the world or Israeli citizens to be surprised that the U.S-Israeli partnership is about to embark on another catastrophic and illegal act is only evidence that they have been sleeping at the wheel for decades. The time has come for serious stakeholders to hold Israel accountable for all their acts, in Occupied Palestine and Israel, and not only threaten to take action if the next round of annexation materializes.

Palestinians in Israel

The horrendous reality of the Palestinian communities inside Israel — in places like Akka, Haifa, Nazareth, Jaffa, and the Negev — is not about being regulated to sit in the back of the bus; they could only wish for such blatant racism. Here, racism is multilayered, ideological, well-camouflaged, state-sponsored, and non-stop.

Anyone who thinks that stopping the next Israeli annexation of additional parts of the West Bank would bring peace closer would be well-advised to peel away the veneer of democratic façade, one that covers an Israeli plan with only one goal in mind — completing the campaign of ethnically cleansing Palestinians — on both sides of the Green Line — that started with the creation of the State of Israel.

I witnessed the state of Palestinian citizens in Israel on a visit to Northern Israel in 2012. My trip took place on a beautiful fall day, I sat in a friend’s living room in the village of Fassouta at the northern tip of Israel, adjacent to the Lebanese border, in the part of Israel called the Galilee. This is where the Palestinian citizens in Israel are concentrated. Five generations of Palestinians were…

Sam Bahour

Writer, businessperson, activist.