Elias Chocour's Blood Brothers
Elias Chocour’s novel, Blood Brothers, represents his point of view on the contemporary Palestinian position regarding the holy land of Israel. The book traces the transformation of Chocour’s life, from a Melkite Christian Palestinian boy into a powerful spiritual leader and innovative agent in facilitating better race relations in the region. He shows how Palestinian’ needs were left out during the formation of the State of Israel, and how their plight is highly misunderstood, and often grossly distorted because of ignorance. Chocour’s depiction of the problem facing non-Jews is highly illuminating, and Blood Brothers will dispel many illusions and fallacies that cloud the facts surrounding the status of Israel’s inhabitants.
The book begins before the creation of Israel, when race relations were less strained than they are now. Chocour says he loved the area in which he lived because it was his home. “Our lives were so rooted to the land (that) the stones even found their way into our play” (26). Palestinians and Jews were friendly and neighborly towards each other. Their lives were bound together because they inhabited and shared the land (32). Chocour developed his humanitarian views that would later lead him to greatness during this time of racial peace. He “had beautiful dreams for Palestinian and Jewish children (living) together” (ix). The creation of the State of Israel drastically changed the equality in the region, and these times were soon be forgotten.
Israel was created as a haven for persecuted Jew as a result of the Holocaust, however, it was soon run by the military. “The new Israel seemed to be a nation where the military ruled ignoring the will of the country’s judges and lawmakers” (71). Huge numbers of Jews sought the safety provided by Israel’s army, and immigrated. But very few jobs were created to compensate for the huge population surplus. A cheap labor force was essential to the Kibbutzim, which forced huge numbers of Palestinians into underemployment and unemployment. During this time, non jews were thrust to the side to make room for Jews, their rights forgotten. “The compromise was...