Born to hatred, raised by terror, inching closer to darkness, I was given three options: become a suicide bomber, a soldier of terror, or a preacher of hatred and terror. I chose the latter, the worst option of the three. It was never a coward’s act to choose the path of preaching evil but a destiny said to be more suited to me. Fate had other plans.
Like any Palestinian, I grew up hating the Jews, as they supposedly stole my land, massacred my people, and stripped us of our dignity. So, by all logic, I must hate and resist this occupation. Every time I found myself on the path to evil, fate intervened, steering me away.
My childhood friend wasn’t as fortunate; evil stripped him of his humanity, leading him to commit a suicidal attack that injured many innocent people. Another friend was martyred in clashes with the IDF, and I wept like a child. This was the harsh reality we grew up with.
Life moved forward, taking me away from just hating Jews to hating the world, inching closer to becoming the worst version of myself. As I circled the Kaaba for the last time, on a path set forth for me to become the worst preacher of evil, I owed my life to fate or perhaps God.
As life took me around, I faced ugliness in the world, moving from one terror entity to another, sampling hatred like a vintage wine, each stuck in the beliefs of the past 1400 years.
By the grace of God, my hands remained clean, not stained by the blood of any innocent. I could never take a life, always struggling with the loss of innocent lives.
My childhood in Palestine was never happy, and luxuries were non-existent. Walking out of a store, a settler’s car approached, and the sudden urge of hatred rushed through me, throwing an ice cream at the car—the simple pleasure the Jews took away. The settler was angry, but the small store owner’s words or the settler’s humanity saved me.
Years passed, attempting to live a normal life, but hatred consumed me. Forced back to Palestine, I faced past fears, awaiting my fate at the Israeli border. Surprisingly, the experiences were different than feared, encountering kindness and humanity. Returning to Israel multiple times, my experiences remained the same. Walking the streets of Tel Aviv, I found freedom and safety. Conversations with soldiers revealed a shared humanity, challenging the claims of apartheid and evils I once feared. These experiences ignited my curiosity to seek the truth, realizing we had it wrong all along.
The Jewish people, whom I grew to hate, are generous in kindness and compassion. The state they built was not just for one but for all, regardless of creed or color. They live and fight as one. I finally came to my senses, realizing the truth my people hid from me, feeling angry and betrayed. I was denied the pleasures of the wonderful people I’ve come to know. The Jews saved this Palestinian soul, showing me love and kindness when I never deserved it. No words are worthy of the hope, love, and immense joy I feel. Graciously and gracefully, I bow as a grateful man before the beautifully kind, generous souls of the Jewish people.