Ifat Maoz Department of Communication


Nasser: (laughing) I do, but I can’t have them



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Nasser: (laughing) I do, but I can’t have them.

Avner has apparently felt a threatening tone in Nasser’s earlier sentences and he reacts accordingly. For the first time Avner asks a direct question, but he is nonetheless responding in fear: “Is it true that you want Haifa and Tel Aviv as a part of your Palestinian state?” On one hand, this response to Nasser’s last words helps Avner ignore Nasser's entire Palestinian narrative. Nasser, who may be enjoying the immediate emotional effect he has elicited in Avner, answers laughingly, as if, by his laughter, he wants to re-awaken the previous effect of his own potential strength, of Avner’s fear.

Avner: I would like you to answer a question. I more or less know what is happening with my people. My ideas are based on the Israeli consensus, or whatever you want to call it, but I don’t know about you, this is truly an innocent question: At what point in history, as you see it, does your definition of a Palestinian people begin?

Avner changes the subject, trying to engage Nasser from an unexpected angle. He seems to imply that the Palestinians, unlike the Jews, do not have a national history that is deeply rooted in the past. This topical change represents an interesting turnabout in his argumentation. Avner’s new fear that the Palestinians are too well organized and their intentions toward the Jews are not sufficiently clear has replaced his earlier claim that the Arab students are not sufficiently organized. Interestingly, Nasser has now adopted Avner’s assumption of symmetry in power, while Avner completes the “dance” by accepting Nasser's definition of collective identity. He has stopped relating to the Palestinian side in the plural (as he did in relation to Students’ Day) and begins to speak directly to Nasser. Yet Avner is also ambiguous: Is he trying to understand the extent of the Palestinians territorial intentions (an expression of his previous fear), or does he try to regain his initial superiority through the presentation of his “innocent” question?6



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