"One recent warm afternoon, Jamal Abdulhadi Mahameed drove past kibbutz fields of wheat and watermelon, up a dirt road surrounded by pine trees and cactuses, and climbed the worn remains of a set of stairs, declaring in the open air: “This was my house. This is where I was born.”
He said what he most wanted now, at 69, was to leave the crowded town next door, come to this piece of uncultivated land with the pomegranate bushes planted by his father and work it, as generations had before him. He has gone to court to get it.
He is no revolutionary and, by nearly any measure, is a solid and successful citizen. His children include a doctor, two lawyers and an engineer. Yet, as an Arab, his quest for a return to his land challenges a longstanding Israeli policy.
“We are prohibited from using our own land,” he said, standing in the former village of Lajoun, now a mix of overgrown scrub and pines surrounded by the fields of Kibbutz Megiddo. “They want to keep it available for Jews. My daughter makes no distinction between Jewish and Arab patients. Why should the state treat me differently?”
The answer has to do with the very essence of Zionism — the movement of Jewish rebirth and control over the land where Jewish statehood first flourished more than 2,000 years ago.
“Land is presence,” remarked Clinton Bailey, an Israeli scholar who has focused on Bedouin culture. “If you want to be present here, you have to have land. The country is not that big. What you cede to Arabs can no longer be used for Jews who may still want to come.”"
NYT article: This is Zionism. (Thanks Anna)