The interviews were first published in Italian on Pagina21 here and here. Both interviews were conducted by Thierry Vissol, director of the Librexpression/Libex Euro-Mediterranean Center, Giuseppe di Vagno Foundation (Italy)
Interview with Fadi Abou Hassan, Norwegian press cartoonist of Palestinian origin
Thierry Vissol - Your family originates from Palestine and immigrated to Syria.
- Can you explain your family history and why you left Palestine?
Fadi Abou Hassan - Yes, I come from a Palestinian family originally from Haifa, forced to leave their land by Israeli colonialism in 1948 under the benevolent supervision of Great Britain. My grandparents found themselves momentarily in southern Lebanon in the hope of returning home; at the time, my father was just a ten-day-old infant. They lived in temporary camps for three months, eventually becoming permanent refugees in Syria's Yarmouk camp in Damascus. So my father and his ten brothers and sisters grew up far from home. I was born in Benghazi, Libya, on a work assignment for my father, who was a schoolteacher, and I spent my first 7 years there, until his assignment ended and we returned to Damascus, where we stayed until 2011.
Thierry Vissol - Do you still have family in Israel, in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank or East Jerusalem?
Fadi Abou Hassan - Yes, I still have some family members in Palestine and others in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Brazil, the USA, Canada, Australia and Sweden. Due to the dispersal of the family under the Israeli occupation, we've never been able to live as a single family under one roof.
Thierry Vissol - You yourself had to flee Syria, following Bashar el-Assad's bloody repression.
- Can you explain why you had to flee, and what your journey was like before finally arriving in Norway?
Fadi Abou Hassan - I experienced a second crisis of coexistence in my country of refuge in 2011, simply because I supported with my art the peaceful demonstrations of the Syrian people against the oppression of Bashar el-Assad's dictatorial regime. I had to flee the authorities' repression at first, taking refuge with my relatives in Lebanon for a while, until I obtained refugee status in Norway.
Thierry Vissol - You then obtained Norwegian nationality and now consider Norway your home.
- How are you treated in Norway? Is there any discrimination against immigrants or Norwegian citizens like you?
Fadi Abou Hassan - Norway has become my home, my new refuge and my safe haven, the country where I experienced the true meaning of humanity and citizenship. I remember being asked in an interview which capital I preferred as a refugee: Riyadh or Oslo? I answered confidently and without hesitation, of course Oslo. They treated me with great respect, without ignoring my origins or my identity. The same goes for immigrants, who are treated with dignity and humanism and, frankly, I've never seen any discrimination against them in Norway. In Oslo, you can see young girls in hijabs as well as non-veiled girls in every corner of the city without any discrimination. Norwegians are a cultured people open to all cultural differences, a quality I really appreciate in them.
Thierry Vissol - In Norway, you continue your work as a press cartoonist and have created an online platform, Cartoon Home Network International (CHNI), of which you are the editor-in-chief. It brings together professional editorial cartoonists from all over the world. It aims to be the voice of the voiceless around the world, and intends to remain so despite all the challenges and threats to silence cartoonists. And, with this site, you have organized numerous actions in favor of peace, human rights, humanitarian rights, and against violence of all kinds against women, all themes that are also tirelessly yours.
- Why did you dedicate your life and your art to these militant actions?
Fadi Abou Hassan - Firstly, because I am a human being and a man who has experienced social injustice as a refugee, that is, as a man deprived of his right to belong to a free homeland, a man who has experienced the bitterness of immigration and that of being a member of a minority. Humanitarian rights and dignity are my motto, and my fight is against oppression and racism, which is why satirical cartoons exist.
Thierry Vissol - You're also a fervent campaigner for freedom of expression.
- What does freedom of expression mean to you?
- Do you think that - apart from existing international and national legislation - there are red lines for the press cartoonist that must not be crossed?
Fadi Abou Hassan - For me, freedom of expression is a means of forging links between different cultures. Its misuse can also be harmful, as it's a double-edged sword. As far as red lines for cartoonists are concerned, I think there are always some when it comes to human beings, because for me, my freedom of expression is limited to that of others, outside any existing laws. Human beings have the right to be respected in their entirety: their affiliation, their ideology and their beliefs, and there is no justification for using freedom of expression to humiliate others. It's all very well to criticize without offending, but we mustn't forget that it was human beings who created the laws to govern their lives and, above all, protect their privacy.
Thierry Vissol - Since Israel's bloody reaction (Operation "Iron Swords") to the horrific terrorist actions of Hamas on October 7, the siege of the Gaza Strip, the bombardments, the destruction, the forced exodus of populations with no safe places, nor the possibility of leaving the territory - Egypt has long refused to open its border and Hamas is preventing it too - you've taken an extremely hard line against Israel and its allies, the United States and the European Union in particular.
- Can you explain your position?
Fadi Abou Hassan - My position against Israel's bloody actions in the Gaza Strip is, for me, completely normal and legitimate, because, on the one hand, I'm a human being and, on the other, because I'm a native Palestinian and belong to the camp of the real victims, the victims of a conflict much older than October 07, 2023. What do you think my reaction should be to, for example, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant's statement that Palestinians are "animals in human form"? When there was talk of depriving two million citizens of drinking water, electricity and gasoil? Israel's actions in self-defense have become extreme and indiscriminate, and every day the vengeance becomes more abominable and inhuman. For the first time in history, the right to defend oneself has been transformed into blind vengeance, with bombardments ceaseless day and night, sparing no trees, no human beings, no schools, no hospitals, not even animals. For the first time in modern history, a state is waging war against medical and paramedical personnel, hospitalized wounded and even children and premature babies! For the first time, we see military operations against hospitals sheltering innocent refugees. You only have to hear the new phrase "the war of the hospitals" to see how savage this war has become. Even universal values have decomposed in the face of the silence of governments, the military subsidies of the United States and the blessing of certain European states, while they are constantly giving us lessons on human and political values!
Thierry Vissol - Together with Tunisian cartoonist Tawfiq Omrane, you have decided to leave Plantu's Cartooning for Peace association. Plantu is in favor of peace and two peoples, two countries. Lately, the association has been publishing numerous drawings opposing Israeli massacres in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and calling for a halt to hostilities and respect for humanitarian law.
- Why this decision?
- Do you think your position has changed Cartooning for Peace?
Fadi Abou Hassan - From the very first day (of the war), Cartooning for Peace adopted a position radically favorable to the tragedy of the Israeli apartheid regime in its publications, and took a tendentious approach to the drawings selected for its columns in partnership with France 24 and Le Monde, as we explained in our letter breaking with the association. The Hamas attack was denounced, but not Israel's war crimes in Gaza. There was no reminder of the escalating violence and human rights violations that have been taking place on a daily basis since the blockade of Gaza in 2007, and our drawings were deliberately ignored. This tendentious treatment of their editorial line, which had been going on for two weeks when we wrote our letter of resignation, amounts to disinformation. You say that Plantu is in favor of peace between the two peoples, but he has not played his part well. Worse still, his drawings show his position in line with the Israeli narrative!
As for the second part of the question, the answer is a resounding Yes. I think that our position has indeed had a positive effect on the Association and radically changed its editorial line.
Thierry Vissol - Many citizens and media outlets in the West are campaigning for the Palestinians to stop the reprisals that are decimating civilians and destroying their property.
- Do you think that these demonstrations of solidarity are capable of changing the positions of the governments least inclined to criticize Israel?
Fadi Abou Hassan - Yes, I think these demonstrations have had a big impact. What's more, we saw a change in the positions that several governments had adopted after October 7, in favor of stopping the fighting and calling a "ceasefire". What's more, they created a feeling of recognition on the part of the Palestinian people, who felt supported by the world.
Thierry Vissol - As far as I know, but perhaps I'm wrong, you haven't condemned the terrorist acts of Hamas in your drawings. On the one hand, Hamas is supported, financed and armed by Iran in particular, a dictatorship that doesn't hesitate to murder its opponents and women who don't respect its morality police. And both have Israel's demise as their goal. On the other hand, Hamas uses civilian populations as human shields.
- Even if it's indecent to compare and quantify horrors, don't you think that this position of yours adopts the double standards that you criticize elsewhere?
Fadi Abou Hassan - Personally, I condemn all wars and attacks against the innocent, but I don't understand this obsession with condemning victims who have been under colonial siege for many years! This infernal problematic where everyone talks about Israel's right to defend its existence, whatever the cost, will never end if you also take into account the other side's right to exist. Before 1948, the Jewish people lived in serenity and peace throughout the Arab world. By contrast, their brothers in the West were repressed and even burned alive! Today, my people are living the same story, but yesterday's victim has become today's executioner. The day after the infamous October 07, I reviewed the Western newspapers and noticed that the editorial line was uniform and spoke with one voice, labelling the Palestinians as terrorists and portraying the people of Gaza as barbarians! It was as if the aim was to wage a media war to suppress the notion of humanism among the Palestinians and give the green light to their "bloody punishment" in a legal manner. And it was this unfortunate and dramatic stance that led to war crimes with over 15,000 victims, 70% of whom were children and women, not to mention the total annihilation of homes, vital infrastructures and hospitals. I'll never forget the image of the 28 premature babies detached from their incubators, their last hope of life, without the slightest concern for their future or even thinking of an alternative, on the pretext that there was "doubt" that Hamas was hiding in the hospital sewers!!!!
At this point, I'd like to know if you've asked the press cartoonists on the other side if they condemn the murder of part of the Palestinian people? Have they condemned Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, where Hamas does not exist? Do they also condemn the war crimes committed against two million Palestinians living under Israeli blockade, without drinking water or electricity? Who live in a huge open-air prison with cameras pointed all around them, and who can only enter or leave their own land with the permission of the colonizer! Who live in inhuman conditions! If some Western media do so, how many do not condemn these conditions where even animals cannot survive?
But, fortunately, nations have a living conscience, and I'd like to thank all those who demonstrated against the oppression of their fellow human beings all over the world: in Oslo, London, New York, Rabat, Sweden, Ireland, France, Italy, Denmark, etc... These grandiose demonstrations showed that humanity knows no borders.
Thierry Vissol - Don't the reactions of visceral hatred, fed and amplified by the atrocities committed, the anti-Semitism and Islamophobia that are resurfacing and growing, the deep rift between pro-Israelis and pro-Palestinians, the cynicism of Putin who is using this war to consolidate his alliances against the West and against Ukraine, the generalized rearmament, constitute a profound risk of widening the conflict and a new division of the world into two clans?
- How can we stop these explosions of hatred?
Fadi Abou Hassan - Stopping the hate speech that leads to the division of the world into two camps is very simple: it means stopping colonialism and wars all over the world.
Thierry Vissol - What do you think the outcome of this conflict could be?
- Do you think a reconciliation between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples is possible, as was the case in Europe after the Second World War?
Fadi Abou Hassan - Peace in Palestine and the Middle East will be impossible as long as Palestine as an independent state is not recognized by the international community.
Fadi Abou Hassan (Norway)
Fadi Abou Hassan is a freelance press cartoonist (under the pseudonym Fadi Toon) of Palestinian origin, who has won awards in numerous international competitions, including the Libex-2018 competition (Italy). A refugee with his family in Syria until 2011, when he was forced into exile again because of his opposition to Bashar El-Assad. Now a refugee in Norway, he has Norwegian nationality. His drawings deal specifically with human rights, women's rights and political violence. They have appeared in numerous print and online media, including Courrier International (France), Ny Tid and Numer (Norway), Confronti and Pagina21 (Italy). A member of Cartoon Movement and former member of Cartooning for Peace, he is editor-in-chief of the Cartoon Home Network International (CHNI) website.
Interview with Michel Kichka, Israeli press cartoonist
Thierry Vissol - You come from a family of Ashkenazi Jews (even if you don't like this type of classification, you consider yourself Jewish, period) who fled from Poland to Belgium before the First World War. During the Second World War, your mother's family escaped the Nazis by taking refuge in Switzerland. Your father's family, on the other hand, was deported to Auschwitz-Buchenwald in 1942, and your father was the only survivor. When he returned to Belgium, he was able to start a family, and you are the second of four children. In your book "La deuxième génération" (Dargaud, 2012), you describe how your father's traumas, ghosts and unspoken words left a deep imprint on your childhood.
- Is this tragic, long-suppressed memory of your father still present in you (second-generation syndrome), and how has it shaped your personality and ideas?
Michel Kichka - My awareness of belonging to the "Second Generation" only developed after I turned 35. I'm not sure I can define it as a syndrome. What is certain is that the open wound in our family history prompted me to undertake a long process of introspection, culminating in the creation of my first graphic novel at the age of 55. Some people say I've been doing self-therapy. Well, it's possible. Writing and drawing have enabled me to go beyond the pain and overcome it.
Thierry Vissol - At the age of 19, you decided to leave Belgium and make a life for yourself in Israel. Passionate about drawing like your father, you became a professor at the Jerusalem Academy of Fine Arts (Bezavel) and one of Israel's leading press cartoonists, with a worldwide reputation. Although you attended religious classes and had your Bar Mitzvah, you were not a practising Jew and took part in the "Young Guard" youth movement, a form of Jewish socialist scouting. Your father didn't believe in God - for him, "if God had existed, the camps would never have existed! "- and his father was a militant, secular socialist.
- What motivated your decision to move to Israel? Was there a lot of anti-Semitism in Belgium at the time?
Michel Kichka - I never suffered from anti-Semitism in Belgium, where I grew up in the 50s and 60s. The Jewish youth movement, though secular, was the means for me to become aware of my Jewishness and introduced me to Israel during a summer camp in 1969. That first trip to Israel was decisive. I realized that the roots of my family history lie not in my grandparents' Poland or my parents' Belgium, but in Israel, home to a people whose ancestral language I don't yet speak, but who are my own. At the age of 19, when the Yom Kippur War broke out (October 1973), I felt that the time had come for me to decide my destiny and I took a one-way flight to Israel to make my life there, four years after my older sister Khana.
Thierry Vissol - A few years after your aliyah, you did your military training for four months and then served as a reservist for 20 years. Although you had a special status as a military draughtsman, you still had to take part in Operation "Peace in Galilee" in Lebanon in 1982. An operation made infamous by the massacre of Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Chatila by Christian militias, under the indifferent gaze of the Israeli army.
As a pacifist, you demonstrated in September 1982 with the Israeli left against this war and to demand the resignation of the Begin-Sharon government. A new pacifist demonstration in February 1983, in which your wife took part, led to violent clashes and death, provoked by far-right counter-demonstrators. The result is still a gaping hole in Israeli society.
- How did you experience these dramatic events and the consequences of this rift? What lessons did you learn from them?
Michel Kichka : My political awareness was a gradual process. In Belgium, I wasn't involved in politics, even though my youth movement was socialist. It was through contact with my wife Olivia, who made Aliyah from France at the end of 1973, that I began to adopt the humanitarian ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity and justice espoused by the traditional left. She joined the Peace Now movement in 1979, and I followed her out of conviction. The Israel to which we had emigrated belonged to the International Socialist Movement. The rise of Likud under Begin in 1977 and, some twenty years later, under Netanyahu, profoundly altered the country's political and social fabric. To the point where I no longer recognize myself in Netanyahu's Israel. So I got more and more involved, and even more so by becoming a press cartoonist in the mid-90s and using my tool to publicly express my opinions in Israel and around the world.
Thierry Vissol - In 1991, when Saddam Hussein threatened to bomb you with chemical weapons, you were forced to install an airtight room in your house and the government distributed gas masks. The Iraqi bombardments reached Tel Aviv but not Jerusalem. Then, missile attacks by Palestinian militias multiplied, as did terrorist attacks causing carnage in cafés, restaurants, hotels, discotheques, buses and streets.
- What do you think is the impact of these constant threats, the feeling of never being safe from the worst, and the forced militarization of society (from 24 months of military service for women to 48 months for officers, followed by periodic training for reservists for 20 years and often their participation in military operations)?
Michel Kichka - Since its creation in 1948, Israel has had to ensure its security and borders, which has made military service compulsory for all, as well as periods of reserve service, a state of affairs that has disappeared in most European countries. Dying for one's country still has meaning here, unfortunately. Serving one's country is part of our normality, but that doesn't make Israel a militaristic country. The fact that the country was born three years after the Holocaust is a key factor in understanding this. In World War II Europe, Jews were scattered, defenseless, persecuted, marginalized and ghettoized. However, we need to distinguish between two kinds of war: the unavoidable ones imposed on Israel, threatened with destruction (1948-1967-1973), and the avoidable ones undertaken by Israel (1982, 2006). The one currently being waged against Hamas belongs to the first category.
Thierry Vissol - Many veterans and reservists are against the war and in favor of peace with the Palestinians, or denounce IDF abuses. In your book "Falafel sauce piquante", speaking of your sons when they were in the military, you even write that they were "armed with solid human and moral values". And yet, when active or reserve soldiers are on duty, they are forced to obey, when many of their actions against Hezbollah, PLO or Hamas terrorists lead to the death of civilians, or when their protection of settlers in the West Bank also leads to the death, expropriation or displacement of Palestinian families.
- Does the all-too-frequent vision of the horrors of terrorist attacks and permanent threats to the country's survival lead to immunity against the horrors caused by their repression?
Michel Kichka - The Occupation of the Palestinian territories following the victory of the Six-Day War (1967) gave rise, in a then minority section of Israeli society for whom "chosen people" and "Promised Land" are a kind of contract with God, to the idea of the possible reconstruction of biblical Israel, commonly referred to as Greater Israel. From here began the drift of the Zionist project as clearly defined in the Independence Charter drawn up by David Ben-Gurion and the People's Assembly in 1948. The lack of mutual recognition between Israelis and Palestinians, the inability of the leaders to reach agreement and accept a compromise solution, rising Palestinian terrorist violence and Israel's heavy-handed repression have all contributed to a radicalization of positions on both sides. Bibi Netanyahu and his successive governments of the nationalist and now ultra-nationalist religious right have only made the situation worse. The country is not immune to violence and its consequences. We must not lose sight of the fact that, as in Italy and France, the left has all but disappeared from the political scene and the right reigns supreme. Populist slogans and radical speeches delivered by charismatic leaders who appear strong but are above all loudmouths, have always been more effective than fine pacifist ideals.
Thierry Vissol - The murder of Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995 by a far-right Jewish religious terrorist sounded the death knell for the Oslo Accords (1992) and the possibility of peace between Israel and Palestine. Netanyahu has even boasted that he helped sabotage the accords.
- Was this the beginning of the radicalization of both Israelis and Palestinians, and of the marginalization of peace advocates and secular left-wing parties of which you are a part - you define yourself as a rare surviving specimen of the "laicus sinistrus"?
Michel Kichka - Rabin's political assassination did indeed and unfortunately change the course of history. We're still suffering the consequences.
Thierry Vissol - In spite of everything, you have continued, with your pencils and your friendships, to work for peace, contributing actively with Plantu (the former cartoonist of Le Monde) to the international network of press cartoonists "Cartooning for Peace", and taking part in numerous conferences around the world in favor of peace with Arab and Palestinian cartoonists. In your book "Falafel Sauce piquante", you claim to have "Faith in man, woman, love, life and peace".
- Is it still possible to have this faith after the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7, 2023, "Black Shabbat", the most monstrous and traumatic Israel has ever seen, and the Netanyahu government's ferocious reaction against Hamas in the Gaza Strip?
Michel Kichka - The purpose of terror, any terror, is to terrorize. If we succumb to primal instinct, to our own visceral reaction of thirst for vengeance and abandonment of human ideals, we become like them, which would be a victory for terror and a failure of the values that built us.
Thierry Vissol - In your Blog-note, you explain how much the Black Shabbat massacres and the fate of the hostages torment you day and night, and how traumatic they are for the Israelis. And you recall the UN Security Council resolutions that define terrorist acts as "criminal acts, in particular those directed against civilians with intent to cause death or serious bodily injury or the taking of hostages, with the purpose of spreading terror among the population, a group of persons or individuals, to intimidate a population or to compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act", and that such acts "shall in no circumstances be justified on political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or similar grounds".
- However, you never mention international humanitarian law, which prohibits attacks on civilians and civilian objects, protects civil protection organizations and their personnel, and relief efforts on behalf of the civilian population... as well as journalists (to date, 47 of them have been killed in Gaza). Why do you do this?
Michel Kichka - I'm trying to explain to non-Israelis the reality of what we're living through here. A few days after the nameless massacre of October 7, the first images of the Israeli offensive against Hamas, which hides and launches rockets among the civilian population of Gaza against all international laws, hit the headlines and fueled anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic hatred, which for many are one and the same thing. Since the start of the war, more than 9,000 rockets have been fired at Israel, targeting only cities and the civilian population. If we hadn't developed the "iron dome" to intercept them, Tel Aviv would look like Gaza. I don't see the international media mentioning this. It's as if it's "normal" for Israel to live under the incessant threat of rockets from an Islamist terrorist organization. I try to fight against this blindness, this bad faith. Having said that, I feel great sorrow and pain for the civilian population of Gaza, who live under the dictatorship of Hamas and Jihad, of which they are the first victims. I hope that Tsahal will be able to neutralize Hamas, but I'm not sure. I hear the media talk about Gaza as an open-air prison, but they deliberately forget to mention that the jailers are Hamas.
Thierry Vissol - Hamas, which established a religious dictatorship in Gaza after being elected in 2007 (no further elections have been held since) uses civilians as human shields and has built a network of countless tunnels, weapons caches, etc. under civilian buildings and hospitals. With Operation "Iron Swords", the Netanyahu government intends to eradicate Hamas, which under these conditions can only lead to massacres of civilians, the destruction of hospitals and homes, and the displacement of populations who no longer have any refuge. Two questions:
- In your opinion, can Hamas massacres justify such reprisals?
- Wouldn't the consequences of Israeli reprisals, rather than eradicating Hamas, encourage the survivors, especially the young, to seek revenge, support and revive Hamas?
Michel Kichka - Hamas is an armed wing of Iran and its objectives are clear, as is the fact that the policy of Israeli governments towards it was wrong. Hamas is not a terrorist organization in the sense of resisting the occupier. Israel does not occupy Gaza. Hamas is a battle-ready army, armed to the teeth, sophisticated and refusing any Israeli or Jewish presence between the sea and the Jordan. Those who still have doubts about this must face up to the massacres of October 7. Tsahal did not engage in retaliation or revenge. It responded to this declaration of war with war. You know that I'm not a fan of my country's policies since Rabin's assassination, and that I'm a pacifist and a moderate. I think that the European countries that blame Israel for an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and sometimes even for genocide, and compare Tsahal to the Nazi army, don't know what they're talking about, they have an anti-Israeli bias, and this while they are confronted in their own countries with Islamist fundamentalism and its terror.
I make a clear distinction between Hamas and the Gazan civilian population. With the former, no dialogue is possible and no future is conceivable. With the latter, I remain optimistic.
Thierry Vissol - The humanitarian consequences of the Netanyahu government's extensive interpretation of the internationally-recognized "right to defend oneself", and those of the exactions of extremist settlers in the West Bank, have, on the one hand, overshadowed the horror of the massacres, the Hamas's "Flood of Al-Aqsa" massacres, on the other hand, have provoked reactions of hatred towards Jews, and support for the Palestinians (and often Hamas) in the Arab-Muslim world, as well as in African and South American countries and left-wing parties in Europe. The Russians openly support Hamas, financed and armed by their ally Iran.
- Doesn't this new division of the world between Western countries, the majority of which support Israel "unconditionally" (with a few nuances) and all the others, risk spreading the conflict and turning Palestine into a powder keg?
Michel Kichka - That's a question for a qualified political scientist, not a cartoonist! It's clear that Hamas is a pawn on the Hezbollah-Syria-Iran chessboard, where Russia and China, the world's two biggest dictatorships, are playing a purely and cynically economic game. Fortunately, Israel has the unconditional support of the USA, its great ally, and a number of European countries, starting with Germany. This division of the world is not new, and at least it has the advantage of being obvious today.
In a world where ideologies are dead, I prefer American domination to Russian and Chinese domination.
Thierry Vissol - What do you think of the support for Israel shown by far-right European parties such as the Front National in France, the Ligue e Fratelli d'Italia in Italy and their participation in demonstrations against anti-Semitism: an excuse to feed their Islamophobia?
Michel Kichka - The right-wingization of Israel under Bibi has given rise to these nauseating supports that I'd rather do without. Like the American evangelicals. They need no "excuse" to feed their Islamophobia.
Thierry Vissol - To conclude, what do you see as the way out of this conflict?
- Is reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians still possible?
- What about Israelis of Palestinian origin, who make up 20% of Israel's population but have no full citizenship?
- Will it be possible to prevent Jewish religious extremists from seeking to reconquer all the territories, and Muslim extremists from continuing their proselytizing and blowing the wind of revolt?
Michel Kichka - Without Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, there's no future in the region, either for them or for us. So I believe in it. After Bibi and Mahmud Abbas will come other leaders who may be able to write a new page.
When the messianic ultra-nationalist far right is put back in its place, i.e. on the bangs of Israeli politics and not at the heart of the government, these thorny and delicate issues will find a solution.
I don't have an answer for Muslim extremists. And it's a global problem. As for the Jewish religious extremists, they will fall along with Bibi in the coming months, and the extraordinary Israeli civil society that has been fighting for 11 months against the internal anti-democratic offensive of Bibi and his religious allies, will put the country back on track.
Michel Kichka (Israel)
Award-winning cartoonist, caricaturist and illustrator, born in Belgium, lives and works in Israel, where he is one of the country's leading press cartoonists. He has taught at the Jerusalem Academy of Fine Arts since 1982. His drawings have appeared in numerous European media, including Courrier International in France and Regards in Belgium. He works as a cartoonist and columnist for various Israeli (Channel 2, Channel 1, i24 News) and French (TV5 Monde) television channels. A former president of the Israeli Cartoonists' Association, he is scientific advisor to the Israeli Cartoon Museum. He is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of the French Republic.
In addition to his comic strips, he has published three graphic novels. The first is devoted to his relationship with his father, who survived the Nazi death camps (he died at the age of 94, at the end of April 2020): "Deuxième génération, ce que je n'ai pas dit à mon père" (Dargaud, 2012), translated into many other languages. The second is a fascinating history of Israel over the past 40 years through his own experience; "Falafel sauce piquante" (Dargaud, 2018) translated into many other languages. The last, "L'autre Jérusalem" (Dargaud 2018) is an interweaving of personal memories and analysis of Israeli society.