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A plague on both your houses: Israel and Palestine

2015-12-28

Since President Obama’s speech to/about the Middle East it has become more apparent than ever that both the Palestinians and the Israelis are insincere about negotiating their differences.

Netanyahu has publicly rejected any moves that might negotiate away some of the land won in the 1973 war, pretending that Obama’s offer represents a return all the way to the borders that existed from 1949 to 1967 (an admittedly indefensible dumbbell-shaped territory).  Abbas continues to ignore Israel’s need for existential security by winking at Hamas while it continues its call for the obliteration of Israel.

On the Palestinian side, Hamas still refuses to recognize the “right of Israel to exist” and produces propaganda picturing the Israelis as inhuman devils.  The propaganda incites Arabs to senseless violence against Jewish people.  On the Israeli side, the government continues to expand Jewish settlements within areas that are nominally Palestinian, and oppresses its Arab citizens as well as the people under occupation.  The behavior of the Israeli government merely confirms Arab feelings that they are considered less than human.

Since Arafat walked away from negotiations under Clinton’s auspices, neither side has taken honest steps to reduce tensions.  More than ten years have passed since any real negotiation has taken place.  It is clear that the Israeli strategy has been to temporize while settling more and more Zionists on previously Palestinian lands.  The Palestinian strategy has been one of mindless, frequently violent opposition to all things Israeli combined with attempts to achieve nominal statehood by joining the United Nations.

There seems to be no leverage available to force either side to negotiate.  When will the belligerents relent?  The cost in human lives and suffering has been enormous on both sides, and it is inexcusable to allow the current situation to continue.  We should condemn the positions of both sides in the strongest terms.  We should demand the immediate and permanent suspension of Israeli settlement expansion and the public acknowledgement by all Palestinian organizations of Israel’s right to exist within mutually agreed secure borders.  Propagandizing on both sides must stop; in particular,  the absurd and hateful propaganda put out by Palestinian organizations and Arab outlets is obscene and unacceptable.   Only then can honest negotiations proceed.

If reasonable demands are ignored, then it is time for economic pressure.  Surely the threat of suspension of foreign aid to Israel if it refuses to desist from expansionism, combined with the offer of aid to Palestinians in return for pledges of nonviolence must have some effect.  If there is no response to economic pressure, then at least we will no longer be in the hypocritical position of supporting an oppressive Israeli regime and failing to support nonviolent Palestinian aspirations to universal human rights.

This post was first drafted May 22, 2011…

Reviewed December 22, 2015…

I have reviewed this post repeatedly and have chickened out every time.  It is now time to publish it, regardless of the cost.   Remember, I am not Jewish nor Arab, nor am I a typical know-nothing American.  I love both Israelis and Palestinians, but I feel their governments are letting their people down.  December 28, 2015 2:09 PM

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