Sunday, July 22, 2007

PALESTINIANS: 10 ideas that would help their people.

[If the Palestinian people could agree on anything other than the self-delusional idea that they must destroy Israel so that then they would be able to claim their previous homes or land,- they would have been well on the way to be happily resettled all over the other Arab countries long ago. Unfortunately for them, they chose the hard road to questionable, eventual self-determination, with many generations going through traumas, in-fighting, poverty, misery, as pawns in others' Islamic ambitions and wars, leading to ever more loss of self-respect. The idealised vision and advice offered below is for "normal" people who care for themselves and their families' lives, now and in the future. It is not suitable for a people full of hate and evil visions of death and destruction to lead them to their idea of "salvation",- one obviously formulated in hell! MM]

By David Matas

Winnipeg Free Press, July 16th, 2007

How can we help the Palestinians stop killing each other? Some people have suggested intervention of a UN force; others have proposed an end to suspension of aid; still others have promoted separation of the West Bank and Gaza into two separate entities.

Yet the battle between Fatah and Hamas is not just a battle for control of the security apparatus in Gaza; it is primarily ideological, about shades of anti-Zionism. For those outside and far away, advocating to the Palestinians the end to their own murderous ideological debate is the easiest and simplest contribution we can make.

Here are 10 positions I suggest anyone concerned about the plight of the Palestinians should advocate that all Palestinians embrace.

1. Stop referring to the Israel presence in the West Bank and Gaza and Israel proper as foreign or alien occupation. Jordan and Egypt, when they controlled the West Bank and Gaza, were never described as foreign occupiers. The Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza has no different legal status than the old Jordanian and Egyptian presence did.

2. Abandon calls for the evacuation of the settlers from the West Bank. There is nothing wrong with Jews living in the neighbourhood anywhere else in the world. Nor should it be an issue in the West Bank. It makes no more sense to evict Jews from the West Bank than to evict Arabs from Israel.

3. Reject the claimed Palestinian right of return. There is no such right. Canadians do not have a right to move to the countries with sovereignty over the territories in which their ancestors once lived, not an absolute right nor a conditional right dependent on the circumstances of departure. Neither do the Palestinians.

4. Accept the wisdom of the Israeli security fence. The fence has led to a dramatic downturn in suicide bombings in Israel. The fence makes sense as long as the anti-Zionist terrorist threat persists.

5. Stop referring to Israel's responses to terrorist attacks as disproportionate. There is no standard of disproportionality in the Geneva Conventions on the Laws of War. The closest, in a protocol Israel has not signed, is the requirement that responses not be "excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated," a very different standard. A phony standard of disproportionality leads armchair critics to second-guess every Israeli effort of self- defence.

6. Refrain from slurring Israel as an apartheid state. There is no resemblance whatsoever between Israeli practices and true apartheid -- the divesting of citizenship, allocation of nationality and forceful relocation of a racial group to state-created homelands. Israel has not since its inception taken away vested Israeli citizenship from even one Palestinian for the sole reason that the person is ethnic Palestinian, let alone created designated territories to which it has forcibly removed its own citizens who are ethnic Palestinian.

7. Acknowledge the anti-Israel boycott for what it is -- a form of anti-Semitism. This boycott is the modern equivalent of the old Nazi boycotts of stores with Jewish owners.

8. Do not pretend that there is only one refugee population created in 1948 by the UN decision to divide British Mandate Palestine into an Arab and Jewish state. Accept the reality that the Jewish refugee population from Arab states was even larger than the Palestinian refugee population from Israel. There has been a difference in willingness of all states, including Canada, to provide a durable solution outside of the territory of flight to the two different refugee populations. It is that difference that should end.

9. Acknowledge that the Jewish people have a right to self-determination and that the existence of the State of Israel is the expression of that right. Accept that destruction of the State of Israel would be a violation of the rights of the Jewish people worldwide.

10. Refrain from endorsing what is euphemistically called the "one-state solution," the incorporation of the present State of Israel into a larger Arab majority state. Embrace the two-state solution -- a predominantly Arab state and a predominantly Jewish state living side by side in peace with each other.

The first victims of promotion of hatred are the promoters themselves. Anti-Zionism has led Palestinians into a frenzy of hatred against the Jewish state, a frenzy which has turned inward. The Palestinians are suicidal, killing themselves and rejecting the possibility of their own state in a futile dispute about whether and how to destroy the Jewish state. If all Palestinians accepted all these 10 propositions, the fighting among them would cease overnight.

Many people who claim to be friends of the Palestinians reject one or many of these 10 propositions. Yet a true friend of a would-be suicider does not shout "jump." A true friend of a would-be suicider tries to lead the unfortunate away from the suicidal ideation. That is what those who truly want to help the Palestinians should now be doing.

David Matas is senior honorary counsel to B'nai Brith Canada. He is the author of Aftershock: Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism, published by Dundurn Press.

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