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Palestinians: 'From The River To The Sea'

At Commentary magazine's blog, Evelyn Gordon clarifies succinctly 'What the Palestinians Really Want' by comparing their status to the situation Jews found themselves in at Israel's founding on the heels of the Holocaust. We pick up after her apt description of the Jewish condition circa 1947.

The Palestinians, according to their own universally accepted narrative, are in a similar situation today. For 42 years, according to this narrative, millions of them have lived under brutal occupation. For 61 years, millions more have lived in squalid refugee camps, with no hope and no future. Only statehood can end these evils.

Under these circumstances, one would expect Palestinian leaders to jump at any offered state, however flawed, that would end the occupation and enable them to rehabilitate their refugees. Instead, they have repeatedly rejected statehood offers.

Moreover, they did not merely reject ridiculously inadequate offers like the one the Jews nevertheless accepted in 1947. They rejected offers equivalent to 95 and even 100 percent (the Clinton and Olmert plans, respectively) of the territory they ostensibly want, including most of east Jerusalem and even the Temple Mount. In short, they rejected everything they could possibly get under any formula leading to a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish one.

And that is the problem -- as becomes clear upon examining why the Palestinians repeatedly rejected such offers. First, Palestinians refused to abandon their demand that the refugees be resettled not in the Palestinian state, but in the Jewish one -- thereby effectively eradicating the latter. They also refused to acknowledge Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. They even refused to acknowledge any historical Jewish connection to this land, and especially to the Temple Mount -- though they would have controlled the Mount in practice.

In short, what the Palestinians really want is not a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish one; if they did, they could have one at any time. What they want is a Palestinian state instead of the Jewish one. And until that changes, Israeli-Palestinian peace will remain a mirage.

And there you have it. In five short paragraphs.

(With thanks to our good friends at Bookworm Room for the link.)

1 Comment

When you're right, you're right. I'm not justifying the way that Israelis treat Palestinians, but I might feel similarly after 60 years of constant conflict and death. The only problem is that there is still no solution to how to make this whole thing work with Israel and the Palestinians without more violence.

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