Wednesday, April 24, 2019

  • Wednesday, April 24, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
Hen Mazzig, one of the best pro-Israel voices out there, tweeted:
We can’t ignore Palestinian national identity and desire for a state of their own. If we are serious about solving  the conflict, we must address this issue. Ask yourself before commenting: Do you support the right of self-determination for all people? Or only for Israelis?
I believe that the framework for the question is flawed.

There is no comparison between the quality, history and purposes of Jewish and Palestinian peoplehood, and any answer to this question must include those facts.

Jewish peoplehood was forged thousands of years ago. It remained strong throughout history, through the destruction of the Jewish nation, through persecution and pogroms, Crusades and the Holocaust. It is based on shared history, shared customs and shared laws, even as the Jewish people themselves were scattered across the globe.

Modern Zionism notwithstanding, Jewish nationalism is just as old. Every day Jews pray to return to Zion, and throughout the millennia, many of them have.

Palestinian peoplehood was created in the 1950s by the members of the Arab League. Their decision to not allow Arab refugees from Palestine to become citizens and to leave them stateless and miserable is what created the Palestinian people.

These Arab leaders weren't shy about describing why they made that decision: to keep the refugees as a thorn in Israel's side. Their misery was a strategy to destroy Israel over the long term. Every Arab has the right to become a citizen of any Arab country - unless they are Palestinian. The UN and the West eventually capitulated to this truly evil plan and allowed Palestinian Arabs to be treated as stateless refugees until they "return" - to destroy Israel.

Palestinian nationalism is not organic. It is not a yearning for a state. If it was, they would have one by now. The entire purpose of Palestinian nationalism is ta response to, and a weapon to destroy, Jewish nationalism.

Jewish nationalism is indifferent to Palestinian nationalism. Palestinian nationalism wouldn't exist without Jewish nationalism. The people known as Palestinians today would happily be Jordanians or Egyptians or Syrians depending on which countries would have taken over Palestine had Israel lost the war in 1948.

I agree that Palestinians are a people now - because of the misery they have been forced to go through as stateless and second class residents of the Arab world.  But being a people is not a binary option of yes or no. The quality of Palestinian peoplehood and nationalism is far, far inferior to that of Jewish nationalism, and they cannot be treated even remotely equally, or else we are rewarding the cynicism and malevolent impulses that created that people to begin with.

In short, Palestinian nationalism can and must never be allowed to compromise Jewish nationalism in the slightest. Otherwise we are rewarding those who have been using the Palestinians as pawns for 70 years.

In real terms, this means that the Jewish claim on Hebron or Bethlehem and even Jericho and Shechem (Nablus) is morally and historically far superior to that of the recently created Palestinian people. (To be honest, any Jewish claim on parts of Jordan would also be morally and historically superior to that of Jordanians, although there is little international law support for that claim and there is no real desire to act on it.)

Israel has to be practical. It doesn't want a large hostile population under its control. For better or for worse, Areas A and B have been given up by Israel during the Oslo process and it is not realistic to reclaim those areas.

Within those areas, for the most part, Palestinians do have self determination, today. (Or they would if their leaders would set up an election.) This is not because they deserve it as a people. It is because Israel ceded its rights to those areas in the interests of peace.

Except for some isolated cases like Hebron and Bethlehem, those rights are not impeding very much on Jewish rights of self determination (although they do impede on other Jewish rights such as the right to worship at and visit holy spots.)

At the same time, Palestinians must have the right to become full citizens of the Arab nations that they were born in if they so choose. This basic human right is all but ignored nowadays. If the West wants to solve the Palestinian issue, that is a vital component of the solution. The silence from so-called "human rights" organizations on this issue tell you all you need to know about how little they truly care about Palestinians.

All peoples deserve the right to self determination, but that right does not extend to damage the rights of others whose peoplehood is far more deserving of that right. A balance must be found between the two, but when the rights are far from equal, it is immoral to claim that they are.

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