Monday, November 26, 2012

Reality trumps rhetoric

Another decent piece by Noam Sheizaf. He concudes:


The arguments about the meaning and importance of the Hamas charter are all but identical to the decade-long debate over the PLO charter. How much effort and time was put into forcing Arafat to change it, and how little did it matter when negotiations collapsed in Camp David and violence returned. The same goes for today: Given the right pressure, a certain Palestinian leadership could be made to promise Israel anything. Yet none of it would matter if you don’t address the fundamentals of the conflict: The occupation, the refugees, the holy sites, the settlements, the access to land and to water. The leaders would change their minds and if they don’t new leaders (“more extreme”) will come. Reality will prevail over rhetoric.

The fact that the West – even many well-intentioned liberals – continues to put Palestinians through litmus tests before acknowledging their basic human rights is further evidence of how biased the political conversation is. Rights shouldn’t be conditioned – that’s why they are called “rights” – and if anything, it’s Israelis who should explain why they deny them from millions of people, not the other way around. Instead, again and again we hear demands regarding things Arabs say, or write, or think, or feel. Taken together, they all feel too much like an excuse to avoid treating the Palestinians like equal human beings.


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