Sunday, February 24, 2008

These People Don't Get It

The Palestine/Kosovo issue seems to picking up steam in some circles, and here's an article by some guy named John V. Whitbeck calling for the Palestinians to declare a state. Now Whitbeck understands that only the states that recognized "Palestine" in 1988 will consider the declaration meaningful, so he calls on the Palestinian leadership to threaten to discard the two-state solution if the US and EU don't take them seriously:

Of course, to prevent the U.S. and the EU from treating such an initiative as a joke, there would have to be a significant and explicit consequence if they were to do so. The consequence would be the end of the "two-state" illusion. The Palestinian leadership would make clear that if the U.S. and the EU, having just recognized a second Albanian state on the sovereign territory of a UN member state, will not now recognize one Palestinian state on a tiny portion of the occupied Palestinian homeland, it will dissolve the "Palestinian Authority" (which, legally, should have ceased to exist in 1999, at the end of the five-year "interim period" under the Oslo Accords) and the Palestinian people will thereafter seek justice and freedom through democracy -- through the persistent, non-violent pursuit of full rights of citizenship in a single state in all of Israel/Palestine, free of any discrimination based on race and religion and with equal rights for all who live there, as in any true democracy.

Whitbeck's call for action leaves out a number of important details. First of all, who should declare a state? Abbas? Haniyeh? Meshaal? Who is the leadership of the Palestinian people right now?

Moreover, what good would a call for a democratic state in all of 1947 Palestine do? The Palestinians do not make up the majority of the people in that area, so there's no real apartheid claim at this time. Additionally, Israel withdrew from Gaza, so how can Gazans claim they have a right to vote in elections in Israel? At most they can demand Israel stop controlling their borders. Furthermore the Palestinians are in a very weak positions right now, so they can "kick over the table" all they want, but who is going to take them seriously?

The most significant problem with Whitbeck's "solution" is that which Palestinian leader is going to support a democratic state "free of any discrimination based on race and religion and with equal rights for all who live there?" Yeah I can see Hamas granting Jews and Christians complete freedom of worship or Fatah giving everyone freedom of speech. Maybe Palestine's security forces will give everyone Miranda rights, right?

I really wish I could live in Whitbeck's world, where apparently all that's stopping peace and freedom in the world is the destruction of Israel. Well, actually, I don't but you get what I mean.

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