Guardian delusions over the Palestinians can't change the hard facts

The tragedy of the Palestinian people is a tragedy of their own making. Guardian columnists need to learn the basic facts.

Robin Shepherd, Owner / Publisher
On 12 May 2011 11:39

 It takes a lot these days to raise hackles among decent and reasonable people at anything written in the Guardian about the State of Israel.

This is a paper, after all, that back in January slated the Palestinian leadership for being “weak” and “craven” after it was revealed they had accepted – as any sane and normal person would – that practically all the so called “settlements” in east Jerusalem would become part of Israel under any real-world peace agreement.

So after you’ve effectively described even the most obvious concessions in meaningful negotiations as the actions of surrender monkeys, the sheer fanaticism of your antipathy to the Jewish state is established once and for all.

Thursday’s piece on the paper’s flagship Comment is free website by the Belgian-Egyptian writer Khaled Diab plumbs no such depths of depravity. It’s just an exercise in pathological self-delusion.

The central point is that with all the revolutions taking place across the Middle East it’s surely time for the Palestinians to rise up in a peaceful uprising to bring unity and democracy to Palestinian society in order to end the occupation. Palestinian youth would join hands with Israeli peaceniks and the conflict would finally be resolved.

“Being the dreamer that I am,” says Diab, “I cannot shake the vision in my head of the joint Israeli-Palestinian activism infecting the masses, with large-scale joint action as the most effective way to end the occupation and bring about peace”.

Diab calls himself a “dreamer” so I suppose he at least has a defence for his ideas in that he came up with them when he was asleep. Those of us who try to generate our thinking in the cold light of day can tell him the following:

1. The Palestinians don’t need a revolution to get a state. They just need to accept Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and put aside dreams – that word again – of annihilating it. It’s really that simple. The rest is detail.

2. A Palestinian state has been on offer from day one of the conflict. The Jewish/Israeli side accepted a Palestinian state under UN Resolution 181 – the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, which was adopted in November 1947. The Arab/Palestinian side rejected it and opted for war and violence. That’s why there’s a conflict.   

3. Up until the Six Day War in 1967 the so called “occupied territories” were ruled by Jordan and Egypt. “Occupation” took place after the Arab armies again went to war with the aim of destroying Israel.

4. Since 1967, Israel has tried numerous times to give the Palestinians statehood, only to be rejected, as in 2000 and 2001, by the Palestinian leadership.

5. The Palestinian leadership inculcates hatred of Israel on a daily basis in schools, in the mosques and on television. That is why the large majority of Palestinians oppose a two state solution.

6. A comprehensive poll by the Israel Project in November 2010 showed 60 percent of Palestinians supporting the proposition that: “The real goal should be to start with two states but then move to it all being one Palestinian state”. 66 percent supported the proposition that: “Over time Palestinians must work to get back all the land for a Palestinian state”. And 71 percent said Yasser Arafat was right to reject Bill Clinton’s peace proposals in 2000 and 2001.

Amid all the complexities in this conflict, these are the hard facts that simply won’t go away. And the hardest fact to internalise, and the one that encapsulates all of the above, is that the tragedy of the Palestinians is a tragedy of their own making.

Khaled Diab and his friends at the Guardian can “dream” and “hope” all they like. But until the Palestinians put aside their delusions and see the world for what it is, their national tragedy is destined to continue.  

Robin Shepherd is owner/publisher of the Commentator. His book, A State Beyond the Pale: Europe's Problem with Israel, is out in paperback.

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