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If I were a Palestinian


lundi 2 جمادى الأولى 1430, par Akiva Eldar

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In a moment of candor, Ehud Barak once said : "If I were a Palestinian of the right age, I would join, at some point, one of the terrorist groups."

If I were a Palestinian, of any age, I would declare an all-out war on all terrorist groups and fulfill the demand of the Jews to recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. Furthermore, as a present on the birthday of the Jewish people, as it completes 61 years of existence, I would announce that I also respect its Declaration of Independence of May 14, 1948. I would do this on the condition that all the state’s principles, to the last one, apply to the territories controlled by the Jewish state - to every last foot of territory.

A sovereign state that demands another people recognize its national identity cannot get away with not presenting a map on which it defines its self-determination. The solution of two states for two peoples has little value so long as it is not accompanied by an agreement, even in principle, on the location of the border that will separate the two. Alas, the Jewish prime minister now demanding the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people has erased that border in one fell swoop. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed his Czech counterpart, Mirek Topolanek, that "if Israelis can’t build homes in the West Bank, then Palestinians shouldn’t be allowed to either." According to the principle of reciprocity, which has always been dear to Netanyahu, all Palestinians, like all Jews, are welcome to build their homes from now on anywhere between the sea and the Jordan River.

This principle requires an update of the term "state lands," which the Israeli occupation dictionary has translated into "lands of the State of Israel" and the political lexicon has transformed into "Jewish settlements." Were I a Palestinian, I would therefore demand that the tenders for land allotments in the entire West Bank and East Jerusalem also be open to me. I would thank Netanyahu for his plan for "economic peace," but on that basis would demand from the government of the Jewish people the same development budgets and water allotments it grants its Jewish citizens. And, of course, I would expect it would restore without delay my private land that has become the location of illegal outposts.

If I were a Palestinian, I would wholeheartedly sign on to the article in the Declaration of Independence in which the state of the Jews promises to cooperate with the institutions and the representatives of the United Nations to fulfill the General Assembly’s decision of November 29, 1947. That is the decision that declared Jerusalem, Bethlehem and its environs would be neutral and would be supervised by the UN. The area would be ruled by a council of local Jerusalemites and a foreign governor who would be appointed by the UN.

Were I a Palestinian, I would adopt the call of the Israeli Declaration of Independence to "the Arab people, residents of the State of Israel, to keep the peace and take part in building the country on the basis of full and equal citizenship and on the basis of appropriate representation in all its institutions, the temporary and permanent ones."

The Declaration of Independence says the State of Israel will strive to develop the country for the benefit of "all its residents" and will be based on principles of "liberty, justice and peace." It also promises equal social and political rights for all its citizens, without regard to religion, race or gender. This means that to enjoy equal rights, a Palestinian must be a citizen of the state of the Jewish people. It is well-known that Palestinians living beyond the Green Line, and of course the refugees in the diaspora, do not benefit from these rights. The Palestine Liberation Organization, in its declaration of independence in November 1988, declared it would accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Were I a Palestinian, I would give up the "right of return" and demand equality of rights in the state of the Jewish people.

If I were a Palestinian, I would dismantle the fiction called the "Palestinian Authority," ending the show called "the peace process" and sending away the "contributing nations." Instead of struggling for my right to self-determination, I would learn Hebrew and translate into Arabic the slogan, "No loyalty, no citizenship." When Israel is 100 years old, if not a lot sooner, Arabic will be the dominant language in the state of the Jewish people. Netanyahu is lucky that Palestinians, as well as too many Israelis, speak the language of Ehud Barak.

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