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Thursday, September 2, 2010

New peace talks

I wrote this last week before the talks were supposed to start. I took a little news vacation. I am thankful to have that luxury. Now, I'm curious to know what happened. I kind of don't want to know, because at this moment I'm hoping there's a breakthrough and that's a good feeling. I think I know the result, but I don't want to confirm it.

New peace talks are starting. No one's that optimistic. Why should they be? We know Netanyahu's position. He's been against the two state solution for quite some time, only recently forcing himself to utter the words. Everyone's talking about those hard choices and compromise. Let me translate.

Palestinians must:

*Recognize Israel as Jewish, meaning if they choose to live there, they cannot reasonably expect equal rights.

*Agree that their state will be a permanent military occupation. Israel will have control of borders, air, sea, trade, etc.

*Modify or limit their right of return while of course continuing to allow unlimited Jewish immigration to the area (their "right of return" after some 2000 years and unclear link to Israelites who were promised and banished from the land by God).

*Set a strict (short) time limit on compensation for injustices since 1948 because Jews of all people should know how long one can draw out such claims for such extensive injustices given recent Holocaust compensation. One would think, though, that given the world's great effort and desire to give back land, belongings, and whatever else to Holocaust victims and their families that Israel would try and return the favor to the people it tried to destroy.

These things are expected of Palestinians. I mean, imagine if we, instead of passing a Civil Rights Act, cemented racial inequality and/ or separation for all time and called it progress in race relations? Who would accept that? Should we?

Israel will have to do nothing. It should, but it won't. I happen to think that you should have to answer for a "democracy" if people of one religion are treated better than others and if the very idea of the identity of a people is anti-Semitic to you. Israel will not have to explain how it can reasonably be called a democracy when Jews have more rights with respect to where and when they can build, what land they buy, it isn't illegal to study their history and literature, etc. It will not have to justify Jews' right to be on the land and have a nation, unlike Palestinians. Palestinians are constantly denied this luxury and it is concluded they "aren't ready," they don't deserve it because of the suicide bombing, etc. No one will ask why it was ok for Jews to kill Palestinians and drive them out, but unacceptable for Palestinians to resist in anything but a non-violent fashion (and even this provokes lethal force from Israel). It will not have to explain why it was ok for Palestinians to pay the price of the Nazi Holocaust, then required that they thank these immigrant aggressors for not slaughtering them all and for giving them a slim chance for a sliver of their own land.

I do not agree with violence committed by terrorist groups (like the 4 settlers killed before the recent talks), but when settlers get killed, it's kind of the equivalent of when Palestinian militants get killed in action. Should they be mourned? Yes and no. Not that Americans are willing to see it that way any time soon. Palestinians killed are most likely guilty and don't deserve so much as a pause; Jews that get killed are absolutely innocent- haven't they suffered enough already- let's erect a monument and send money to Israel.

Settlers aren't innocent.
They are in general a more extreme group bent on claiming land for Israel and terrorizing Palestinian farmers. They are protected by the army as though they are on Israeli soil when they should be left to be cleaned out by Palestinian security forces, who don't have the personnel or facilities to protect it's own people let alone worry about land- due to the targeting of both by the Israeli army.

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