The world expects millions of people in Gaza and the West Bank to happily and quietly live under occupation. While laying down arms is a positive step towards peace, it is not enough to end this conflict.
Written with Dr. Marc Gopin
In the past few weeks the pro-Israel pundits have been recycling an argument that runs as follows:
This argument is based on two false assumptions about Palestinians. The first statement is based on the false assumption that the only impediment to peace is Palestinian violence, and the second is based on the assumption that the Palestinians’ main goal is to eradicate the Jews. The argument also rests on the false premise that Israelis are completely peaceful. Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish answered this argument in one of his poems.
The accusation is that I hate Jews.
It’s not comfortable that they show me as a devil
and an enemy of Israel.
I am not a lover of Israel, of course.
I have no reason to be. But I don’t hate Jews
I will continue to humanize even the enemy
The first teacher who taught me Hebrew was a Jew.
The first love affair in my life was with a Jewish girl.
The first judge who sent me to prison was a Jewish woman.
So from the beginning, I didn’t see Jews as devils or angels,
but as human beings.
Many Palestinians share Mahmoud Darwish’s opinion. They don’t hate Jews. They live, work and maintain friendships with Jews and Israelis, and have had good and bad experiences. But the argument is a cheap scare tactic. It demonizes Palestinians and equates them with Nazis. This kind of fear is counterproductive, and fuels the conflict rather than offers constructive solutions.
We – Marc and Aziz – have been working together for six years. Marc is Jewish, Aziz is Palestinian. Neither of us believes for a moment that one of us is waiting to kill the other.
On a political level, this statement is false because Palestinians in the West Bank did, in fact, lay down their weapons. Moreover, they use their weapons to protect Israel.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has recognized Israel. President Mahmoud...