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The AIPAC protests from a Palestinian perspective

My mother’s generation might have internalized the notion that AIPAC was all-powerful. But if the protests this week were a sign of anything, it is that America’s Israel lobby is not omnipotent.

Watching the scenes from this week’s AIPAC protests, I was reminded of another, more amiable stand-off — this one with my Palestinian mother. I have tended to cite her more often since the last American election, not least because she is now on Facebook and has developed a habit of sending me short chat lines, like scribbled notes, reminding me to “please tell your children about the Lap Top” (a reference to the latest American travel restrictions) and other assignments I am not to ignore.

“Hands on” could not begin to describe this Palestinian woman’s parenting style, though that quality seems more endearing to me now than it did in my youth. When I was 18 and on my way back to college, she slipped away from the usual family goodbyes to secretly line my suitcase with bagged reminders of home — semolina date cookies, dried figs, and just enough stalks of tea-grade sage to offset the intestinal indignities of both.

But then, she found the book.

Anticipating my mother’s snooping, I had placed my copy of Paul Findley’s “They Dare to Speak Out,” face down, between stacks of neatly folded shirts, hoping that, if she found it, she might at least miss its incendiary subtitle: “People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby.”

She didn’t. And just as sure as she read the cover of the 1985 bestseller — about “the pervasive influence of the American-Israeli [sic] Public Affairs Committee on American politics” — my mother from Bethlehem switched from stealthy to seething, losing her temper as only a Palestinian mother can.

“Samer!” she called out to me from my bedroom.

What is this book?”

She wasn’t looking for a summation, of course. I was about to get a dressing down — about the dangers of wearing your politics on your sleeve, about never underestimating the gaze under which we Palestinians are held, and above all, about the futility of questioning the only thing more powerful than America: what she called “The Jewish Lobby.”

That was then. Today, a quarter-century later, I sent my mother a video of young Jewish-American activists disrupting — peacefully, boldly, beautifully — the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC. And this time,...

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With U.S. budget cuts looming, could aid to Israel be next?

Israel’s ‘security assistance’ comes from the same pot of money as economic aid. With the White House promising cuts to that part of the federal budget, could we see a surprise reduction in Israel’s share?

Recent White House statements hint at a massive increase in U.S. military spending and a corresponding cut in the country’s foreign aid, a prospect that has prompted more than 120 top generals, among them former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus, to sign a letter urging members of Congress against the move.

At issue is the so-called 150 Account, the line item in the federal budget tied to “international affairs” — a $50 billion appropriation covering everything from consular services to disaster relief to funding for international organizations like UNICEF. (You can find the entire 2017 budget request here.)

Seldom mentioned in the debate over foreign assistance, however, is the last item in the 150 Account, “Foreign Military Financing,” which alone represents more than 10 percent of the account’s total. And of that, more than half — $3.1 billion — is set aside for Israel.

With all the talk of significant cuts to the 150 Account, some are wondering whether a proportional reduction in U.S. aid to Israel is also in the offing. Despite vows by lawmakers that dramatic cuts to the foreign assistance budget would be “dead on arrival,” The Jerusalem Post, in a December report, cited a senior Israeli military officer who expressed concern over whether the new U.S. administration could backtrack on earlier commitments.

The answer might come down to a legal distinction.

U.S. commitments to Israel, according to the budget’s notes, were set “in accordance with” a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2007, at the tail end of then-President George W. Bush’s second term. A similar 10-year agreement, inked last September by the outgoing administration of Barack Obama, is to take effect in 2018 and would boost the annual aid amount to $3.8 billion.

In both cases, the “understandings” do not rise to the level of law, and since the combined amount pledged by each prior president is to be allocated annually, the White House must “request” Israel’s allotment each year as part of the 150 Account (for more background on recent U.S. aid to Israel, see this Obama White House factsheet).

In other words, the current White House could conceivably propose cuts to that allotment.

The budget request...

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For Gaza's working women, glass ceilings aren't the only problem

Gaza’s working women earn 25 percent more, on average, than their male counterparts, according to a new report. Why are they still trapped under a ‘concrete’ ceiling?

When 53-year-old Clara Zetkin put forth the idea for an International Women’s Day, she was one of 100 or so delegates at the second International Conference of Working Women, its participating “unions, socialist parties, [and] working women’s clubs” gathered in Copenhagen, in the late summer of 1910, to call for universal suffrage and health insurance—including maternity leave for working mothers.

If their platform seemed radical for the time, it was no more so than Zetkin’s prior writings, many of which have been catalogued by the appropriately named Marxist Internet Archive. In these, the German socialist extols the “growing class struggle” from Egypt to India while condemning “the miseries and injustices capitalist exploitation and political rightlessness bestow on the working-class women” of these countries.

Given its origins, it’s not difficult to see how the founding themes of International Women’s Day would resonate with the working women of Gaza, their lives made “rightless” by what the Israeli advocacy organization Gisha, in a report published today, calls a “concrete ceiling.”

The report, according to a statement released by Gisha spokesperson Shai Grunberg, “focuses on women who managed to break through the glass ceiling only to be met by the concrete ceiling of the Israeli-imposed closure.” To illustrate the point, the authors profile six such women, each of whom works in “professional fields previously considered predominantly ‘masculine,’ such as banking, investment and management.”

Read the full report: The Concrete Ceiling

That they have broken through “the glass ceiling” so often restricting those professions to men is as much a testament to their perseverance and skill as it is a symptom of the Israeli closure, according to Gisha, which dubs itself the “legal center for freedom of movement.”

That’s because Israel’s policies, which severely restrict the movement of people and goods to and from the West Bank, have all but obliterated Gaza’s fishing and agriculture sectors, both of which have lost access to traditional Palestinian markets in the neighboring territory.

And with Gaza’s mostly male laborers unable to access work in Israel or the West Bank, they have turned to what’s left of these sectors, squeezing out the majority of women who used to work...

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Two fathers, Palestinian and Jewish, find hope in solidarity

When I first got the news that he had won, the first people I checked on were my Muslim mother and my son.

But then I wrote my friend, Brad Brooks-Rubin.

The connection wasn’t coincidental. When my son was born, Brad was the first to visit him. A year later, I bought a life-sized playhouse and leaned it against the plastic siding of our rented home, just outside of Washington, DC. When my son was skeptical about his new toy, Brad crawled in first, wedged his head through the tiny window, and looked my toddler dead in the eye.

“Listen, kid,” he said. “You’re Palestinian, I’m Jewish—do you understand how this looks?”

It was the kind of humor—about land appropriation, no less—that only a Palestinian and a Jew could get.

Over the course of our friendship, Brad and I have laughed a lot. But when I got in touch with him after the election, neither of us was in any mood to joke. I told him I was worried about my son. He told me he’d been setting his house alarm—because it helps his own son to sleep.

We are two fathers now, anxious about the future. And for the first time since I’ve known him, neither of us knows quite what to do about it.

It’s a disquieting feeling, perhaps especially for us. Even when we lost touch, for years at a time, Brad and I stayed connected by an extraordinary set of shared experiences. We travelled the West Bank together. We probed, through conversation and work, depths of anger and guilt. We tried to divvy the burdens of responsibility.

And as Americans, we pried protest from privilege, engaging the least pliable among us. We taught an evening class on “the conflict” at the DC Jewish Community Center. We attended service at a Conservative synagogue (where Brad wore his “End the Occupation” t-shirt).

And we shared a meal with my Palestinian mother. It was, as I recall, a hearty spread of stuffed zucchini and rolled vine leaves, recipes she brought with her from her native Bethlehem. She enjoyed the company, and when Brad left, my mother looked me dead in the eye and told me my friend was “a nice boy.”

And that she knew he was Jewish.

I’d like to think I didn’t need her permission. But the truth is, nothing about my upbringing made it easy to...

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Palestinians deserve more than Mahmoud Abbas

At the Fatah Congress this week, Abbas’s followers seem to have affirmed a choice Oslo’s signatories made more than two decades ago: that livelihoods matter more than liberation. Palestinians deserve an alternative to this status quo.

In Hisham Sharabi’s 1988 book, Neopatriarchy, the late Palestinian intellectual posits “a theory of distorted change in the Arab world,” one in which “the paternal will is the absolute will.” When it comes to politics, this paternalism is easy to miss, Sharabi argued, because it uses “external trappings,” like elections, to give the illusion of consensus—all while relying on familiar patterns of “ritual and coercion.”

Such is the impression left so far by this week’s Fatah Congress. The first in seven years, the gathering in Ramallah was billed as an affirmation of unity—both within the party and among Palestinians at large—as well as an opportunity to re-elect Mahmoud Abbas, who has held the party reins since Yasser Arafat’s passing in 2004.

On their first day in plenary, the “relatively younger” delegates unanimously renewed the 81-year-old’s mandate. But the vote itself has already raised more questions than answers about what that mandate actually entails. Part of the problem, to be sure, is that Abbas’s main Fatah rival, Mohammad Dahlan, was absent from the proceedings. But beyond party lines, there are more urgent reasons to doubt the outcome.

First, there is Trump. His election prompted Israeli officials to almost immediately disavow the two-state solution, upon which Abbas’s authority is predicated. Whether the U.S.-brokered Oslo agreement, which created the Palestinian Authority, will survive a Trump administration remains to be seen, but at the very least, the incoming U.S. president has signaled his willingness to let Israel further expand illegal settlements in the West Bank, including Jerusalem—a policy that has arguably done more to undermine Oslo than any other.

And even as the American president-elect sits in the wings, the Israeli prime minister has been stoking his own brand of Trump-like Islamophobia by supporting the so-called “muezzin bill,” which is widely seen as a move to ban the Muslim call to prayer in Israel. The proposed legislation, which technically “would ban religious institutions from using loudspeakers,” would presumably apply to Jerusalem, including its eastern half, where Abbas continues to insist on a Palestinian capital.

His newly re-conferred title will not get him there, though, and no one at the...

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What Trump's new UN envoy could mean for Israel-Palestine

Whatever disruptions are afoot in the balance of international power will eventually be reflected at the United Nations. And when that happens, even a staunch supporter of Israel like Nikki Haley may have to yield to a new order.

When she signed into law the first state legislation penalizing companies that boycott “based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin,” South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was lauded by the bill’s author, State Representative Alan Clemmons, who made clear its intent.

Citing “tactics employed by the Nazis,” Clemmons called the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement a prime example of “hatred and bigotry” for “its effort to harm our great ally, Israel.”

Haley’s stance on the issue may be the closest thing to foreign policy experience this newly named U.S. ambassador to the United Nations can claim. But as news of her selection made the media rounds, most reports zeroed in on her history of public spats with the incoming U.S. president, who announced Haley’s selection today.

Several outlets recalled a March tweet in which Trump scolded the governor for publicly disavowing his views, including on immigration. “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!” Trump wrote.

And The Jerusalem Post reminded readers that Haley, who signed a 2015 bill removing the Confederate flag from her state’s capitol building, excoriated the then-candidate for “not speaking out more forcefully against white supremacists,” according to the paper.

In the lead up to the Confederate flag legislation, Haley guided her state through the aftermath of a mass shooting by a self-professed white supremacist, who killed nine people at a predominantly African-American church in Charleston.

That experience, combined with her Indian roots — her parents are both immigrants from the subcontinent — presumably pit the incoming ambassador against some of Trump’s most ardent supporters, including attendees at a so-called “alt-right” gathering in Washington, DC last Saturday. At the event, avowed white supremacist Richard Spencer evoked Third Reich terminology in celebrating Trump’s victory, prompting his audience to cheer him on with Nazi salutes.

How a child of South Asian immigrants, whose signature act as Governor was to counter the BDS movement — on grounds that it resembled “Nazi” tactics — will fare in a Trump administration remains to be seen. But if Trump’s other appointments to date are any indication, Haley’s...

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Pro-Israel and racist? Palestinians aren’t surprised in the slightest

Though it may have sparked debate in the Jewish-American community, the idea that Israel can be a cause célèbre for white nationalists is hardly news to Palestinians, whose very existence vies with a state steeped in European, colonial racism.

Since his appointment last week as chief White House strategist, sensationalist media maven Steve Bannon—whose editorial sensibilities have spawned such haute headlines as “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy”—has become something of a lightning rod in the mainstream Jewish-American community.

The Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt said his group opposed Bannon on grounds that the alt-right hero is “so hostile to core American values” while Greenblatt’s friend, “America’s rabbi” Shmuley Boteach, defended Bannon by citing the latter’s Jewish employees, who are ever so grateful that their boss lets them “keep the Sabbath.”

At issue is whether Bannon’s white supremacist bone fides point to an alarming strain of anti-Semitism at the highest levels of U.S. government. Given his pedigree, that should be an easy question to answer. But what has people scratching their heads is how Bannon and his former Jewish boss, the late Andrew Breitbart, could have embraced the supremacists among them while, at the same time, singing the praises of “the Jewish state.”

As a Palestinian, I don’t understand the question. Though it may have sparked debate in the Jewish-American community, the idea that Israel can be a cause célèbre for white nationalists is hardly news to millions of Palestinians, whose very existence vies with a state steeped in its founding zeitgeist—European, colonial, and yes, racist.

You don’t need Edward Said to guide you through it. Just spend a single day among the “natives.”

Whether they are refugees who hail from one of the more than 500 villages destroyed by Israel’s founders; whether they are second-class citizens who live in Israeli cities renamed to cover their Arab roots; whether they contend with a network of settler-only roads on their way to work, school, or hospital; Palestinians are no sooner vexed by the state’s whiteness than are Ethiopian Israelis. That they, too, rail against the state’s brutality speaks to a systemic bias, one that—as in Trump’s America—should hardly be surprising.

Ask anyone who has ventured beyond the menacing Hebrew signs warning against entry to the West Bank, as if the latter were some Conradian hinterland—not an identical landscape whose occupiers invade and sequester at will. Ask anyone...

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Al Jazeera video captures horror at Aleppo children's hospital

The attack, scenes of which have been airing all day across the Arab world, comes after a week of relentless bombardment by the Assad regime, during which Aleppo’s battered medical facilities have been forced out of service or underground.

In a devastating video broadcast by Al Jazeera Saturday, two nurses in an Aleppo children’s hospital break down in tears as they rescue emaciated newborns from a neonatal intensive care unit. Moments earlier, the room had filled with dust from a massive explosion, also heard on camera.

The attack, scenes of which have been airing all day across the Arab world, comes after a week of relentless bombardment by the Assad regime, during which Aleppo’s battered medical facilities have been forced out of service or underground, with civilians reportedly too afraid to seek treatment.

The video leaves no doubt why. In it, patients and their families are seen stumbling through dark halls, seeking shelter in case of another attack. The reporter, Amro Halabi, whose frontline reports have made him a household name in the Arab world, can be heard trailing behind, asking between hurried breaths if the people around him are safe.

Warning: Graphic footage.

Toward the end of the footage, Halabi returns to his original story, about a family admitted to the hospital for inhaling “poisonous chlorine gas,” presumably dropped by the regime.

Al Jazeera cites World Health Organization statistics that show 126 attacks on health facilities during Syria’s five-year war.

Aleppo, home to some 2.3 million people, is roughly half the size of the Gaza Strip. During Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza, dubbed Operation Protective Edge, hundreds of Palestinian families sought shelter in the enclave’s largest hospital.

Israel did not attack the facility, though it did target another hospital in the eastern Gaza Strip.

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The ‘ultimate deal’: Trump’s coming obsession with Palestine

Many fear that a Trump presidency will, by default, favor Netanyahu and his policies. But if Trump’s past statements on Israel are precedent, what will matter more is whether the ‘dealmaker’ gets to broker the ultimate deal.

We’re not even a week in, and the panic is palpable. “Trump Election Already Bad News for Palestinians,” reads one headline. Settlement construction will surely spike. “The era of the Palestinian state is over.”

But for even the most casual observer of the Middle East, these pronouncements are nothing new. And despite the official statements from Jerusalem and Ramallah, the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority know it, too: when it comes to the Middle East’s oldest conflict, Donald Trump, for all his swagger, can do little more than tiptoe around the status quo.

His promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem? His advisors have already begun to walk that one back. And even if they didn’t, Palestinians know that the move would do little to change the status quo on the ground in Jerusalem. The Qalandiya checkpoint, with its gun towers and retina scans, would still be there. And East Jerusalem, home to some half a million Palestinians who once generated some 40 percent of the Palestinian economy, would still be walled off from the West Bank.

OK, you say. So Trump isn’t as bold as he thinks, and this conflict has made humbler men of every president since Truman. But couldn’t Trump further embolden the Israeli Right, giving more cover to the Netanyahu government’s expansionist policies?

Sure. But does Netanyahu really need Trump to do that? And anyway, in an era of inexplicable outcomes, why waste our time looking for answers to these questions? Shouldn’t we, like everybody else in the battered mainstream, be asking new questions?

Here’s one: Who could make someone like Chuck Schumer, one of the most vocal backers of Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza, suddenly link arms with Keith Ellison, one of that attack’s chief critics?

Donald Trump. That’s who.

Uncommon alliances

On Thursday morning, the Washington Post reported that Schumer, a Democrat from New York and the rank and file’s top pick to lead his party in the Senate, had backed the representative from Minnesota to head the Democratic National Committee.

Never mind that Schumer’s support came on the heels of a similar endorsement by Bernie...

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An Arab-American’s final thoughts before the election

The first time I got called a sandnigger I was one semester into an English Lit. degree at the University of Tennessee, where football — the kind that involves hands — was a game more urgent than war.

In August of 1990, I said goodbye to my Palestinian family and set off to attend college in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where 18 years earlier, my mother had given birth to me. That I was born in that unlikely place was an accident of fate. My mother and father had arrived by way of a family friend, who, after the 1967 war, had earned a professorship at the Chattanooga campus of the University of Tennessee.

My parents didn’t stay long, though. Just before my fourth birthday, they moved to the United Arab Emirates for the first time, toggling back and forth throughout my childhood between Abu Dhabi and places like Scranton, Pennsylvania or Springfield, Virginia. They eventually settled in the UAE for the better part of a decade, but in our on-again, off-again experience with America, I gained enough insight into the country to wonder whether we would ever truly fit in there.

Still, I wanted to fit. Newly returned to Chattanooga as a college freshman, I found a job at a pharmacy owned by a Palestinian immigrant from the Galilee. “Abe,” as he was known, had come to the American south in the late 1960s, to study and, later, to marry. His customers adored him, almost as much as his old-fashioned soda fountain, with its homemade tuna melts and root beer floats.

They didn’t seem to know that Abe had one glass eye and cataracts in the other, or that he sometimes relied on me to read the small print on prescriptions. One morning, a woman I had never seen before stepped up to the counter and handed me one such prescription, with its usual doctor’s scrawl.

By that point, a few weeks into the job, I had become adept at making out the names of various drugs and their generic equivalents, even recognizing their uses. This one was a diuretic, and by her complexion, I figured our new customer had some sort of heart problem.

I walked around the counter to hand Abe the slip of paper, but before he could reach for the bottle of Lasix, the woman began to yell at me, demanding I return her prescription. She spoke...

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Palestinians aren't counting on Trump or Clinton for their liberation

Americans will still have a long way to go before they can decide what their country represents. Once they do, Palestinians can begin to care again about what happens in Washington.

As a Palestinian contributor to +972, I have been struggling these past weeks with how to write about the US presidential election. Part of the problem is that this year’s nominees have hardly touched on our part of the world. Beyond the shock-jock antics of the Republican candidate or the very real resurgence of hate among the American electorate, this election has revealed America’s distinct lack of awareness about its role in the world.

The Palestinian question and the conflict that sustains it are no exception. Despite massive U.S. foreign aid deals linked to the conflict — with Israel and with neighboring countries that have inked peace deals at Washington’s urging — Palestine has hardly figured in the rhetoric of either Republicans or Democrats. But if the candidates have had precious little to say about Palestine, the real story may be how little Palestinians seem to care.

Consider a poll released this month by Al Najah University. In it, Palestinians opined on British responsibility for their current predicament (79 percent “considered Britain responsible for the catastrophes that befell” them), on a French initiative to restart Palestinian-Israeli talks (63 percent said it would fail), and on a similar Russian call (49 percent supported it).

There wasn’t a single mention of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. In fact, there was no reference to the United States at all.

That same ambivalence to the United States seems to prevail among the political elite in Ramallah. Although Palestinian officials may be taking the customary tack of sitting out an American election — the better to not distance themselves from a potential winner — I wonder if there may be more to their silence.

The fact is that Palestinian officials’ opinions of American politics have typically relied on what they hear in Washington. But if this U.S. election season has exposed anything, it is how out of touch Washington really is with what the rest of the country wants. If no one in Washington can explain how a demagogue came so close to the White House, perhaps it’s time Palestinians started listening to voices outside the capital’s Beltway.

It’s a lesson Palestinian activists in the United States learned long ago. In the...

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Colombia's Israel connection: Peacemaking and the Peace Prize

If the Nobel committee sought to move the needle on Colombian peace by honoring one of its auteurs, they might do well to remember a similar experiment that is all-too-familiar to observers in the Middle East.

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize, which went to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos “for his resolute efforts to bring [Colombia’s] more than 50-year-long civil war to an end,” is being portrayed by some as a potential counterbalance to the October 2 referendum in which Colombians narrowly voted down a peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Reacting to the Nobel decision, Colombian journalist Carlos Arturo Charria, a columnist for El Espectador newspaper, told +972 by email that he hopes the prize pushes half of his country “to come out of its hate and misinformation” and support the peace deal.

It’s a laudable aim for a prize that, in 1973, went to none other than Henry Kissinger. But the Nobel Peace Prize Committee’s decision may instead speak to a fundamental misreading of the dynamics of protracted conflict.

If the Nobel Committee sought to move the needle on Colombian peace by honoring one of its auteurs, they might do well to remember a similar experiment that is all-too-familiar to observers in the Middle East. It was in 1994, after all, that the peace prize went to Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Rabin “for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East.”

Like Peres and Rabin, who helped establish Israel’s settlement enterprise, or Yasser Arafat, who could not part with his signature fatigues even at the Nobel ceremony, Santos is part of a group of laureates who could be described as nouveaux pacifists, presiding over historic overtures to peace but lacking the lifelong bona fides of, say, Martin Luther King, Jr., the 1964 peace prize winner.

There can be no question that Santos has more in common with the former group. Reacting to the passing of former Israeli President Peres, a man with whom the Colombian president now shares two accolades, Santos said in a September 28 tweet: “I had the privilege of knowing him and of finding in him a friend of peace.”

Indeed, when Peres was Israel’s president, Santos, speaking to the Israeli press, said he was proud that his country had been called “the Israel of Latin America.” In a report...

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Who speaks for Syria?

We who are Syria’s neighbors, among whom so many of Syria’s victims have sought shelter, owe it to them — and to ourselves — to speak honestly and without shame about this singularly Arab tragedy. In so doing, we must create space for our Syrian sisters and brothers to lift their voices above those of others.

Khalil, the produce vendor, is producing a map, on a cardboard scrap, that tells of cherries. Sourced from points north, they are sweeter, he tells me, because they are darker. But I want to know how: how did Syrian cherries end up, fresh and firm, in a closet-sized stall, in a country that is not Syria? This, after all, is Amman in August—in the fifth summer since—and the borders north of here have long since been sealed.

The cherries’ journey is the subject of said map. But almost as soon as he sketches it, the vendor, scrawling beneath a stare, discards it into a cardboard box teeming with husks and wax paper. When I ask him why, he looks puzzled. If he knew the answer to that question, “they” might not have discarded any of it—the Damascene souks, the tells of Aleppo—like so much bruised fruit.

There is a problem here. In ordinary conversations, the people closest to Syria’s tragedy can seem the ones least able to explain it. Ask for an opinion on what caused this mess, and you’re likely to hear something oblique, even evasive. And that evasiveness, with the body count mounting, is making impossible any talk of solutions. Worse, it is leaving the conversation about what comes next to those least invested in the outcome.

The most invested, to be sure, have the most to lose. In Aleppo, for example, where hospitals have been repeatedly and deliberately targeted and more than a hundred children killed since the last week of September, opinions on whether the United States should intervene may differ significantly from those recently put forth by English-language media outlets in the west. And so what if they do? It should go without saying, but let us be clear: if Syria’s citizens hold a different opinion on how best to liberate their children from fear, they need neither the interest nor the imprimatur of western “analysts” in its pursuit.

If anything, the only responsibility of the victimized is to articulate a common platform—clearly, unapologetically, forcefully—to the world. But that articulation need...

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