The Great Debate
Pro-Palestine and pro-Israel
Source: The Times of Israel, DECEMBER 4, 2016, 7:54 PM
By: Fred Maroun
Next to the many partisan androids who never see fault on their side of the Israel-Palestine conflict, unless it is that their side is not extreme enough, there are those who stubbornly insist on being both pro-Palestine and pro-Israel. They are invariably described by the androids as naïve, uninformed, dishonest, extremist, deluded, or worse.
The theory is that since Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in a 68-year-old conflict that has no end in sight, one cannot possibly support both. But this superficial thinking ignores two important factors.
One factor is that like in any long-lasting conflicts, there are faults on both sides. The Arabs were far more at fault in starting the conflict, but as time advances, the faults are increasingly shared.
The second factor is that on the ground, in Israel-Palestine, Israelis and Palestinians are friends and partners as often if not more often than they are enemies. Their lives have become intrinsically linked in ways that neither may be willing to admit but that are nonetheless very real.
Far from being the many awful things that androids accuse them of, those who are pro-Palestine and pro-Israel are the most realistic people in this conflict. They understand the facts however inconvenient those facts may be to either side.
Palestinians have not been well served by their leaders and their so-called Arab allies, both of whom have failed the pursuit of a Palestinian state at every turn. Palestinians have consequently missed opportunity after opportunity while their leaders drag them further down the road of hatred, impotence, and corruption.
Jews have had good leaders who have stubbornly pursued statehood, making compromises when needed and fighting tough battles when unavoidable. Jews have had a positive outlook that mostly shunned hatred.
While Palestinians have paid, and continue to pay a price for their mistakes, Jews have enjoyed the rewards of their wisdom and continue to do so, but it would be foolish and short-sighted to assume that this uneven situation can continue.
For all practical purposes, Palestinians live under occupation. Whatever one thinks of Jewish ownership of the West Bank, Palestinians live there too, and they live under various degrees of Israeli control. Regardless of faults or history, the fact that Palestinians are engaged daily in activities that remind them that they depend on a state that is not theirs is not healthy or sustainable. It is not a relationship of equals, and it cannot continue indefinitely.
Israel-Palestine is home to two peoples, no matter what extremists on either side may think. One people, the Jewish people, has a state that is constantly under assault by groups who do not deserve to hold a candle to Israel. Another people, the Palestinian people, has no state at all but has many so-called allies willing to hypocritically pay lip service to a Palestine that they never supported at any practical level.
Whatever the future holds, whether it is two states, three states, a single state, or a confederation of states, the futures of Israelis and Palestinians will be associated and interdependent, and they will both suffer the consequences of bad choices or reap the rewards of good choices.
While Palestinian inability and unwillingness to accept reality have a long history, Israel has its own set of extremists who choose to be blind to one half of Palestine-Israel in the hope that it will lose importance over time. They deny the reality that time is on the side of the Arabs who have nearly 400 million souls surrounding six million Jews.
If Arab extremists refuse to compromise, they will eventually destroy Israel, but this should be cold comfort to Palestinians because that would likely take generations and would have consequences on Palestinians that are hard to predict. One consequence that is easy to predict is that the Palestinians without the Jews would be far poorer, both materially and culturally.
Supporting both Israelis and Palestinians today is not only a moral imperative but a practical one as well. Denying that either people exists or that it should be able to live in freedom, autonomy, and security is short-sighted and self-defeating. In the long term, both peoples will fall or both will thrive. For all practical purposes, to be pro-Israel without being pro-Palestine or to be pro-Palestine without being pro-Israel is a lie wrapped in a delusion.
Being both pro-Palestine and pro-Israel is not naïve, uninformed, dishonest, extremist, deluded, or worse. It is the position of people who want to see this conflict resolved. There is no other way.
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