Monday, January 5, 2015

My letter to the NYTimes RE Dennis B. Ross: Stop Giving Palestinians a Pass

A Palestinian boy looks out through a hole in his family house, that witnesses said was damaged by Israeli shelling during the July-August war between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza militants, in the east of Gaza City January 4, 2015. PHOTO OF THE DAY (REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
RE: Stop Giving Palestinians a Pass

Dear Editor,

As Hussein Ibish, of the American Task Force on Palestine, succinctly points out in his recent column on the Israel/Palestine conflict: "Palestinians and their profoundly moral cause are in deep trouble."

Ross is right that "Palestinian political culture is rooted in a narrative of injustice; its anticolonialist bent and its deep sense of grievance treats concessions to Israel as illegitimate. Compromise is portrayed as betrayal, and negotiations — which are by definition about mutual concessions — will inevitably force any Palestinian leader to challenge his people by making a politically costly decision."

But Ross is very very wrong to insist that there needs to be "a resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue that allows Israel to retain its Jewish character."  Religion should be a personal private matter, not a state funded mandate. Please don't give Israel a green light to define its supposed Jewishness by perpetually pushing indigenous non-Jewish men, women and children into poverty and forced exile.

Do you really want to live in a world where religion or race dictates who gets citizenship rights and respect? Do you really want to set that formal official legal precedent for Da'esh (ISIS), Hezbollah, & Hamas!

The hard choice is not about refugees' return, for international law already clearly affirms the universal right to return to live in peace. The hard choice is to accept that Israel will remain Israel, and the process of refugee return and reparations will take time, and good will on everyone's part... Refugee resettlement and relocation in a sovereign Palestinian state, or elsewhere, should be encouraged and empowered not to affirm Israel's supposed Jewishness, but so that the people of historic Palestine can be free to find jobs and security and a better way forward for everyone's sake.

Anne Selden Annab

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