By Michael McGehee at Jan 09, 2009
Why won’t those darn Palestinians “recognize Israel’s right to exist”?
Nearly every time this comes up I want to scream!
How can you recognize someone whose borders keep expanding, and who is occupying and brutalizing you daily?
Since this topic is a hot one. Let’s take a stroll down Imaginary Lane.
Imagine you live on a few acres of land.
The city government takes an acre and gives it to me. Maybe me and my family was brutalized in another neighborhood where we were not welcomed on the basis of our culture.
No one got your approval to give away your land.
This upset you.
Relations were chilly. In a 1948esque moment I took another acre of your land and declared my “independence.”
Relations got chillier.
In a 1967esque moment I took over sections of your remaining acre and began occupying your home.
And ever since then I expanded more and more into your homes.
Now you don’t have access to any potable water and all your belongings in various rooms have been replaced with mine.
You loose it and start fighting back.
Decades later and after various peace offers have been rejected your house is getting smaller and I am getting more belligerent.
By the way, I guess I should point out that I have good relations with a permanent city council member with veto power who not only provides me with ample political cover for my crime – that is why you can’t get the police to remove me from your home – but I also get plenty of financial assistance too!
Well, here we are. You are demanding me to respect your rights, honor your right to return.
One problem: I demand you recognize my right to existence!
How obscene, right?
What basis of justice is it to say you must recognize my right to exist as I have been brutalizing you? You are the victim and I am the aggressor. I should be recognizing your rights!
Also, where should you recognize my right to exist? Everyday my “borders” change.
This is the reality for Palestinians. While apologists for Israeli aggression wax poetic over the conflict it is up to the rest of us to put the reality into focus.
This is not a symmetrical conflict. It is not between equal parties. Overwhelmingly there is an aggressor and there is a victim. Not only are the roles unequal but the use of force is unequal.
When Europeans and Americans were laying waste to the indigenous inhabitants of the America’s it would have been silly to suggest the American Holocaust could not be stopped until the colonialists were recognized or until the “savage raids” ceased.
As brutal as some of the Native American attacks were history rightly records them as victims, not mutual belligerents.
If we are to stop Israel we have to be clear on some things. We should see the “conflict” for what it is and not what is “diplomatic” (i.e. putting equal blame on Palestinians and Israelis). And we should stop with the unilateral approach of appeasing the aggressor by demanding the victim recognize something that is not only brutalizing them but whose borders keep expanding.
Doing these things and having them more broadly understood will go further in helping the boycott, divestment and sanction movement.