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Everyone has missed the boat

Reader comment on item: Arafat's Last Threat to Israel?

Submitted by Stephen Berman (United States), Nov 9, 2004 at 13:33

The trouble with the whole discussion is that both Jews and Arabs have translated their wishes into a Western idiom. They both claim that they want a State and Self Determination, echoing the Enlightenment thinkers' statement that "governments are instituted among men by consent of the governed.." etc.

The trouble is that Jews do not need self government. They just need to be safe from violence, and to return to their homeland. And Arabs don't need self government. They just need to stop the Jews from returning to their homeland, and to prevent any self government by non-Muslims under their jurisdiction.

That is what both groups really desire. For the Jews to reject this desire, would be to reject Judaism completely. For Arabic Muslims to reject their desire, would be irreconcilably contrary to Islam.

There is no way to compromise this issue, it is inherently irreconcilable.

So let's forget about the Englightened rhetoric, and deal with the two peoples on their own terms, in their own languages and idioms, without whitewashing or dumbing down the issues.
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