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Nazareth and Hebron: response to commenter Ahmed

Reader comment on item: Palestinians Don't Deserve Additional Aid

Submitted by Irfan Khawaja (United States), Dec 21, 2004 at 12:41

Commentator Ahmed is misreading what Pipes wrote about Nazareth and Hebron. Pipies is not making a prediction, he's laying down a condition. His point was not that the security situation in Nazareth and Hebron will be the same in any specified period of time, but that they should eventually become the same.

As a general matter of principle, I agree with Pipes. Neither Nazareth's Arabs nor Hebron's Jews should live in fear of violence. But his way of putting things in this article seems to ignore two salient facts:

(1) The Arabs of Nazareth are not the beneficiaries of a coercive and discriminatory land policy. The Jews of Hebron are. So the situation of the two groups is significantly disanalogous. The Arabs of Nazareth have a clear moral right to live in Nazareth. The moral claims of Jews taking advantage of the occupation to migrate to Hebron from elsewhere are not as clear.

(2) While some of the Arabs of Hebron pose a threat to the Jews of Hebron, the reverse is also true: some of the Jews of Hebron pose a threat to its Arabs as well. The Baruch Goldstein massacre is only the most dramatic example of this. Goldstein was a well-known extremist who had been preaching murder for years before he perpetrated the massacre. And while there is a high incidence of extremism among Palestinians, there is surely just as high an incidence of extremism among the Jews of Hebron. Many Hebronite Jews believe that Hebron simply belongs to Jews, and that all Arabs should just clear out. If they could, they (Jews from Hebron) would drive the Arabs out by force. So it's not as though Arabs are perfectly safe from Jews in Hebron, while Jews have cause to fear Arabs. Arabs have cause to fear Jews as well, a fact rarely factored into American equations.

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