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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Altered Consciousness: Israeli-Palestinian Double Standard

Published: October 1, 2010
Section: Opinions

When analyzing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and peace process, there is a gigantic double standard that is all too often overlooked: Why can thousands of Arabs currently live in Israel proper while no Jews would be allowed to even live in a future Palestinian state?

According to most supporters of the Palestinians, perhaps the biggest obstacle to Middle East peace is the settler movement in Judea and Samaria. The argument that is generally made is that peace cannot be reached if mostly-religiously-motivated Jews are entrenching the “occupation” of the “Palestinian territories.”

Why though are the settlers such a big issue? Why can’t the Palestinian Authority grant the Jews living under its jurisdiction citizenship in a future state? Why would Palestine have to be Jew-less?

The answer is that many Palestinians do not recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish presence in the Middle East or the state that is a manifestation of Jewish nationalism and religious and historic pride. A recent ruling by a court under the Palestinian Authority stipulating that an Arab would be sentenced to death if he sold land to a Jew is reflective of this. Also, the Palestinians’ political culture is so steeped in violence and hatred for Jews, as reflected by the blatantly anti-Semitic propaganda that is taught to children in their schools and broadcast in their media on a daily basis, that coexistence with them within a single state would be intolerable. For example, Brahim Mudayris, a member of the Official Palestinian Ministry of Religious Trusts and Religious Affairs said in a Friday sermon: “The Jews are Jews. Their character and custom are the corruption and destruction of this land. We keep warning you: the Jews are a cancer that spreads inside the body of the Islamic and Arab nation …” (His sermon and other examples of Palestinian propaganda can be found online at

Unfortunately, these facts are almost always ignored, and it is simply taken for granted by American, Arab and even some Israeli leaders that thousands of Jewish settlers would have to be uprooted from their homes to implement any “peace” agreement. And yet, as displayed by Ariel Sharon’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005, such a withdrawal would only diminish Israel’s strategic depth and serve as a huge victory for the Palestinians, who would only demand further concessions from the Jewish state and be enticed to violence.

If world leaders like Barack Obama truly want to end the conflict, they have to challenge the Palestinians’ medieval mindset. Instead of pressuring Israel, as Obama has done relentlessly during his tenure in office, they should demand solid proof that the Palestinians are committed to a peaceful coexistence with the Jews in a state in Judea and Samaria.

While the Palestinians’ wish for a judenrein state remains, Israel grants approximately 1.5 million Arabs political representation, freedoms of expression, speech, assembly and press, the right to a fair trial, and the potential for great economic opportunity, even though these individuals form a potential fifth column and threaten Israel’s Jewish character. For instance, the fact that Israel allows insidious characters like Arab Haneen Zoabi, who boarded a flotilla headed to Gaza several months ago, a seat in the Knesset is testament to this.

However, this is evidently not enough for the Arabs, who demand, in any peace settlement, the so-called, “right of return” for Palestinian refugees into Israel proper. That is, during the war for Israel’s independence, thousands of Arabs departed from their towns and villages because they did not want to live in a Jewish state, or were ordered out by the invading Arab armies, or were simply caught in the midst of a chaotic attempt to create another Holocaust after the first one ended three years prior. Since 1948, the governments of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other neighboring countries have severely oppressed the refugees to pressure Israel to allow them to go back to their former homes.

The logic of the “right of return” is utterly absurd. The Arabs demand that Israel, and not the Palestinian Authority, accept what is now approximately four or five million Palestinians into its boundaries. Never mind that the Arabs created this issue. Never mind that many refugees are very hostile to Israel because they blame it for their status. Never mind that if Israel actually accepted these Palestinians, its Jewish character would vanish instantaneously. And never mind that the Arab governments themselves had, during the course of the twentieth century, created thousands of refugees by instituting pogroms against their Jewish populations and forcing them to flee from their homes.

Why should Israel be forced to take on millions of refugees when they already have their own homeland? Finally, the Palestinians were offered citizenship in Israel at its inception but chose to leave instead–they thus forfeited any “right of return.”

Thus, the demographic double standard between Israel and a future Palestinian state is indicative of the exceedingly high standards set for the Jews and the extremely low standards set for the Palestinians. Taken a step further, this dynamic reveals the futility and hypocrisy underlying the Middle East peace process.