Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bassam Eid: We Palestinians hold the key to a better future

Read and share this powerful statement from Bassam Eid, the founder of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, originally posted at the Times of Israel

He writes:

After 66 years of mistakes and missed opportunities, it is time for us Palestinians to create the conditions for peace and to work for a better future. It is time that we stopped pretending that we can destroy Israel or drive the Jews into the sea. It is time that we stopped listening to Muslim radicals or Arab regimes that use us to continue a pointless, destructive, and immoral war with Israel. 

Acknowledging the truth about Israel, he continues

Despite what we tell ourselves, Israel is here to stay. What’s more, it has a right to exist. It is the nation of the Jews but also a nation for Israeli Arabs who have better lives than Arabs anywhere in Arab countries. We must accept these facts and move on. The antisemitism promoted by Hamas, Fatah, and the BDS movement is not the answer for us Palestinians.

The answer is to live in peace and democracy, side by side with Israel. We missed many opportunities to do that. We missed it in 1947 when Arab regimes encouraged us to refuse the UN partition plan. We missed it between 1948 and 1967 when we refused to create a state next to Israel. We missed it again every time after that when we refused a two-state solution presented to us.

Yet we know that Israelis want to live in peace, and that the vast majority of Israelis are friendly and neighborly. We know that Palestinian violence results in Israelis being discouraged about peace and electing ever more right-wing governments. We know that Egypt was able to secure a very favorable peace deal with Israel because Egypt agreed to accept Israel and to give up on violence. We know that the soft approach works with Israel, and yet we continue to use violence and extremist rhetoric.

Israel will never accept a large influx of Palestinians that would change the Jewish character of Israel. This means that insisting on the return of millions of refugees into Israel is pure delusion. In addition to this, the villages that we tell Palestinian refugees that they will one day return to no longer exist. We are simply lying to ourselves.

His vision for the future:

What we Palestinians need is a strong civil society and strong democratic institutions, and we need an end to human rights violations, including those perpetrated by Palestinians and other Arabs. Well-meaning international donors must ensure that their money is spent towards this goal, and not towards propping up either Hamas or Fatah. There is no doubt that much work is needed, but at the very least we need to reverse the current trend that is causing Palestinian society to drift even further towards corrupt and brutal rule, both in Gaza and in the West Bank. Ironically, it is only in East Jerusalem, under Israeli rule, that most Palestinians feel adequately represented by their politicians. 

Read it all here



1 comment:

Mickey Oberman said...

"Bassam Eid: We Palestinians hold the key to a better future"

What so called Palestinians consider a 'better future' would be an intolerable horror to western democracies.