September 14, 2010
Sometimes (actually most days) I read a newspaper article online that just gets up my nose, without at first knowing why. Usually it has to do with Israel. Today was no exception when, during my daily perusal of the Times website, I came across an article by an Egypt-based journalist, Ashraf Khalil, entitled "Upbeat Hillary Clinton tries to life gloom hanging over the peace talks".
The link is here but as usual it's subscription only so it'll cost a quid to read it (but you'll get 30 days viewing for that).
Most of the article is standard stuff - that Abbas was "forced into negotiations despite none of his demands being met" - the poor little lamb. Fancy being "forced" into negotiating for statehood, which is what the PA claims it wanted all along. And nasty America! Astonishing. Anyway, I finally managed to put my finger on the paragraph that really ired me, and it was this one:
On the other side it has been common knowledge for years that Israel is losing the demographic race. Within a few decades Jews will become a minority — with the prospect of controlling an Arab majority by force. A number of Palestinian analysts and pundits have begun advocating the "one-state solution" — simply waiting until they outnumber the Jews then demanding equal voting rights.
Here we have a not-too-subtle confusion between opinion, fact and plain wishful thinking. Demographic predictions have never been accurate, anywhere. Predicting populations is the same as predicting the future - impossible.
Secondly, he makes a distinction between "Jews" and "Arabs". And yet there are many Jewish Arabs in Israel. Presumably he actually means non-Jewish Arabs, or Muslim Arabs. Why doesn't he be more specific?
Thirdly, the last sentence implies that non-Jews are somehow discriminated against in Israel, which is patently untrue. All Israeli citizens have an equal vote - unlike neighbouring countries such as Jordan (where "Palestinians" - meaning of course refugees from the 1948 war - are not even allowed citizenship). People living under the Palestinian Authority on the other hand have autonomy from Israel and can elect their own leaders - or they could if their elected leaders ever bothered to hold elections. To suggest that they are an oppressed minority is extremely unjust.
So if Palestinians are happy to share a "one state" with Jews, why not now? Why wait until they outnumber them, if the aim is not to completely eradicate the Jewish character of Israel rather than peaceful coexistence? It's incredibly frustrating that these things are thrown around without anyone asking these sorts of questions. I wonder sometimes if the Times editors actually bother reading some of the articles they print.
This is just another example of the steady and subtle undermining of the peace negotiations by Israel's enemies. As time goes by it becomes increasingly obvious to any fair minded person that one side of this dispute seeks reconciliation and peace while the other seeks victory by any means.