Israel and Palestine Negotiate
February 19, 2007
by William P. Meyers

Negotiations continue between the Palestinian government and the Israeli government. As has been the case since Israel was "founded," these negotiations are not symmetrical.

As late as when I was a child in the state of Florida in the 1960's, lack of symmetry was easy to find written into law. One example was the rape laws. There were four classifications of people: black or white and male or female. A black man raping a white female got the maximum penalty. A white man raping a white woman got a substantial but lesser penalty. A black man raping a black woman got a lesser penalty still. A white man raping a black woman was illegal, but the penalty was minimal. Recall that these laws were written and enforced by the Democratic Party. The Republican Party had no real impact on Florida politics until the late 1970's.

The Palestinians have always been treated by white Americans and Europeans just like black women were treated in Dixie. What is funny (if such deadly matters can be humorous) is that a Black woman, Condoleeza Rice, is negotiating for the white-male leadership of the U.S. So things have changed a bit since the founding of Israel. But not much.

The Palestinians have before them the demand that they "renounce violence" and recognize the State of Israel. No powerful white nation is demanding that Israel renounce violence. No one is demanding that Israel return to Palestine the lands that were stolen from Palestinians. The recognition of the state of Israel is, in effect, a recognition that what has been stolen will stay stolen. And all this really comes down to racism: Israel has been colonized by Europeans, which is to say white people. Palestinians are a shade of brown.

The PLO is willing to go along with that plan, not because they think it is fair or like it, but because they figure ruling over a scrap of Palestine is better than ruling over nothing. Hamas correctly points out that the situation is unjust, but seems to have a pragmatic wing that is slowly coming around to the PLO point of view.

Combining Israel and Palestine into a single, non-sectarian (non-religious), state with issues decided non-violently through elections in which everyone can participate is not considered an option by the Israel and her allies. Such a state would not have a Jewish majority. Such a state might look into the grabbing that took place in 1946 and afterwards.

Jews should be able to live safely in the world, just like other people with crazy religious ideas. But Israel has not proven to be the answer to Jewish safety. Religious tolerance on a global scale is what is needed. The grabbing of land by Jews in Palestine has made Jews everywhere less safe by fueling sectarian religious conflict.

My view: get rid of all these musty old religions and give Darwin the Nobel Peace Prize. We all have common ancestors. Nature rules, not "God." But to get most people to see reality instead of religious nonsense, the world needs to go through a period of peace and religious toleration. The waters need calming. So recognize Hamas without preconditions. They won the Palestinian elections not based on their reputation for violence, but on their reputation for honesty and justice. Peace, in the long run, depends more on understanding justice than on short-term tactical questions.

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