LA Times columnist converts reality to his liking

Posted: June 19, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Anti-Israel, Israel, Own Articles, Palestinians, Politics, Press and Media, Terrorism

Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation

MEET SAREE MAKDISI: a professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA and the author of the book, cover of which you see on your right. Makdisi, you are soon to find out is no friend of Israel; he is friend of Palestinians, though. He is so much of a friend, in fact, that he allows himself to distort reality any way he likes, including covering up facts he would not like his readers to discover. Makdisi’s voice is similar to one voiced by another professor – George Bisharat: both enjoy the freedoms of the Western world to distort reality into their liking.

Before I go into his recent op-ed in Los Angeles Times, I would like to point out an interesting – and totally expected – fact about his book. I will be honest with you – I never read it (I will, however, if I have the chance). What I have read is the description of the book, from book’s back cover and Publishers Weekly. They do note that Makdisi condemns attacks on any civilian – Israeli or Palestinian – but states right away: “This book is not about suicide bombers”. It seems that while Makdisi takes much time to go through numbers presented by Israel radical Left-wing Palestinian rights groups, he wishes not to talk about Palestinian attacks on Israel, which took lives thousands, and thousands more wounded.

Let us get back to the op-ed, though. Saree Makdisi writes about Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent speech, and he is not happy. In fact, he is quite angry at US press for interpreting Netanyahu’s speech as determination to establish Palestinian state, while in Makdisi’s opinion latter wants exactly the opposite – “Netanyahu was saying; "they" [Palestinians] are merely a "population." "We" have a right to a state — a real state. "They" do not.”

It is unclear how Makdisi reached this conclusion, as Netanyahu clearly stated: “We do not want to rule over them”. Yes, this is not a recognition of Palestinians’ rights to a state, but it is also far from denying them one. Thus, some of Makdisi’s statements, especially one where he says Netanyahu “categorically” rules out creation of Palestinian state is unwarranted. I understand the author didn’t hear the words he expected, yet clearly distorting PM’s speech seems dishonest at its very least.

Makdisi then goes on to talk about linguistic double-standard in US press, as Palestinians are usually labeled ‘moderate’ to ‘extremist’, whereas Israeli politicians are usually labeled ‘dove’ or a ‘hawk’. Makdisi believes this to be a double standard, as such terminology depicts Palestinians as terrorists and Israelis as peaceful villagers. He even goes as far as to ask how come Israelis are not labeled ‘militants’. And he would be correct, if we would live in a reality, where Israeli Prime Minister would call on his followers to commit jihad against Palestinians, exploding in their hotels and discos. He would, in fact, be correct if Israel’s Defense Minister would go public and declare: “All Palestinians should be driven into the sea and drowned there”. Sadly for Makdisi, his side is the one using such rhetoric.

The professor then gets technical, calling upon us to check our dictionaries for the definition if ‘state’:

Look up the word "state" in the dictionary. You’ll probably see references to territorial integrity, power and sovereignty. The entity that Netanyahu was talking about on Sunday would lack all of those constitutive features.

I decided to do just that:

1. country: a country or nation with its own sovereign independent government

2. government: a country’s government and those government-controlled institutions that are responsible for its internal administration and its relationships with other countries state-owned companies

Microsoft® Encarta® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

A politically organized body of people usu. occupying a definite territory ; esp: one that is sovereign b : the political organization of such a body of people c : a government or politically organized society having a particular character.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.

Now, please correct me if I did a poor job, but I can’t see anything here about air space control and the ability to make pacts with genocidal Iran. I guess Makdisi should re-check that dictionary, instead of going on and saying the the Future Palestinian state would be

A "state" without a defined territory that is not allowed to control its own borders or airspace and cannot enter into treaties with other states…

Call me crazy, but I cannot understand how he got there. After all, we all known that the future Palestinian state would be defined – it would be outside of Israel’s 1967 borders – part in West Bank and part in Gaza. Maybe that is what he is getting on? That a state cut in half is not a state? Well – there is a reason for that. The reason is that the West Bank belonged to Jordan and Gaza – to Egypt, long before there was talk of ‘Palestinians’ and their aspirations for a state. By the way, Makdisi never proposes a solution to this problem.

I believe Saree Makdisi illustrates the major downside of pro-Palestinian movement: they are eager to criticize Israel, but they never present substantiated and realistic solutions. While he is clearly angered by the fact that Israel demands Palestine not to have sovereignty over some aspects of self-control or having the ability to enter pacts with its neighbors, he fails to realistically explain to his readers why Israel has such demands.

First and foremost, if Palestinians would establish a state of their own, control over their airspace and other aspects of self-control could be re-negotiated after a while, when Palestinians actually prove they are able to control terrorist cells within and show signs of creating a prosperous state. After all, Israel has prior experience with Palestinians gaining sovereignty (albeit, partial) in Gaza, which swiftly turned into terror heaven for many groups, including Al Qaeda.

Then there is the army and pacts thing: while many take umbrage on Israel’s demands for the Palestinians not to have an active military force or have the option to sign defense/offense pacts with its neighbors, they mostly fail to depict Israeli side and explain reasons for Israel demanding such steps. After all, HAMAS already has a pact with Iran and Hizb Allah – both entities train its people and provide weapons and explosives, which then HAMAS uses to kill Israelis. With voices to fight Israel to the death and destroy it still very strong among Palestinians, how can Israel support creation of a state, whose major goal would be support for terrorism and incitement against the Jews? And what happens when Palestinians do attack (quite a viable option, as Palestinians proven themselves as not able to contain terrorism) Israel? What happens then? If they signed defense pacts with – say – Syria, Egypt and Jordan then we will have a new war on our hands. This way, Palestinians would be able to hold Israel hostage, firing rockets and mortars into Israel (this time – into heavily populated areas), with latter not able to respond as to not incite another war. I understand why Makdisi would be okay with such an option but we – the Israelis – would better wait it out, until Palestinians understand peace is much better than war.

And this is the point Makdisi failed to convey. While he took offense on Netanyahu defining restrictions on the future state, he failed to notice that Netanyahu pushed forward his “economic peace first” agenda. Netanyahu’s goal is to improve Palestinian economy and level of life to the point where Palestinians everywhere live a good life, and would prefer prosperity to hate (“I call upon the talented entrepreneurs of the Arab world, to come and invest here, to assist the Palestinians and us, to give the economy a jump-start”).

After all, hate will not solve this conflict. Only level-headed negotiations, at which both Israelis and Palestinians make concessions would establish peace upon two peoples.


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