Israel Always Gets Blamed, But Who Mistreats Palestinians?

by MELANIE PHILLIPS July 22, 2010
Cognitive dissonance on Middle East groundhog day

Khaled abu Toameh asks a question:
When was the last time the United Nations Security Council met to condemn an Arab government for its mistreatment of Palestinians? How come groups and individuals on university campuses in the US and Canada that call themselves ‘pro-Palestinian’ remain silent when Jordan revokes the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians?
The plight of Palestinians living in Arab countries in general, and Lebanon in particular, is one that is often ignored by the mainstream media in West. How come they turn a blind eye to the fact that Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and many more Arab countries continue to impose severe travel restrictions on Palestinians?
...A news story on the Palestinians that does not include an anti-Israel angle rarely makes it to the front pages of Western newspapers. The demolition of an Arab-owned illegal building in Jerusalem is, for most of these correspondents, much more important than the fact that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Lebanon continue to suffer from a series of humiliating restrictions.
Not only are Palestinians living in Lebanon denied the right to own property, but they also do not qualify for health care, and are banned by law from working in a large number of jobs.
Can someone imagine what would be the reaction in the international community if Israel tomorrow passed a law that prohibits its Arab citizens from working as taxi drivers, journalists, physicians, cooks, waiters, engineers and lawyers? Or if the Israeli Ministry of Education issued a directive prohibiting Arab children from enrolling in universities and schools?
I think we all know the answer.
Meanwhile, if anyone wants to know why the Middle East ‘peace process’ aiming to bring about a ‘two-state solution’ never gets anywhere, they will find the answer here in Professor Efraim Karsh’s superb and truthful summary of the tragic history of the past century. As he writes, a ‘two-state solution’ has been agreed over and over again during that time by the Jews, the British, the Europeans and the Americans. The only people who haven’t agreed, and have instead repeatedly and without interruption tried to annihilate the Jewish state, are the Arabs.
And as Karsh observes, nothing has changed today. It is not just Hamas which refuses to accept the existence of Israel in a ‘two state solution’, but Fatah, headed by the ‘moderate’ Mahmoud Abbas. As Karsh writes:
In a televised speech on May 15, 2005, Abbas described the establishment of Israel as an unprecedented historic injustice and vowed his unwavering resolve never to accept it. Two-and-a-half years later, at a U.S.-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis, he rejected Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's proposal of a Palestinian Arab state in 97 percent of the West Bank and the entire Gaza Strip, and categorically dismissed the request to recognize Israel as a Jewish state alongside the would-be Palestinian state, insisting instead on full implementation of the "right of return."
In June 2009, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke with longstanding Likud precept by publicly accepting a two-state solution and agreeing to the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state, provided the Palestinian leadership responded in kind and recognized Israel's Jewish nature. The Arab world exploded in rage. Egyptian President Husni Mubarak, whose country had been at peace with the Jewish state for 30 years, deplored Netanyahu's statement as "scuppering the possibilities for peace." Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat warned that Netanyahu "will have to wait 1,000 years before he finds one Palestinian who will go along with him."
At Fatah's sixth general congress, convened in Bethlehem in August last year, the delegates reaffirmed their longstanding commitment to "armed struggle" as "a strategy, not a tactic . . . . This struggle will not stop until the Zionist entity is eliminated and Palestine is liberated." More recently, even as Abbas has publicly mouthed the Obama formula for "two states living side by side in peace and security," he pointedly insists on preconditions impossible for Israel to accept.
The Peel Commission had the principle right. While a two-state solution "offers neither party all it wants, it offers each what it wants most, namely, freedom and security." It is a great historical irony that this "half-a-loaf" solution should have been repeatedly advanced as a response by others—Europeans, Americans, Israelis—to the actions of its most implacable opponents, who have then repeatedly proceeded to repudiate it in word and deed. On the Palestinian side, not a single leader has ever evinced any true liking for the idea or acted in a way signifying an unqualified embrace of it. The same is true, with the partial exceptions of Egypt and Jordan, for the larger Arab world.
Nearly two decades and thousands of deaths after the launch of the "peace process," one might hope that Western policy makers would at last begin to take the measure of what the Palestinian leadership tells its own people and wider Arab audiences. For the lesson of history remains: so long as things on the Arab side are permitted, or encouraged, to remain as they are, there will be no two-state solution, and therefore no solution at all.
But instead, it is Israel that has been turned by the west into the pariah state. Go figure. Contributing Editor Melanie Phillips is the author of the powerful and frightening "Londonistan" which can be purchased here and she blogs at The Spectator.

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