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Encountering Peace: Dressing up the Palestinian state

jerusalempost

Gershon Baskin, the Israeli co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information Jerusalem Post 22 June 2009

“OK, Binyamin Netanyahu said the magic words “Palestinian state,” now what? I want to give our prime minister the benefit of doubt and say that he even meant it; at least that is what he told US President Barack Obama…

Now Mr. Netanyahu, I have some questions for you regarding your vision of this Palestinian state.

You say that Jerusalem will remain the eternal undivided capital of the State of Israel. What do you propose to do with the almost 300,000 Palestinians who live in our undivided capital? Do you grant them full citizenship? Do they get a passport? Can they vote for Knesset members?

IF THE STATE of Palestine is demilitarized, will you prevent armed settlers from harassing farmers who are harvesting their olive trees? Will you disarm violent settlers?

What about the Palestinian citizens of Israel, Mr. Netanyahu? Now that their national state has recognized Israel as the state of the Jewish people, what are their rights? Is Israel their state? Is the state where they are born their home? Will they finally enjoy equal rights when they are no longer perceived as a security threat? Or will they always be treated as a demographic threat?

WHAT ABOUT WATER rights in the Palestinian state? Will Palestinians have equal rights to water as Jews do in Israel? Will they control the water resources underneath their feet?

What about criminal law? If an Israeli commits a crime in the state of Palestine, will he be allowed to be brought to justice in a Palestinian court? Will he be allowed to serve a prison sentence in a Palestinian prison?

What about the concept of reciprocity? Will Palestinians who hold deeds and can prove property rights within Israel be allowed to claim those rights, or at least receive financial compensation? Jews do it all over Europe, will Palestinians be able to do it in Israel?

Mr. Netanyahu, you know, of course, that the Palestinians will never accept your preconditions for statehood, neither will President Obama nor almost the entire world. Rather than thinking of excuses and tricks to prevent the creation of the Palestinian state, you should begin to think and to plan how you intend to make real peace with the Palestinian people. A state which is humiliated from its birth will never be a worthy neighbor. You speak of mutuality and reciprocity. It is time you begin to put yourself in their place and then think about the state you would like to see as your neighbor.

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