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Palestinians Willing To Live In Peace with Israel ?

Yoram Getzler


Over the years of the states existence and even before that the general wisdom exemplified by the phrase, “everybody knows” is that the Palestinians all are against us. Recently an op-ed by Max Singer in the Jerusalem Post challenges this assumption.
In my response to Mr. Singer I also include several other expressions that challenge this assumption.

Thank you Max Singer and the Jerusalem Post opinion section for bringing to
the public’s attention a phenomena of the Palestinian community that is
rarely recognized.
(http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=173152 )
I am referring to the recognition by us that a significant minority of individual Palestinians
that have been and continue to be sympathetic to the idea of concluding
this hundred year struggle between our two communities.

It is interesting to note that in the Mar. 20, 2008 edition of the Post a
book was reviewed with essentially the same message. It was about the
contribution of some Palestinians in the pre-state period, up to and
including 1948. This shows that Mr. Singer is not alone

I quote from a Jerusalem Post review, re-published on the web by
Standwithus (http://www.standwithus.com/app/inews/view_n.asp?ID=335 ) by
Elliot Jager, March 20 2008 “ In Army of Shadows – Palestinian Collaboration
with Zionism, 1917-1948″, Hillel Cohen of the Harry S. Truman Institute for
the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem tells the
absorbing story of the Palestinian Arabs who sought accommodation with the
Zionist movement. This book answers the question: Where are the Palestinian
moderates?”

Mr. Cohen claims that “20% of the pre state Arab population had positive
sentiment towards Zionism. It was not only common but a central feature of
Palestinian society and politics.”

I find it interesting and perhaps an element of serendipity, that over the
years the Post has published several other op-ed pieces on this subject.
Such as the January 1 2008; Palestinians who prefer Israel by Daniel Pipes.
As a matter of interest, Mr. Pipes has a page on his web site that lists
several similar articles *
http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2008/01/bibliography-my-writings-on-arabs. .
Mr. Pipes’s claim that “polling research finds that a substantial minority of Palestinians, about 20 percent, is ready to live side-by-side with a sovereign Jewish state.” This strengthens and confirms Mr. Singer’s contention.

Most important, is what can WE do to promote those who are in favor of
living peacefully with us. And even more important is encouraging more
Palestinians to realize the benefits of “normalization” accommodation and
compromise with the Jewish state.

Ultimately, the most interested parties in this conundrum are the Israeli
and Palestinian people, themselves.

In this context I would point out that one of Mr. Singers most valuable
insights is that; “regarding the Palestinians who prefer peace” they must
convince themselves and their compatriots that “You have no plausible theory
of victory (over Israel); it is time to get practical.”

If as Mr. Singer correctly contends that there is no plausible theory of
how the Palestinians will achieve their goal of destroying Israel. I have
also heard no plausible, probable or realistic scenario of how we will
continue in our present policy to achieve our full national destiny, healing
and potential, while ruling over millions of angry, undereducated,
underemployed, unyielding, Palestinians and as a result of which, we are in
constant conflict with the world.

I would contend that the same applies to Israelis who want to live in a
democratic, Jewish state. We too must recognize that we have “no plausible
theory of victory (over the Palestinian national movement)” Our rule,
presence and domination of the area of the potential Palestinian state has
“no plausible theory of victory”, the “victory” in our case constitutes a
Jewish democratic state living as one of the respected nations of the world.

“What is good for the goose is good for the gander” declares an old folk
wisdom. It is also applicable to our current situation. The need for a
plausible theory of victory (on our part) demands that we too “get
practical”, for the sake of our future.

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