Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The PA's Judenfrei policy - a deal breaker

Judenfrei (German: Jew free) is a Nazi term referring to freeing an area of its Jews [1]. Though Hitler died 65 years ago, Judenfrei’s relevant today. Because the only place on Earth where Jews aren’t able to settle, build and live is the West Bank. Why? Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas (pictured) declared that a future Palestinian State should be free of Jews [2]. As a corollary, the PA deems new Jewish settlements and expansion of existing ones a provocation and a threat to peace [3]. Of course it’s fine by the PA that Arabs can be, are and will continue being citizens of Israel. But the obverse is anathema. To me, all Jews who reside within the borders of a future Palestinian State would be entitled to be its citizens – with the same rights and responsibilities as all its other citizens be they Muslim, Christian or whatever. And wouldn’t a Jewish minority be a great test of a nascent Palestinian State’s tolerance of minorities. Speaking of tolerance, the world tolerates the PA’s non-acceptance of the concept, and reality, of Israel being a Jewish State [4, 5]. Why, then, is the PA treated as if it’s a serious party in the current peace negotiations? I yearn for true Peace within a two-state solution. But I can’t see it occurring in my lifetime, or my grandchildren’s – because the PA’s Judenfrei policy’s a fair dinkum deal breaker, stinking as it does of racial discrimination, ethnic cleansing and apartheid.


Anonymous said...

Hello? Settlements as they occur now are a de facto expansion of the state of Israel.
Equating annexation and expansion to immigration is disingenuous at best.
Make Palestine a real country first, then you'll be able to see if it has an immigration policy you disagree with. Or maybe they should only be allowed to form a state if it takes the form you'd prefer? That sound democratic?

Geoffrey Brittan said...

I read your posts often, and seldom can I find this kind of passion and reasoned argument. It is easy for people, like me, who don't live there to pass a judgement, but quite another for jews who can remember the Haulocast or for those with family and friends there.

A two state solution is frustrated by nation states in the region and elements elsewhere that conspire to profit from the continuing conflict. The cynical side of me takes the general position that war is always profitable. The hopeful side of me imagines a time when people and nations just can't afford it.

In the West, I don't think we understand the situation as clearly as we think we do. We live a tradition that attempts to separate church, state, and ethnicity as distinct ideas. Of course, we are not entirely sure of ourselves; North America, at least, was settled by groups of settlers seeking religious and intellectual freedom. "In God We Trust" often grates on the nerves of Americans who continue to challenge the close relationship between church and state.

"Jew" is a term that conveys race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion. I am Christian. "Christian" does not convey that unity; it expresses my religious preference or faith. I suspect that this makes visualizing a two state solution rather problematic for most of us.

I enjoyed your post.

farmdoc said...

Here are two interesting pieces related to this post [1, 2]

farmdoc said...

Dear Anonymous
Thanks for your comment to which I respond thus:
1. Settlements are not a de facto expansion of the State of Israel. The current peace negotiations are occurring without pre-conditions on either side.
2. To my knowledge I didn't mention the work 'immigration' in my post.
3. Have you ever voted for anyone who said they'd only tell you his/her policies after the election?
4. It doesn't matter what I prefer, for I'm neither an Israeli nor Palestinian. What I did in my post is point out what Mr Abbas and the PA said - which matters, because they are a party to the negotiations.

farmdoc said...

Dear Geoffrey
Thank you for your thoughtful response.
I'm not sure that anyone can visualise a two-state solution - not even the potential citizens of those two states let alone you and I who, as you rightly say, don't live there.
I'm not a betting man, but if I were I wouldn't wager even one cent on a two-state solution happening any time soon.
Maybe a time will come when people and nations can't afford not to have real peace. But it certainly won't be in my lifetime.