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Friday, July 29, 2011

There are Palestinians and then there are Palestinians

The Israelis swung by my office yesterday to emphasize to a group of lawyers the urgency of the situation and to try put to rest the zombie talking point of the "indefensible 1967 borders." It was quite enjoyable watching the faces on some of those in the room as the myth was exposed. Believe me, no matter how often I make the same point, I don't get anywhere near the reaction. While I may be armed with the identical argument, what I don't have is an Israeli accent and 40 plus years of military experience. I believe the kids call it street cred. So thank you, Gen. (Ret.) Natan Sharoni and Col. (Ret.) Shaul Arieli.    

The highlight was Sharoni connecting the dots in a way I hadn't previously considered. The Netanyahu government has made two demands (among others), which seem to be supported by Americans of a certain political persuasion. First, Israel cannot allow even a single Palestinian refugee to return to Israel. Second, the Palestinian villages in East Jerusalem, with 300,000 residents, must remain forever under Israeli sovereignty. The rationale for the first demand is based on demographics. How can Israel accept Palestinian refugees and still maintain its Jewish majority? Fair enough. But somehow this rationale gets forgotten about when the second demand - retaining sovereignty over 300,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem - is discussed. A person would be entitled to wonder how it is that 300,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem doesn't jeopardize Israel's Jewish majority. I guess like the Israelis, there are Palestinians and then there are Palestinians. And we should only count the Palestinians.

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