In Friday’s Christian Science Monitor John V. Whitbeck an attorney and adviser to the PA, gives a passionate Op-ed about why the Palestinians will never recognize Israel’s right to exist. Unfortunately Mr. Whitbeck’s analysis is devoid of any sense of history and he makes simple math mistakes. After reading his piece below and pointing out many of his mistakes, I am hoping that someone will step out and offer their services to this poor man as a math and History Tutor.
Recognition would imply acceptance that they deserve to be treated as subhumans. By John V. Whitbeck
….”Recognizing Israel” or any other state is a formal legal and diplomatic act by one state with respect to another state. It is inappropriate – indeed, nonsensical – to talk about a political party or movement extending diplomatic recognition to a state. To talk of Hamas “recognizing Israel” is simply to use sloppy, confusing, and deceptive shorthand for the real demand being made of the Palestinians. “Recognizing Israel’s existence” appears on first impression to involve a relatively straightforward acknowledgment of a fact of life. Yet there are serious practical problems with this language. What Israel, within what borders, is involved? Is it the 55 percent of historical Palestine recommended for a Jewish state by the UN General Assembly in 1947? The 78 percent of historical Palestine occupied by the Zionist movement in 1948 and now viewed by most of the world as “Israel” or “Israel proper”? The 100 percent of historical Palestine occupied by Israel since June 1967 and shown as “Israel” (without any “Green Line”) on maps in Israeli schoolbooks?
Math Tutor needed: I wonder if this attorney Mr. Whitbeck is just as bad with math when he figures out billable hours—maybe he his just a little forgetful because if he is talking about pre 1948 historical Palestine he is forgetting to what is now Jordan. That was part of the original partition.
Israel has never defined its own borders, since doing so would necessarily place limits on them. Still, if this were all that was being demanded of Hamas, it might be possible for the ruling political party to acknowledge, as a fact of life, that a state of Israel exists today within some specified borders. Indeed, Hamas leadership has effectively done so in recent weeks. “Recognizing Israel’s right to exist,” the actual demand being made of Hamas and Palestinians, is in an entirely different league. This formulation does not address diplomatic formalities or a simple acceptance of present realities. It calls for a moral judgment.
Never defined its boarders? Oh really? My, you really need help with history.. Lets see, Israel had defined itself as the 1948 boarders and then the Arabs attacked. After the War For Independence, the boarders recognized by Israel and most of the world (except most of the Arab Countries) was what is now called the Pre 1967 boarders. Funny how the Fatah and other terrorist movements started in 1964. Mr. Whitbeck did they anticipate the six day war…. or did they want Israel pushed into the sea? The other thing you are forgetting is that the West Bank was Jordanian and Gaza was Egyptian before June 67, how come there was no peace then?
To demand that Palestinians recognize “Israel’s right to exist” is to demand that a people who have been treated as subhumans unworthy of basic human rights publicly proclaim that they are subhumans. It would imply Palestinians’ acceptance that they deserve what has been done and continues to be done to them. Even 19th-century US governments did not require the surviving native Americans to publicly proclaim the “rightness” of their ethnic cleansing by European colonists as a condition precedent to even discussing what sort of land reservation they might receive. Nor did native Americans have to live under economic blockade and threat of starvation until they shed whatever pride they had left and conceded the point.
What do you know, the people treated like target practice want recognition from the sub- humans This guy is really bad with history.
Some believe that Yasser Arafat did concede the point in order to buy his ticket out of the wilderness of demonization and earn the right to be lectured directly by the Americans. But in fact, in his famous 1988 statement in Stockholm, he accepted “Israel’s right to exist in peace and security.” This language, significantly, addresses the conditions of existence of a state which, as a matter of fact, exists. It does not address the existential question of the “rightness” of the dispossession and dispersal of the Palestinian people from their homeland to make way for another people coming from abroad.
He NEVER recognized Israel’s right to exist, read the Fatah Charter. But then again, Arafat was suffering from HIV at the time so his mind might have been on other things, like stealing all of the European aid to the Palestinian people.
The original conception of the phrase “Israel’s right to exist” and of its use as an excuse for not talking with any Palestinian leaders who still stood up for the rights of their people are attributed to former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. It is highly likely that those countries that still employ this phrase do so in full awareness of what it entails, morally and psychologically, for the Palestinian people.
How bout a better phrase, recocognize Israel’s right to not have her children blown up by your chidren?
However, many people of goodwill and decent values may well be taken in by the surface simplicity of the words, “Israel’s right to exist,” and believe that they constitute a reasonable demand. And if the “right to exist” is reasonable, then refusing to accept it must represent perversity, rather than Palestinians’ deeply felt need to cling to their self-respect and dignity as full-fledged human beings. That this need is deeply felt is evidenced by polls showing that the percentage of the Palestinian population that approves of Hamas’s refusal to bow to this demand substantially exceeds the percentage that voted for Hamas in January 2006. Those who recognize the critical importance of Israeli-Palestinian peace and truly seek a decent future for both peoples must recognize that the demand that Hamas recognize “Israel’s right to exist” is unreasonable, immoral, and impossible to meet. Then, they must insist that this roadblock to peace be removed, the economic siege of the Palestinian territories be lifted, and the pursuit of peace with some measure of justice be resumed with the urgency it deserves.
Ah, we finally agree, Hamas will never recognize Israel’s right to exist as a free democratic Jewish State, neither will Fatah for that matter. The ONLY solution is teaching terrorists that their actions will not pay. Something that the world (and Israel’s Present government) have not yet learned.