Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Mommy, he called me the 'Zionist enemy'

In a surprise move Tuesday,
Mahmoud Abbas announced that
Palestinians don't like Israel.
 Posted by Hello

A headline on Tuesday's Haaretz online homepage reads: Abbas, considered a relative moderate, calls Israel 'the Zionist enemy'.

I'm not sure I understand why the Haaretz editors making such a fuss. What's Mahmoud Abbas supposed to call us?

I think it's safe to say that except for the ultra-leftists and ultra-Orthodox, the vast majority of Jews in Israel are by definition Zionists. And Zionism hasn't exactly taken up the Palestinian cause, which I guess would make us the enemy. (That would partly explain some of the news events regarding Israelis and Palestinians over the last 50 years or so.)

But a friend pointed out to me that I have to consider the historial context here. Egypt and Jordan, for instance, do not call us the Zionist enemy, at least not officially, while Hezbollah, however, does.

Another context to consider is that today seven Palestinians, most of them reported to be children and teens, were killed by IDF tank fire in the Gaza Strip

Abbas is also in the midst of a political campaign in which the Palestinians will choose a successor to Yasser Arafat. If he wants to be taken seriously, and have the power to actually do anything, he must appeal to the militant elements in Palestinian society in order to get their support.

(It's not as if Ariel Sharon embraced Palestinian claims for statehood prior to becoming prime minister.)

We're also not doing him any favors calling him a moderate. We may as well call him a collaborator. A moderate won't have the respect of the Palestinian street and thus won't be able to make the concessions necessary in a peace deal with Israel.

(It's pretty much the same thing for Israel. A left-winger like Peres or Barak doesn't have the same legitimacy among the general Israeli public as Sharon or another Likudnik in giving up the settlements. Whether Israel has the will to stand up to the settlers so Sharon can deliver is another question.)

We don't need a moderate on the other side. We need a pragmatist. There are some who feel that Marwan Barghouti is better suited to deliver the goods than Abbas, although he's currently sitting in an Israeli jail and serving numerous life terms for murder.

I don't expect Arabs, and certainly not Palestinians, to accept Zionism, much less act as if the Zionist movement was a positive development for them. It resulted in the creation of a Jewish state on land the Palestinains claim as their own.

I'm not making excuses for Abbas, just pointing out that yes, we Zionists are the enemy in the eyes of the Palestinians. Did we really not realize that until Abbas opened his mouth today?