Treating the Palestinians with Respect

One good thing the coming Disengagement has brought to bare is that people have started taking the Palestinians seriously as human beings who can decide their own destiny–and I think a good deal of the reason has to do with the unilateral way Israel is carrying it out.
This seems counter-intuitive, but think about it this way: Israel has declared its intentions, and has been plodding steadily towards D-Day. Since Israel declared upfront that it will be leaving, no matter what, the ramifications within Palestinian society are no longer an item of negotiation, something Israelis would need to take responsibility for. One cannot say, “if Israel would have only negotiated more fairly Gaza would work,” or, “if Israel had stuck to the negotiated timetable, internal security would be better.” No–now the ball is in the Palestinian court, and this giving of responsibility is the first sign of respect.
Signs of this are everywhere. While Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is telling the Palestinian street to remain calm during the disengagement, Yezid Sayigh of King’s College, London, reminds readers that it really “depends on Mr Abbas.” (Previously, one could imagine a different columnist writing how it all depends on Israel). Ghassan Rubeiz, writing in the Daily Star, adds that After Gaza, suicide attacks won’t liberate Palestine. (Not that they liberated Palestine until now, but his point is well made and taken). Even the Financial Times got into the fray, quoting a Palestinian economic consultant by the name of Salah Abdel-Shafi who points out the obvious (by little before reported): the internal security situation within Palestinian-controlled areas is so bad that crime, and not the solely occupation, is a huge detriment to Palestinian success.
The list of those realizing that it is about time to treat the Palestinians with the dignity they earn goes on, including the International Red Cross, who “suspended all its field operations in the Gaza Strip in protest of the deterioration in security.” This is a huge step for an organization that until the present refuses to include the Israeli Red Star of David under its umbrella, side by side with the Red Crescent, due to opposition to the Zionist entity. Maybe now, after admitting that Israel isn’t the only country with problems of its own, the IRC will admit Israel into its fold. It could well be that the first step towards accepting Israelis as human beings worthy of dignity and responsibility is accepting Palestinians as human beings worthy of being held accountable for their actions.


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