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May 04, 2008

"In Praise Of Palestinian Steadfastness"

I have literally never in my life read something like this in an American news outlet:

In praise of Palestinian steadfastness
Despite 60 years of hardship, real achievement, too.

As Israel celebrates 60 years of statehood this month, Palestinians are taking the opportunity to remember the catastrophic shattering of their society in 1948. It is not simply a question of recalling the past; they continue to struggle for self-determination and to have their rights recognized under international law.

Yet it is a mistake to consider the past 60 years as simply a story of unmitigated disaster for the Palestinian people. There have also been significant successes and achievements – and it is a story worth telling. This is all the more remarkable, given the extent to which the society was devastated in 1948: Israel destroyed some 400 villages as 85 percent of Palestinians in what became Israel were dispossessed.

In spite of everything, Palestinians have not only survived but won international recognition for Palestinian statehood thanks to unflagging persistence. Often bereft of allies, they have struggled to make substantive political gains. But Palestinians inside Israel, the Occupied Territories, and the diaspora have resisted Israeli domination – and refused to just "go away."

The rest.

Congratulations to the author, Benjamin White, for getting this published in the Christian Science Monitor, and congratulations to the Christian Science Monitor for running it. I feel like I've fallen into an alternate universe in which human beings aren't tribalistic lunatics. Help!

I strongly encourage anyone who cares about this issue to write to the Christian Science Monitor as well as to their opinion editor directly to say thank you. It's safe to say they'll be getting a fair amount of correspondence unhappy with them.

(Thanks to Dennis Perrin for sending me this.)

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at May 4, 2008 09:23 PM

Great news... the ice keeps breaking.

The CSM has done some good things on Iraq too.

Now for the majors.

Posted by: Glenn Condell at May 4, 2008 09:51 PM

I.E., a universe where you don't long for the obliteration of humanity or yourself?

Posted by: Wareq at May 5, 2008 05:19 PM

Well, I don't feel I long for the obliteration of humanity and/or me. Being concerned it will happen is not the same thing.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at May 5, 2008 06:00 PM

The CSM has ALWAYS been a good newspaper.

Posted by: baldie mceagle at May 6, 2008 02:14 PM

Sure, let's all write an angry letter demanding Mr. White's job be taken, so we can ensure a fair and balanced media where the varying sides of an issue are fairly heard. Let us also remove the first Amendment that ensures the right of free speech and that of press. You know, the same freedoms given to you as a blogger. If you don't agree with or believe with what one writes, don't read it. Stop assuming the entire world believes what you do or agrees with your viewpoint.

Posted by: Preston at May 7, 2008 05:52 PM

"In spite of everything, Palestinians have not only survived but won international recognition for Palestinian statehood thanks to unflagging persistence."

Actually they had international recognition for Palestinian statehood back in 1948. The UN resolution then recognized both Palestinian and Israeli states. The problem has never been that the international community hasn't wanted a Palestinian state. They have, as has Israel, which has offered it many times. The problem always has been Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel. And it still is. It's easy for Palestinians to play the victim, but it doesn't have any connection with reality. All they have to do to get their state is recognize Israel. The world, and Israel in particular, is ready any time they are.

Posted by: mike at May 8, 2008 12:26 AM

Thanks for noting this article. What a blast of fresh air. I sent a note to both the Editor and the Opinion Editor, and thanks for the links, which made it easy.

BTW, I'm no relation to the previous "mike," whose comment would be howlingly funny if it weren't so deadly in its effect.

Posted by: Mike at May 8, 2008 02:40 AM