October 06, 2003

A Palestinian Thought Experiment

Imagine if the Palestinian Authority had a minority rights policy of granting equal rights to christians and jews. Imagine if they enforced this even handedly starting today. Now what happens to the hard line jewish settlers who are trying to create 'facts on the ground' by building illegal settlements. In a world with a Palestinian Authority committed to equal protection under the law and equal rights, those jews create facts on the ground alright. They become a significant jewish minority in the new Palestine. Furthermore, any land that they've seized has to get paid for at market rates or they're going to get evicted.

Fundamentally, the 'obstacle to peace' that illegal settlements present is only really a problem if jews can't live in peace as a religious minority in the new Palestine. If they could, Israel could leave them on the other side of the border without paying a domestic political price and the US could pressure Israel to do just that.

The objective truth is that the PA would gain a great deal if it were to abandon its ambition of living judenrein in a 'cleansed' Palestine and to create an even handed set of laws and enforced those laws.

"So why don't they do it?" asks the naive outsider. Why would the PA give largely irrational jewish extremists such power over the shape of the new borders of Palestine? A free Palestine would be arab majority and very likely muslim majority (at the very least, it would be muslim plurality). Democracy and elections would be a much better check against jewish unreasonableness than stones and explosives belts.

I'd love to hear your answer.

Posted by TMLutas at October 6, 2003 02:28 AM