Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Letters to the Editor June 14
One underestimates the Palestinians by assuming that current divisions will lead to civil war. Palestinians have remained steadfast in demanding their universal human rights despite Zionist immigration and colonisation beginning in the late 1800's, the Catastrophe of 1948 which resulted in expulsion of seventy-five percent of Palestine's population and demolition of over five hundred of its villages, the occupation of 1967, the tragedy of Beirut in 1982, Israel's breaking of bones during the first intifada; Israel's destruction of infrastructure in 2002 and the whole host of state sponsored atrocities of the second intifada, including four thousand deaths, land confiscation, prison-like conditions, and barbaric uprootings of olive trees, both symbol and source of Palestinian life. In light of this steadfastness, which in Arabic is 'sumud,' there is no reason to assume that Palestinians will break any time soon.
While Abbas' motivation for the referendum is not entirely clear, Aaron David Miller's sophistry is quite apparent. Stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country," yet Miller suggests that the Palestinian Prisoners' Document's advocacy for implementation of an inalienable right is extreme. And what's sacrosanct about Israel's "right" to exist? Israel demolished over five hundred villages, depopulated 570 of them, and refuses to let people return to their personal property. Miller's belief that the affected should now affirm Israel's "right" to exist is analogous to the rapist's victim praising the criminal's act.