Saturday, June 29, 2002

Azmi Bishara's views on unilateral-separation.
While perusing (that's a good word, Dad. I bet you didn't know I knew that one) Al-Ahram, searching for that Hafez article, I stumbled on an article by Knesset member Azmi Bishara. This guy is really intelligent and charismatic. But, along with the other Israeli Arab leaders, he’s done unbelievable damage to Israeli Arabs.

The Israeli Arabs are twenty percent of Israel's population. As such, they are potentially a very strong political lobby. They also have a lot of social and economic problems that need to be addressed. But, instead of fighting to improve their situation and help them gain full equality in Israeli society, their leaders have been busy championing Palestinian rights, inciting against Israel amongst Israeli Arabs and all over the Arab world and by words and actions, making Israeli Jews think that Israeli Arabs can't be trusted. The great majority of Israeli Arabs want to stay Israeli Arabs. They know that even if their situation in Israel is not marvelous, it's way, way better than it would be under Palestinian rule. The Israeli Arabs involved in terrorism are still a small minority, but with the help of people like Mr. Bishara, who gets a generous salary from the Israeli taxpayer, they're growing in number.

In his article, he calls unilateral separation - apartheid. "What we have is a new apartheid system that is reshaping Israel's entire political culture, and is spilling over from the ghettos and cantons of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip into Israel's own fabric. Once the doctrine of establishing unilateral barriers between the Jews and the Arabs is accepted, it requires no stretch of imagination to apply the same rules to Arabs inside Israel."

I don't get this. Calling unilateral-separation - apartheid, is saying that the Palestinians don't really want to be separated from Israel. The Palestinians say they want a state. The Israelis are worried that a fence would become a political border. States have borders, or so I'm told. Often fences mark these borders. Shouldn't the Palestinians be pleased about a fence going up? Doesn't the popularity of this idea in Israel mean that many Israelis are accepting that a political separation between Israel and the Palestinians is only a matter of time?

The Palestinians should be celebrating. What's wrong with them? (Well, that's a silly question!)

But it seems what Mr. Bishara is doing is just more incitement: "The Palestinians, both inside Israel and in the Palestinian areas, have to come together to defend continuous incursions on their freedom and future. The Palestinians need peace and equality, but first they have to remain steadfast and focused. This is the only way in which they will defeat Israel's apartheid."

This could be interpreted as a call for an uprising of Israeli Arabs, joining their Palestinian brothers in their war against Israel. Doesn't he understand how dangerous this is for his people? Doesn't he see that his words could have horrendous results?

It seems Mr. Bishara is more interested in being an Arab hero, than helping the people he represents in the Israeli Knesset.

Israeli Knesset members, by the way, when sworn into office, make the obligation (swearing is not allowed for Jewish people) to "remain faithful to the State of Israel and to faithfully fulfill (their) mission in the Knesset". (My translation). Being faithful to the State of Israel, as I see it, does not include encouraging citizens of that state to take up arms with its enemies.