We had to wait until the last paragraph of Khaled Diab’s essay in CiF, Peace Summit or the height of folly?, to learn that he rejects the very moral legitimacy of the state of Israel. He coolly notes that, “I am in favour of [one] bi-national, secular state eventually emerging.” His commentary, like so many others at the Guardian, suggests that Israel, alone among the 192 nations in the world, is not morally legitimate in it current form, as the world’s only majority-Jewish state, and thus must be radically reconstituted into the 51st majority-Muslim nation.
The ostensible focus of his essay was eight Jewish and Arab Israelis who scaled Europe’s highest mountain after months of rigorous training as part of an initiative called Breaking the Ice, which seeks to thaw relations between the two groups – sponsored by a Swiss NGO called coexistences.
Of course, Diab’s bias gleams through right away with the awkward syntax used to describe the participants, referring to them as “a group of young Israelis and Palestinians” – prompting me to initially think he was referring to a group consisting of Israelis and non-Israelis (likely, Palestinians from the West Bank). However, he then adds parenthesis to add a further descriptive “(all of whom are citizens of Israel)” – reluctantly conveying that the group consists of Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel – that is, Israelis. Of course referring to them as Palestinians who just happen to have Israeli citizenship, as opposed to Arab Israelis, is a way of dismissing the fact that, whatever the divides, and inequities, in Israeli society between Jew and Arab, Arabs’ rights as citizens of Israel are simply undeniable.
Israeli Arabs have full voting rights – one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote – and have also held various government posts, including one who served as Israel’s ambassador to Finland. Oscar Abu Razaq was appointed Director General of the Ministry of Interior, the first Arab citizen to become chief executive of a key government ministry. Ariel Sharon’s original cabinet included the first Arab minister, Salah Tarif, a Druze who served as a minister without portfolio. An Arab is also a Supreme Court justice.
Diab even does his best to convey optimism over the project, quoting Arab and Jewish participants which claim that the program did indeed, to some degree, break down barriers, before shifting gears.
His ideological pivot begins with an observation that “Some do find that dialogue and co-operation for their own sake are not enough.” He then quotes Labeeb Baransi, (a Palestinian we are told, who left his native land to study in the UK), who says:
“If they carried out the joint effort to support a two-state solution I do feel they have just wasted a tremendous amount of energy. They would have gained a great deal more if they spent it on promoting the one state solution.”
Diab casually notes that Baransi advocates one state “for all Israelis and Palestinians”, and founded a Facebook group “which counts Palestinians, Israelis, Arabs, Jews and other supporters as members.”
Upon opening the link to the One-State Solution FB group, I noticed a few things worth noting:
First, Baransi had recently posted this image on the wall of his FB group.
So, it seems that the leading protagonist in Diab’s story is a figure who believes that the intentional murder of nearly 3000 innocent American civilians by a radical Islamist movement known as al-Qaeda, on September 11, 2001 is the same crime that is being perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinians each hour of each day.
But, it gets more interesting.
While looking at the discussion tab on the FB group, there was a conversation about whether armed resistance is justified method of “resistance” – with an exchange between Diab and Baransi.
During the discussion, Baransi said:
Resistance as such has never been understood to be non armed resistance only; rather includes all methods available to those who are occupied; furthermore we can agree that armed resistance is not the best strategy for Palestinians to use, however we surly cannot deny Palestinians the right to armed resistance
“From my reading of what you write, I think we pretty much agree on most things. Of course, Palestinians (or any other people living under occupation) have a right to resist, and violent resistance is legitimate if it focuses on military targets and does not target civilians and children – so suicide bombings are out. But the question that should be asked is not whether violent resistance is legitimate but whether it is effective.”
So, the only disagreement between the Guardian columnist and his friend has nothing whatsoever to do with the morality of killing Israelis but, rather, merely its effectiveness in achieving their desired political goal.
As a note of clarity, Baransi sums up their agreed upon position.
“I think Gents we have to agree ………..When discussing armed resistance we call it that rather than violent resistance since there is a huge difference between the two and since we agree on the fact that resisting occupation (including armed resistance) is a right”
Here are snapshots taken of the conversation on the FB page (sorry for the poor quality of the images, but you can see the exchange by simply going to the FB group and seeing for yourselves. Its an open group and all of the content is viewable without joining):
Yup, just a frank conversation between friends about how best to achieve the destruction of the first sovereign Jewish state in 2000 years. Of course, one of the friends also happens to be a columnist in good standing at the world’s leading Liberal voice.