In English publication, Israeli Palestinian pol calls for — sit down — liberal democracy

Israel/Palestine
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Oh my, why isn’t this in the American press? The New Statesman interviews Haneen Zoabi, the Palestinian Member of the Knesset who went on the Gaza flotilla and is now a subject of widespread hatred in Israel. The New Statesman even has a nice picture of her. Jeez. Oh and I wonder: Did the flotilla experience transform Zoabi’s views? Every day are more Palestinians losing faith in the idea of freedom through Partition? And if so, why should liberal Americans adhere to that idea? But how can we even discuss these ideas if our journalists regard the following sort of conversation as taboo? So many questions! Samira Shackle of NS, asks Zoabi:

Do you endorse a two-state solution?
The reality of Israel’s actions shows us that it’s unrealistic to have a real sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as the capital. The more realistic solution is one state with full national equality for both national groups.

Is the west right to refuse to engage with Hamas?
No one can tell the Palestinian people whom to choose as a government. Hamas is not a terrorist organisation. I don’t think that Hamas has a clear political vision, but regardless of whether I disagree [with it], the international community cannot mediate neutrally if it starts to label the organisations of the Palestinians as illegitimate.

Are you against the very idea of Israel?
We do not want to throw Jews into the sea. We are not against Jews. We are against Israeli policies and the definition of Israel as a Jewish state.

How does the struggle in the Palestinian territories compare to your own in Israel?
This is the difference – as citizens of Israel, we are utilising all the tools that we have, but those in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have given up resisting occupation.

What about the Palestinian Authority?
The PA seems more focused on building a state than ending the occupation. It’s irrational; you can’t negotiate borders while Palestinians are under siege and Israel is expanding settlements.

What is your hope for Arab citizens in Israel?
I have a vision of our rights as indigenous people. We didn’t migrate to Israel; it is Israel that migrated to us.

You’ve been quoted as saying that it would be a good thing for Iran to have nuclear weapons.
That is inaccurate. It cannot be that someone who is struggling against oppression is calling for nuclear weapons. But if the world doesn’t prevent Israel from having nuclear weapons, why does it prevent others?

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