In the last few days The New York Times has run several opinion pieces from the Israeli or American Zionist point of view. We’ve seen none from Palestinians. Last Wednesday was a low point. Right alongside Tom Friedman urging Donald Trump to “save the Jews” from division over Israel, the Times ran a piece called, “A Settler’s View of Israel’s Future,” by Yishai Fleisher, international spokesperson for the illegal settler community in Hebron.
The article included a bible lecture about why the two-state solution was dead: “Judea and Samaria belong to the Jewish people. Our right to this land is derived from our history, religion, international decisions and defensive wars.”
But as for the fundamental question — what are you going to do about all the Palestinians? — Fleisher offered five ideas, all from Israeli Jews.
1. “Jordan is Palestine.” Palestinians in the West Bank would be given Jordanian citizenship, with democratic rights there, “but live as expats with civil rights in Israel.”
2. Bantustans. “Arabs living in Areas A and B — the main Palestinian population centers — would have self-rule.”
3. More bantustans. Seven Arab population centers in the West Bank and Gaza would be called “emirates.”
4. Give them equal rights, but keep an eye on their “birth rates” and encourage “emigration.”
5. Get out of here. “Palestinians in Judea and Samaria would be offered generous compensation to emigrate voluntarily.”
“Emigrate voluntarily”? It is shocking to read these proposals about where to stash Palestinians, offered not by some racist quoted in a news article, but a racist granted a platform on the op-ed page. It is impossible to imagine the New York Times giving such status to supremacist visions about what to do with pesky minority subjects offered by any other overlord in our world.
In stark contrast, the Times letters column ran a letter from Roderick Balfour, a descendant of Arthur Balfour, the British foreign secretary who penned the Balfour Declaration 100 years ago, pointing out that “a central tenet of the declaration has all but been forgotten over the intervening decades: respect for the status of (Arab) Palestinians.”
Balfour noted “The increasing inability of Israel to address this condition,” and concluded that the intentions of his forebear’s declaration would be fulfilled only by “making Jerusalem an internationally protected capital for all three Abrahamic faiths.”
Balfour’s assertion that Israelis can’t address the Palestinian condition is an understatement; and it is borne out by the hideous proposals in Fleisher’s opinion piece. It is a blot on the New York Times, and a sign of the corruption of Zionism, that Roderick Balfour is not granted op-ed space; while ethnic supremacists who take their writ from the bible are.
This piece has been corrected from the original which misspelled Fleisher’s name as Fleshler.