Palestinians, ‘natural rights’ and the good life

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

Recently I posted the following on Facebook: It always amazes me how there are these basically pro-Israel voices that are trotted out sometimes who claim to have “visited Ramallah and refugee camps” and then they are like “these people work normally and have houses, they aren’t suffering.”

So I say to all those people who claim that Qalandiah and Am’ari camp are such wonderful areas of freedom, go live there.

This is the lie that takes place. The assumption is that any bare level of existence “proves” that Palestinian life is normal. “They have cars”, so “how can they be suppressed?” But the simple answer for all those who idealize the “freedom” of living in the West Bank as a Palestinian without citizenship of any state, without a passport, without the ability to travel freely, just go live their.

It’s so great, so throw away your US passport and go live there.

Then come tell us about how “they don’t suffer.”

It’s just ridiculous to claim that the life of people whose rights are entirely circumscribed, who basically have no rights, are living an acceptable life while being controlled by a “democracy.” People post pictures of large Palestinian homes and say “show me the suffering.” That’s true, some have large homes, but they can’t go on vacation to Paris, they can’t go to the beach, they can’t do the normal things that people do just a few kilometers away. It’s like, only if they “really suffer” in tent refugee camps and have nothing, then they can say they suffer. Why the lowest common denominator for Palestinians? Why not compare their life to your own life? Compare it and you’ll find it lacking. And that’s where the lie is.


Someone replied, “many foreign media exaggerate the plight of Palestinians.”

I replied: 


It should be exaggerated. It is outrageous that a Palestinian person born the day the Israeli democracy conquered the West Bank, is today 48 years old. 48 years without citizenship, without basic human rights.

It’s outrageous that for 48 years people have been coming to Israel, obtaining Israeli citizenship, and moving to the West Bank and living a few kilometers from a person who lived their his or her whole life and lacks any of the rights of this person who now lives next door.

It’s absolutely insane that you can have people in Azariya or Al-Bireh, and next door to them is a community that pops up with access roads and people driving back and forth to Jerusalem…and a man who lived for 40 years there can’t drive to Jerusalem. Can’t have a passport. Can’t vote in elections. Has none of the rights according someone who just got off a plane yesterday and thought “I think I’ll live here.”

Israel had 48 years to decide what to do with the West Bank. Annex it? Allow a Palestinian state?

No. Israel wants both. Israel wants no Palestinian state, no rights for millions of people. And also Israel wants to administer it and have 700,000 of its citizens living over the Green Line…not under full Israeli law.

For 48 years. Not 5 years. Not 10 years. But generations. Generations of people.

And this is called “democracy”?

It’s not democracy to take over a huge area with millions of people living on it…export 5-10% of your people into that area and then keep it in limbo forever.

Does the international community exaggerate Israel’s policies, its “crimes”, etc? Yes. Sometimes they lie. But that doesn’t absolve Israel of its responsibility. And Israel is basically irresponsible. It has abdicated responsibility. It has decided it will throw up its arms and maintain a nonsensical, and immoral, situation, forever with total disregard for the basic natural rights of millions.

That doesn’t mean that those many Palestinians who may have a visceral hatred for Israel and wish it to disappear are correct. That those who cheer terrorism against civilians are correct That Israel is wrong, doesn’t make its enemies automatically correct.

Someone mentioned that many Palestinians are wealthy, to which I replied:
The US colonists in 1775 had a decent life. Many of them were wealthy, probably more wealthy than the average man and woman in England.
But they choose to fight against the King because of basic rights such as taxation and representation.

I happen to think the colonists were right in their struggle.

So someone replied that Israel had “offered” Palestinians a state several times and they had rejected these offers.

My reply:

It’s not for Israel to “grant” Palestinians rights. They have a natural right to these things. Israel denies them these rights.

Israelis like to play little neo-colonialism of “if you Palestinians behave well then maybe we will be nice and give you some rights”.

It’s not up to Israel. Israel conquered this land with millions of people. They had a right before that to vote and have passports. Israel never had a right to deny it.

It isn’t up to Israel to “give” them a state. It’s no wonder they want to conquer all of Israel. The more Israel plays this game of denying rights and says to them “behave nice and get a reward” the more they want all of Israel.

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