We Are a People, a Response to Sari Nusseibeh

(Ha'aretz) Shlomo Avineri - Nusseibeh maintains that a modern nation-state cannot be defined in religious or ethnic terms. This is just factually wrong: European countries like Greece and Ireland define themselves in such terms, as do most Arab countries, which even have this in their official names: "Arab Republic of Egypt," "Syrian Arab Republic." According to Nusseibeh, defining Israel as a Jewish state would deny the possibility of the return to Israel of the Palestinian refugees and their descendants. He gives their number as 7 million. If one is to understand the implications of this sentence, then Nusseibeh supports the return of these seven million to Israel. Those of us who have no problem recognizing the Palestinians as a people, based on their own self-determination, are left with a feeling of bitter disappointment that a Palestinian intellectual and philosopher who insists on the right of the Palestinians as a people to a state of their own, is not ready to accept the self-determination of the Jews as a nation. The abyss currently separating moderates in Israel from the most moderate of Palestinians is indeed very deep and the chances of reconciliation do not appear to be likely. The writer, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, served as director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry.

2011-10-21 00:00:00

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