Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Less Hysteria, Please

I'm currently listening to yet another debate between a Palestinian and an Isreali about the significance of the election of Hamas. This is a complex issue, and I only want to express a small idea here: could we have a little less hysteria?

I understand that both parties have a lot at stake here. I understand Palestinians are indeed living under occupation, and Isrealis feel under siege. I also happen to know that there are many Israelis who are not endorsing the anexation of the West Bank. I personally had a number of conversations with an Isreali who had worked on the unofficial Geneva Accords, who expressed to me indifference to the fate of Jewish settlers.

Isn't it possible to detest terrorist tactics and Islamic extremism, while at the same time not casually dehuminizing the Palestinian people, as so many pro-Israel pundits seem to do?

I also have to admit that I find it a tad disingenuous that so many Isreali pundits demand an end to violence from Palestinians, while continuing to occupy Palestinian territory and declaring their right to assasinate Palestinians they consider dangerous. Can one blame Palestinians for not automatically buying into this deal?

I just want to offer these observations in the spririt of a more balanced assesment of a prickly situation. Particularly in this country, such views are immediately branded as anti-Isreal or even anti-semetic. Such a reaction seems to imply that the only moderate position is one that implicitly endorses anything Isreal does, and holds up a blatant double standard. Surely this is neither genuinely humanitarian or liberal, but merely tribalism, the antithesis of the former.

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