Beliefnet
Is it the End of the World?

Although I am usually shouted-down, if I say so among liberals who support the Palestinians, I have a different view of their drive for statehood. It is a view seen up-close.

For some time, those who support Israel have pointed out that Palestinian leaders like Yasser Arafat, when addressing the Palestinian people in Arabic, sing a different tune about statehood.

Officially, via the famous/infamous Oslo Accords of 1993, the Palestinians are to receive a state in the West Bank and Gaza. This would entail carving-up sections of Israel and the Palestinian territories, but officially, both sides have agreed to this.

But what about unofficially? I am of the opinion that this is the only view that really matters.

As soon as he came to Gaza in 1994, from exile in Tunisia, Arafat declared to his own people that they would obtain all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. Diplomats, politicians, military planners, and other observers of this two-decade process (Oslo) all understood that this kind of rhetoric meant that Israel would disappear.

It’s just that most didn’t take it seriously.

I have long believed that Arafat meant exactly what he was saying to his own people, in private, as it were. That was confirmed to me during a recent stroll through the Muslim Quarter, in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Amid all the t-shirt designs, I saw several that were bold in their proclamations. Something I had not seen in previous visits.

Audacity.

One particular design I brought back. A simple, primitive map, with the words “Free Palestine.” Chillingly, at the top of the map, two Palestinian flags have been planted. This means exactly what you have surmised: the Palestinian people expect that Palestine will soon comprise all of the land.

This means they intend for Israel to disappear, either literally or as a bi-national state.

One can disagree with me, but I’ve been there and talked to people and seen the new boldness of the Palestinian people, who believe their long dream/nightmare of reversing the “Nakba” is about to be realized.

And that’s scary.

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