As I write this, media channels and newspapers around the world are preparing to lead with headlines about Mitt Romney’s comments on the Palestinians.
“The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace,” Romney said in a video released Tuesday, adding that “the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish”. [Full story here]
Romney has made it easy for the liberal media to hate him. And I’m not just talking about his comments regarding the Palestinians. Romney has alienated the 47% of Americans who do not pay federal tax by saying they “believe they are victims.”
Why Romney thought it would be a good idea to insult half of America is totally beyond me. Doesn’t he realize he’s got to convince people to vote for him? Insulting Americans won’t help his campaign. (That last sentence is so profound I think he should hire me as an advisor)
But what of his comments about the Palestinians? First of all, let’s look at what he said in context — something few media outlets have bothered to do.
The very first words you’ll hear when you click on that link are “I’m torn by two perspectives.”
The first perspective is that there is no hope for peace in the Middle East because of the Palestinians. The second is that there is hope for peace. Romney gives much more time to the first perspective than to the second.
Most of the media coverage has reported the first perspective and ignored the second. They’ve assumed Romney is fully in favor of the first perspective and totally disregards the second. If this were true, then why does Romney use the word “torn” when talking about his stance on the two opposing views?
It’s my view that when Romney says the word “Palestinians” he is referring to a few individuals, and also the Palestinian governments as a whole — Fatah and Hamas.
If he isn’t doing this, then he’s an idiot. To say “Palestinians don’t want peace” is like saying “Americans are fat” — only more offensive. Both are stupid statements.
To say “the Palestinian governments don’t want peace” is a very different statement to “the Palestinians don’t want peace.” Romney’s failure to distinguish between these two groups (population and government) will now most likely contribute to him failing to become the 45th president of the United States.
Is it true that Palestinian governments have shown they do not want peace?
Looking at the history, we can see that the Palestinans turned down a deal for their own state not just in 1947, but in the years 2000, 2001 and 2008 as well.
History shows that every time the Palestinians have been offered a state, no matter how generous (even up to 96% of the West Bank) the answer has always been a firm “no.”
Of course, if the Palestinian governments don’t want peace, we must ask the somewhat scary question of “What do they want?”
I have a friend who grew up in the West Bank and has seen the worst of the IDF. She was taught an extreme view that all of Israel and the territories is Palestine and all of the Jews should get out. When I asked this person how many people in their part of the West Bank believed this, the answer shocked me: 80%.
If this friend’s statement is true (and I’ve no reason to doubt it), I should probably side with Romney’s first perspective. At the moment peace is impossible, right?
Wrong. I take the second perspective.
One of my favorite quotes of all time has to be Ben Gurion’s: “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you have to believe in miracles.”
Peace in the Middle East right now would be a miracle. I’m choosing to side with Ben Gurion because I believe in the miracle of peace.
Now all Israel needs is a partner for that peace. Any takers?