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Seth Eisenberg
Freedom matters

Free Palestine!

Free Palestine from Hamas (Courtesy Seth Eisenberg)
Free Palestine from Hamas (Courtesy Seth Eisenberg)

We can all agree that Palestine should be free. Defining what is Palestine in 2023 and what it should be free from are different questions that should also be addressed.

Palestine once encompassed all of present-day Israel, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jordan. Roughly 80 percent of mandatory Palestine is today known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where the majority of residents are Palestinian Arabs who are ruled by a monarchy installed in power by European colonialists. Palestinian Jews, Christians, and Muslims who live in modern-day Israel, as well as hundreds of thousands of Jews who were expelled from or fled Arab states, generally became Israelis. When a person calls to FREE PALESTINE, it’s helpful to know if they’re referring to the Kingdom of Jordan.

In 1949, Jordan annexed the entire West Bank (known by Israel as Judea and Samaria), a move that was recognized by very few nations until it was ultimately cancelled by Jordan itself. The status of that territory has remained disputed since 1967. Through an agreement with Israel, much of the area has been administered by the Palestinian Authority since 1994. The area encompasses just over 2,000 square miles and is slightly smaller than the State of Delaware. When a person calls to FREE PALESTINE, it’s helpful to know if they’re referring to the West Bank (of the Jordan River).

The Gaza Strip is an area of approximately 140 square miles that was administered by Egypt from 1949 until 1967 (with a brief interruption in 1956). Israel won control of the Gaza Strip as a result of the 1967 Six Day War. The territory borders both Israel and Egypt. Israel fully withdrew from the territory in 2005, turning responsibility over to the Palestinian Authority.  The Palestinian Authority lost control of the Gaza Strip to the Hamas terrorist organization in 2007. When a person calls to FREE PALESTINE, it’s helpful to know if they’re referring to the Gaza Strip.

Once you know what area a person is referring to when they call to FREE PALESTINE, it’s important to find out if you can agree on some basics.

  • FREE PALESTINE from BARBARISM.

Extreme cruelty or brutality.

Can you agree that Palestine should be free from the practice of extreme cruelty or brutality directed towards its residents or others?

  • FREE PALESTINE from DICTATORSHIP.

Absolute authority in any sphere.

Can you agree that people should be ruled by democratically elected representatives who are responsible and responsive ultimately to the people themselves, with free and fair elections held regularly?

  • FREE PALESTINE from INCITEMENT.

Provoking unlawful behavior.

Can you agree that the leaders of Palestine will not incite people to unlawful behavior, such as the harming or killing of others through media and education programs?

  • FREE PALESTINE from HATRED.

Intense dislike or ill will.

Can you agree that the leaders of Palestine will not promote hatred towards other people?

  • FREE PALESTINE from TYRANNY.

Cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control.

Can you agree that the leaders of Palestine will be compassionate, reasonable, and fair in their use of power and control?

  • FREE PALESTINE from CORRUPTION.

Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power.

Can you agree that the leaders of Palestine should be held to legal and moral standards that discourage and punish dishonest and fraudulent conduct?

  • FREE PALESTINE from RACISM.

The belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.

Can you agree that the leaders of Palestine will recognize that all people are inherently equal and not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, or religion?

  • FREE PALESTINE from HYPOCRISY.

The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.

Can you agree that institutions and leaders of Palestine will be discouraged from claiming to have moral standards or beliefs which don’t conform to their actual behavior?

  • FREE PALESTINE from REFUGEES.

A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

Can you agree that the leaders of Palestine will aspire to ensure that every person who was forced to leave their country and is without legal citizenship is promptly and permanently resettled so they no longer have to live with their status questioned or uncertain?

  • FREE PALESTINE from POVERTY.

The state of being extremely poor.

Can you agree that the leaders of Palestine should be responsible for implementing policies that direct the area’s resources towards the best hope of creating prosperity for their people?

If you can agree on most or all of these aspirations with those who want to FREE PALESTINE without destroying Israel, you’ll have created meaningful building blocks for a better future. Whether it takes years or decades to create that future depends mostly on the people themselves.

On the other hand, if you discover that a person calling to FREE PALESTINE is actually calling for the destruction of the State of Israel, you don’t have anything to talk about any more than you’d have with someone calling for the destruction of any other sovereign nation.

About the Author
Seth Eisenberg is President of the PAIRS Foundation, a former At-Large chair of the National Writers Union, elected labor leader, and pro-Israel activist. He is an author of Instructions for Intimacy, The Laundry List of Relationship Mishaps, Knots and Double Binds, PAIRS Essentials, Warrior to Soul Mate, PAIRS for PEERS, and the SHALOM Workshop. He can be reached via LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/setheisenberg/.
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