Perhaps Yossi Klein Halevi should also take a bit of credit for being a part of the problem.
There is a core principle in the Talmud called “modeh b’miktzat’, partial admission. When two claimants to a contested item appear in court (or the court of public opinion) and one side says “It is 100% mine”, while the other says “No, it belongs to both of us”, the loser is the seemingly more honest second litigant.
The Palestinian movements which claim, or aspire, to govern – PA, Hamas, PIJ, PFLP – have always declared the entire country as their land. At best, one of them paid lip service to the idea of a two-state solution as a negotiated compromise. Indeed, from the shape of Yasser Arafat’s kefiyyeh to the maps on their walls and in their textbooks, Palestine has always been ”from the river to the sea’. They never blinked.
By contrast, most Israelis have been ‘modeh b’miktzat’, agreeing a priori that some of the land belongs to the Arabs.
When this is the prevailing scenario we lose. FULL STOP.
For years, Mr. Klein Halevi, from his perch at the Hartman Institute, has been one of the foremost, and most articulate, preachers of modeh b’miktzat. And now we are all paying the price. Because the concept behind modeh b’miktzat is not a legal principle but a psychological truism. The party that is ready to share is ALWAYS considered suspect.
And because of this widespread, weak-willed modeh b’miktzat position, we never – to this day – were ready to declare that Hamas and Palestine are synonymous. That there is no real peace partner among the Palestinians. That Hamas is merely the more honest Arab party as it is says in plain English what the Palestinian Authority will only say in Arabic.
Hence, we shouldn’t wonder why a world that has never been much of a friend will be horrified over the casualties among “innocent” Palestinian civilians, and choose to view Hamas as some rogue splinter group that does not represent the will of its constituents. Because it is precisely civilians who danced in the streets and handed out candy and cake when one of their heroes would stab a Jewish baby to death in its crib. And it was and is civilians who appear to be 100% united behind the disgusting concept of pay-to-slay.
Hopefully it is not too late for the well-intentioned pavers of Israel’s road to hell, to do some serious reflection, apologize for their mistakes, and change our collective tune once and for all — starting with Yossi Klein Halevi.