But with the latest attempt foundering last year and despite changes in leadership over the years, the conclusion that now has to be drawn is that, when it comes to Israel, the WMA is not fit for the purpose for which it was created after World War II.
The statement was backed by the Presbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ, Alliance of Baptists, American Friends Service Committee and dozens of other faith organisations.
“We are alarmed by legislation recently passed in a number of states penalising participation in the nonviolent, grassroots Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights,’ the groups said, ‘and by similar legislation that is proposed in the US Congress.”
“As faith leaders, we have long used the nonviolent instruments of boycott and divestment in our work for justice and peace.”
Palestinian-Israeli writer Odeh Bisharat is quoted: “If there is no shared narrative of the past, then let us at least write one of the future.” But as Enemies and Neighbours expertly describes, Israelis and Palestinians have spent the last century escaping each other’s narratives and are still doing nothing to write a new one.
Only a minority of refugees seek to return to urban areas densely populated by Jews. In most of these areas the original houses have been destroyed, and there is no obstacle to having refugees live anywhere in nearby areas — much in the same way that Jews and Arabs live together today in cities like Haifa. As for the small minority of cases in which the original houses remain intact, the Israeli organization Zochrot teamed up with Palestinian NGO Badil to formulate a joint legal framework document, which provides a guide for current residents and original owners to reach a joint agreement.
The birthday may not impact Americans as much as the 50th anniversary of the occupation, which caused a lot of navel-gazing last June in the U.S., but the Balfour Declaration was endorsed by the Wilson administration and there are events planned here too.
That’s exactly what the Jerusalem bill is meant to accomplish: to normalize the idea of annexation — the idea that Israel can unilaterally redraw boundaries to include and exclude certain population groups (Jewish and Arab, respectively), and claim as its own whatever territory it pleases.
Professor David Palumbo-Liu discusses how our commitments to empathy and ethics can only be met if we acknowledge the ways the realities of Palestine have been obscured and distorted. He examines three key concerns related to human rights that Said addressed via his study of literature and suggests a vision of comparative literature that might conjoin with the model of literary studies Edward Said embodied, at the center of which was the issue of rights.
By Mohamed Mohamed
The bottom line is that Palestinians were thrown out and their country was indeed taken away from them. The argument that there was never an official Palestinian state or explicit national identity before Israel is irrelevant and hollow, and does not justify Israel’s expulsion of Palestinians, the theft of their land, or the continued denial of their basic civil and religious rights.