Palestinian Identity as the "Anti-Israel"

"Accepting us would sever the one thread that holds them together."

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Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren has an interesting exchange of letters with the editor of Foreign Policy about Israel. One particular thing that Michael Oren wrote jumped out at me.

But a two-state solution is unfortunately unlikely and not because of Israel. We'd make most of the sacrifices -- but only because the Palestinians lack the national cohesion necessary to sustain a state structure. Our identity exists entirely independently of theirs; theirs cannot exist without denying ours. Accepting us would sever the one thread that -- sometimes -- holds them together.

That's an interesting way of putting it.

Obviously "Palestinian" identity is ahistorical. There was never any such country as Palestine or Palestinian people. It was a useful regional categorization for outside powers, not a local identity. But the Jordanians, many of whom are the same people, are equally ahistorical. Many Middle Eastern countries have manufactured identities and borders created by European powers.

They tend to be collections of tribes and families. In urban areas, their neighborhoods and cities define their identities more strongly than their national flags.

The problem with the PLO entity, aside from the terrorism and corruption, is that not only is its identity of rather recent vintage, but it's also, as Oren points out, a negative identity. Its anthem is about endlessly fighting Israel. It really is the Anti-Israel.

That's only natural since the PLO and the various Arab clans who live under its rule and call themselves "Palestinians" were used as a weapon against Israel by neighboring Arab countries. They're a militia posing as a people. They have nothing in common with genuinely stateless people like the Kurds. They're a collection of clans and armed gangs living off international aid.

And they can never move beyond that because their identity is derived from hating and fighting Israel. Without it, they have nothing in common. Even with it, they can't live in peace with each other. Without it, they would fall apart completely.

There can never be a Palestine because it's nothing more than a dark doppelganger,  a shadow form of Israel built purely out of hate and spite. It has no dreams or ambitions except destroying Israel. It's a weaponized nationalism with nothing positive underneath. If it succeeded in destroying Israel, it would have no more reason to exist and be swallowed up by neighboring Arab countries.

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