No Palestinian land in 1948?

The Editor, The Sunday Star-Times, Auckland

21 August, 2014

Dear Editor:

Rodney Brooks (Israel-Palestine conflict, 17 August) says “there was no Palestinian land in 1948” when the state of Israel was formed.  The Palestinians had been living there for some time by 1948.  What else does it take for Palestinians to belong in a place, or put another way, be indigenous to a place?  

A people can organize itself in numerous ways.  Forming a nation is only one.  There may be tribes, communities, cooperatives, but they still can belong in a place.  To have the British or the UN establish a specialist nation (Jewish state) anywhere where a people lives is a very provocative action and may easily result in prejudicial treatment against that people.

Famous American analyst Noam Chomsky has been asked if the Palestinians should accept that Israel (a Jewish state) has a right to exist.  He would reply, “No nation has a ‘right’ to exist”.  Now Chomsky is not a ‘nation’ kind of person, being an anarchist, but the reply illustrates that nationhood should not be taken as the main factor in determining a people’s right to live in a place.  Looking at WW1 at the beginning of the 20th century shows how nationhood and the empires created to expand those nations (yes, including the British Empire) can go horribly wrong – “lest we forget”.  Israel today, occupying Gaza and the West Bank, and arming itself to the teeth, currently resulting in so many innocent lives lost, is another example of a nation going horribly wrong.


Richard Keller





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