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Emet m'Tsiyon

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Scholar of Arabic, Yehoshu`a Porat: The Arabs Don't Want a "palestinian state."

The weakly argued claim by the White House-State Department crowd that what they call a "palestinian state" will bring peace between Israel and the Arab world, is belied by Professor Yehoshu`a Porat, one of the outstanding Israeli specialists on the Arab world, Arab culture, and Arab politics. Porat discussed this issue with Haggai Segal of Maqor Rishon [14 III 2008].

Porat was a leader of the "leftist" Merets party until he learned about the 1993 Oslo Accord, an agreement made with Norwegian mediation, by the way [I add parenthetically that Norwegian involvement is usually disastrous, as Sri Lanka has also learned]. Porat did not trust the PLO leadership nor did he like the terms of the Oslo Accord. He belonged to Merets because of his arch-secularist views, not because he believed in "peace" with the PLO. Responding to the interviewer's question, he laughed at those Israeli politicians, particularly ministers in the present government, who believe that the PLO and/or Hamas and the palestinian Arabs generally really want a "palestinian state," as George Bush, Condoleezza Rice [riso amaro], Tony Blair & the Washington & London gangs repeatedly claim.
I don't believe that there is a chance --or that there ever was a chance-- that a palestinian state will arise.
The interviewer adds that Porat thinks that the "palestinians" don't want a separate state so much. Porat asserts:
There is no palestinian identity in itself. Their identity is Palestinian-Arab. Above all, they want the country to be Arab. Therefore, they are attached to the Arabic literary language which, like Latin, is not a living language but rather a symbol of the unity of the Arab nation. If you would propose to them that Palestine be a part of Syria, and if they believed that thereby they would get rid of us --they would not refuse. Not one of them would be opposed [to that proposal].
Of course, this is obvious to anyone who has carefully read the PLO Charter. Its first article goes:
Article I: Palestine is the watan [homeland, fatherland] of the Palestinian Arab people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.
It is obvious from this article and the rest of the PLO charter or covenant that the PLO is a pan-Arabist body. It really does not represent an aspiration to a separate state, as Porat points out. Moreover, PLO and Hamas spokesman have pointed out clearly that they do not aspire to political independence separate from the Arab world as a whole. Zuhayr Muhsayn [Zuheir Muhsein] stated this in 1977 in an interview published in the American weekly Seven Days and the Dutch paper Trouw. Mahmud al-Zahhar, a Hamas leader, stated this quite recently to the Economist, not exactly a pro-Israel publication. So when Bush & Condi & Tony & Javier Solana and any other politicians or diplomats rant on about a "two-state solution" or a "palestinian state," then they are either fooling themselves or --more likely-- fooling those who listen to them.

By the way, when Yehoshu`a Porat compared literary Arabic to Latin he was making a historical-political argument. Latin was spoken in the many parts of the Roman empire in Europe. These places included Dacia [Romania] in the east, the Iberian peninsula [Spain & Portugal] in the southwest, Gaul [France] in the northwest, and Italy in the south. When the empire collapsed, the Latin language developed into what is called Romance and many Romance dialects. Several of these dialects developed into national languages that became identified with nation-states [French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, etc.]. Classical Arabic also broke down into dialects, that is, spoken vernaculars, such as Iraqi, Syro-Palestinian, Egyptian, Mughrabi [North African]. However, most Arab states insist on the primacy of classical, literary Arabic. And that's the form of the language that they teach in their schools, although this teaching of a language that the pupils do not speak retards the pupils' development of command of any written language, leaving many kids semi-literate [as in Algeria]. The refusal of the PLO & Hamas leadership to give up the classical, literary language is an assertion of a desire for political unity, for pan-Arabism, a pan-Arabist single Arab state. Anyhow, the palestinian Arabs are said to speak the same dialect as the Syrians, so developing a form of language separate from the Syrian form/dialect would be artificial. The PLO & Hamas insist on the pan-Arab identity of the palestinian Arabs.

Porat is the author of the definitive history of modern palestinian Arab politics, The Palestinian Arab National Movement [or similar title].
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Coming: English prof who writes for the Nation, lies on Obama's behalf, and looks to the State Dept for authority; more on Jews in Jerusalem & Hebron; archeology in Israel; peace follies; propaganda, etc.

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