Palestinians should walk the talk

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Palestinians should walk the talk
By Fadi Zanayed —
If the Palestinians compromise their position on the settlement freeze, they will in effect, legitimize the settlement’s illegality. How can Palestinians embark on the process that should discuss the dismantling of the settlements and the ending of the occupation if they agree to the resumption of construction of new settlements? It just does not make sense.

If Israel lifts the settlement freeze, then Palestinians should immediately pull out of the peace talks—as they have threatened. The factor that the Netanyahu coalition government might collapse is really of no concern to the Palestinians as they should not base their policy on internal Israeli affairs.

(Fadi Zanayed is the former president of the Chicago Chapter of the Palestinian American Congress.)

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Menidor recently indicated that a Palestinian compromise on settlements would be an indication of good faith on broader issues. The onus is on Israel not the Palestinians on this issue. Israel cannot expect the Palestinians to allow the increase of that which they want decreased or removed. Palestinian spokesman Husam Zomlot said it right, “Flexibility and creativity do not apply on illegality.”

The settlements are illegal. The Palestinians cannot agree on allowing Israel to construct new illegal settlements for that will only legitimize the old and new illegal settlements.

Negotiations are to be conducted when the parties negotiating are on parity, i.e. each has something to gain from the ultimate agreement of the parties. The opposite is not always true, i.e. that each has something to lose should the negotiations collapse. Should the peace talks collapse, the only other solution to the conflict is a one state solution. This cannot be in Israel’s favor as the Jewish nature of its government would be eventually lost by sheer numbers of Arabs visa vie Israelis.

On the other hand, the Palestinians will be in the same state as they were in for generations should peace talks collapse. The birth rate factor is on the Palestinian side.

To stay on parity, if we can say that the Palestinians entered into the current peace talks on parity, the Palestinians must mean what they say by doing what they say. They said that they would walk out of the peace talks if Israel resumes settlement construction. They should keep their word and walk the talk

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com