Fourteen Points for the Palestinians

Michael Curtis

In almost all the rhetoric directed against the State of Israel and its citizens for their alleged oppression of Palestinians, there is rarely, if ever, more than token perfunctory concern for the welfare of those Palestinians or any real interest in what might be deemed desirable positive behavior on their part. It might be useful to suggest to the individuals and groups who are eagerly engaging in anti-Israeli utterances and behavior that they consider what positive actions the Palestinians and their leaders might take that would lead to a better life for them.

1. The creation of a democratic society in which there is freedom of expression and assembly.  Everyone should be entitled to comment on and criticize political leaders and their policies and existing political and social conditions without fear of consequent retribution. Human rights should be respected, and torture and terrorism should be ended.

2. The society should protect women and accord them equal rights.

3. The Palestinian society and political entity should be based on the secular rule of law, not on religious doctrine. 

4. The society should be based on tolerance in general, and on religious tolerance in particular, including the rights of adherents of other non-Muslim religions. Christians and Jews should be allowed to worship in their own way and their religious institutions should be respected.

5. The society should renounce terrorism and justification of murders of those considered opponents.

6. The society should renounce the concept of Islamic jihad as meaning holy struggle against non-Muslims and instead accept it, if they are religious, as meaning internal purification.

7. The society should disavow any relationship with al-Qaeda or its affiliates.

8. The society should publish school textbooks which are objective about non-Palestinians, particularly Israelis.

9. The society should publish accurate accounts of the history of Palestine and the Middle East. It should accept the reality there has been a Jewish presence for more than 3,000 years in the land, and that there has never been a sovereign state in the area except a Jewish one.

10. The leaders of the society should participate in peaceful negotiations with their Israeli counterparts to reach a final status agreement concerning , among other issues, borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and water.  They should agree that such negotiations are the accepted way to proceed, rather than by unilateral declarations or diversionary behavior to avoid face to face negotiations with Israelis. They should follow the lead of Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 in signing a peace treaty with Israel.

11. The leaders should realize that continuing hostile rhetoric and action against Israel is not productive for their own cause, nor is promotion of a policy of boycott, divestment, and sanctions, the real purpose of which is to delegitimize and eliminate the State of Israel. Actions of this kind hinder or prevent the possibility of a negotiated settlement.

12. The Palestinian leaders should realize that it is not helpful or constructive to define "Palestine" as meaning all the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

13. They should acknowledge that, in spite of some existing friction and problems, Israel is not engaging in any form of genocide against the Palestinian population. At the same time those leaders should end any denial or minimization of the significance of the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, its supporters and accomplices, including Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who during World War II lived in Berlin, recruited Muslims for the Waffen SS, and was friendly with Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler.

14. They should reject antisemitism, the perception of Jews expressed as hatred and which is directed by rhetorical and physical manifestations against Jewish individuals, Jewish communal institutions and religious facilities, and the State of Israel.

In almost all the rhetoric directed against the State of Israel and its citizens for their alleged oppression of Palestinians, there is rarely, if ever, more than token perfunctory concern for the welfare of those Palestinians or any real interest in what might be deemed desirable positive behavior on their part. It might be useful to suggest to the individuals and groups who are eagerly engaging in anti-Israeli utterances and behavior that they consider what positive actions the Palestinians and their leaders might take that would lead to a better life for them.

1. The creation of a democratic society in which there is freedom of expression and assembly.  Everyone should be entitled to comment on and criticize political leaders and their policies and existing political and social conditions without fear of consequent retribution. Human rights should be respected, and torture and terrorism should be ended.

2. The society should protect women and accord them equal rights.

3. The Palestinian society and political entity should be based on the secular rule of law, not on religious doctrine. 

4. The society should be based on tolerance in general, and on religious tolerance in particular, including the rights of adherents of other non-Muslim religions. Christians and Jews should be allowed to worship in their own way and their religious institutions should be respected.

5. The society should renounce terrorism and justification of murders of those considered opponents.

6. The society should renounce the concept of Islamic jihad as meaning holy struggle against non-Muslims and instead accept it, if they are religious, as meaning internal purification.

7. The society should disavow any relationship with al-Qaeda or its affiliates.

8. The society should publish school textbooks which are objective about non-Palestinians, particularly Israelis.

9. The society should publish accurate accounts of the history of Palestine and the Middle East. It should accept the reality there has been a Jewish presence for more than 3,000 years in the land, and that there has never been a sovereign state in the area except a Jewish one.

10. The leaders of the society should participate in peaceful negotiations with their Israeli counterparts to reach a final status agreement concerning , among other issues, borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and water.  They should agree that such negotiations are the accepted way to proceed, rather than by unilateral declarations or diversionary behavior to avoid face to face negotiations with Israelis. They should follow the lead of Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 in signing a peace treaty with Israel.

11. The leaders should realize that continuing hostile rhetoric and action against Israel is not productive for their own cause, nor is promotion of a policy of boycott, divestment, and sanctions, the real purpose of which is to delegitimize and eliminate the State of Israel. Actions of this kind hinder or prevent the possibility of a negotiated settlement.

12. The Palestinian leaders should realize that it is not helpful or constructive to define "Palestine" as meaning all the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

13. They should acknowledge that, in spite of some existing friction and problems, Israel is not engaging in any form of genocide against the Palestinian population. At the same time those leaders should end any denial or minimization of the significance of the Holocaust by Nazi Germany, its supporters and accomplices, including Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who during World War II lived in Berlin, recruited Muslims for the Waffen SS, and was friendly with Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler.

14. They should reject antisemitism, the perception of Jews expressed as hatred and which is directed by rhetorical and physical manifestations against Jewish individuals, Jewish communal institutions and religious facilities, and the State of Israel.