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November 13, 1987 - Image 62

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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62

FRIDAY, NOV. 13, 1987

motherhood? Of course, people should have
the right to self-determination. What peo-
ple? Under what circumstances? With
what neighbors?
You cannot have an absolute doctrine
that any group of people who say they
want to be fully free and self-determinant,
have the right to do it. You cannot say that
the Indians of South Dakota have the right
to self-determination, meaning their own
state or their own country, with their own
foreign policy.
Mr. Abourezk may say yes to that, but
I think the absurdity of it is self-evident.
I want that group of Palestinian Arabs
who desire their own state either to
negotiate it in peace and persuade their
neighbors and persuade the world corn-
munity that that's the proper next stage,
or let them fight for it.
They have tried to fight for it in their
own ways; they have not succeeded. But
it's not for me to say in 1987 that the only
answer to the Palestinian problem is their
own independent state. At the same time,
I don't want to rule it out.
MR. ABOUREZK: I agree not every
ethnic group has its own state. But here we
have a piece of vacant land. The Palestin-
ians have been trying to create their state
from the beginning of this whole thing.
They were stopped in the first place by the
partition plan, which never went through.
They were stopped by Israel declaring
itself a state. And now they say, "Okay,
we'll settle for — we don't like it, but we'll
settle for — the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip."
MR. BOOKBINDER: Between 1948 and
1967, Jordan occupied the West Bank.
During that time did you make any public
declarations about the fact that the
Palestinians were being deprived of their
own state?
MR. ABOUREZK: No.
MR. BOOKBINDER: You didn't? Could
they have been granted statehood then
without Israel preventing it from
happening?
MR. ABOUREZK: Yes.
MR. BOOKBINDER: They could have.
MR. ABOUREZK: Yes.
MR. BOOKBINDER: But they didn't. So
there was indeed a time, a significant time,
when the Palestinians might have had
their own state, but they were kept from
having that state by the Arab world.
MR. ABOUREZK: We're talking about
American policy, not Jordanian policy.
MR. BOOKBINDER: That's right.
MR. ABOUREZK: You're going back to
what the Jordanians did in the past that
might have been wrong to justify what
Israel's doing in the present that's still
wrong? Is that right? Is that logical?
MR. BOOKBINDER: You say that
American policy ought to decree for the
Jordanians, for the Palestinians, and for
the Israelis, what the nature of statehood
ought to be. Do you want American policy

to be the one to decree that?
MR. ABOUREZK: American policy ought
to follow the principles of self-
determination which have been declared by
every American government from the
beginning. We ought to follow that princi-
ple and not make an exception for Israel.
MR. BOOKBINDER: You will have total
chaos if you say that any group of people
at any time — regardless of the recent
history, regardless of the kind of allies that
are involved — has a right to say they are
a state.
MR. ABOUREZK: You cannot put words
in my mouth. What I said was the Palestin-
ians have a peculiar history that lends
itself to self-determination. They're oc-
cupied by a foreign power and they ought
to be entitled to have their own state. Let
me hear you deny that. I want to hear it.
MR. BOOKBINDER: I deny the way in

MR. BOOKBINDER:
I must say that I am
saddened by the turn that
this debate has taken. I'm
sorry that I've heard and
seen no concessions on
Mr. Abourezk's part that
Jews are basically entitled
to a secure home in the
Middle East.

which you just formulated it. I have never
closed the door to a group calling them-
selves Palestinians seeking maximum self-
determination, even statehood, if the other
parties in the area involved have been per-
suaded that that's the way to peace. I don't
close the door to it, but neither do I want
it open so wide that any group of people
that you define, Jim, can simply declare
they are a state. Existing states have a
right to be concerned about their securi-
ty, too.
MR. SHIPLER: I want to ask the last
question. Having gone through this exer-
cise now, do you still believe in dialogue?
Is it fruitful?
MR. BOOKBINDER: I must say that I
am saddened. I am saddened by the turn
that this debate has taken.
Maybe it's inevitable that when two peo-
ple feel this strongly about an issue, they
tend to exaggerate the differences. The fact
of the matter is that there has to be
understanding between Jew and Arab,
both in the Middle East and here, as
friends of peace and progress. I'm sorry

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