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March 24, 1989 - Image 37

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-03-24

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the November 15, 1988
statements, including a two-
state solution. He feels that's
a solid majority. "We did not
try for 99.9 percent," he said.
But the Israelis worry that
statements such as Hus-
seini's will make their job
back home that much harder.
The differences, the glitch-
es, the occasional insensitivi-
ty of one side and paternalism
of the other, are seen by most
participants as part of the
learning process. After more
than 40 years of shooting at
each other, the two sides,
whether officially or not, have
begun to talk. The partici-
pants clearly believe that
these dialogues around the
world will pave the way for a
scenario more and more Isra-
eli and American Jews see as
inevitable: the government of
Israel talking to the leader-
ship of the PLO.
Some of those attending
have been participating in
Israeli-Palestinian dialogues
for as long as 12 years and see
an evolution in people's will-
ingness to talk and in the
nature of the discourse. "Peo-
"Maybe we have to
ple used to yell at each other,"
said Reena Bernards, director
accept dividing the
of the Jewish Women Lead-
land so that the
ers' Consultation on Israel,
child can live."
which brings together Amer-
ican Jewish and Palestinian
first time. More than one par-
women leaders for discus-
ticipant has left a session to
sions. "A meeting at Tufts
recover from anger or frustra-
University three years ago
tion at something said from
totally disintegrated. People
the podium by the other side.
used to argue about Zionism,
It's clear not all Palestin-
about whether the Palesti-
ians have given up the dream
nians left in '48 or were forced
of a secular-democratic state
out."
in territory including pre-
But the Columbia/Confer-
1967 Israel. The words of Ziad
ence
clearly focuses on the
Abu Ziad, a journalist from
future. "They're beginning to
East Jerusalem, make clear
learn how to talk to each
the extent of the compromise
other in a way that can have
a two-state solution
an effect on each other's poli-
represents to the Palestinian
ty," said Tom Smerling,
national movement. "There
Washington foreign affairs
are three and a half million
consultant. "The Palestinians
Jews in Palestine that we can-
use the phrase 'Jewish State'
not kill, we cannot expel. If
now. Each side is learning
they don't want to share with
how to talk so the other side
us the government, they'll
can hear." The significance of
have to share with us the
this conference, he said, is
land." Hatten Husseini, a
that it is part of the
political science professor and
"banalization of contact with
PNC member, was more di-
the PLO."
rect. "I'm against a two-state
Still many Israelis and
solution;' he said. "I am
other American Jews are at
against states. I want a
the conference ask: Are we be-
homeland. I want to return to
ing duped? Leah Shakdiel,
my homeland. I want the law
who made a name for herself
of return of Israel to apply to
when she won a seat on
me."
Yeruchamis religious council
When he is taken to task by
only to be denied it because
the Israelis on his panel, Hus-
she was a woman and won
seini backs off, insisting on
her case in Israel's highest
his right to dream. Nabil
court, said: "We negotiate
Shaath points out that 88 per-
and then we find out." ❑
cent of the PNC had agreed to

"It is our right to refer to
whom we want;' says Abu
Lughod. "We cannot be dic-
tated to by the other side. We
don't have to agree."
Esther Leah Ritz, a panelist
and past president of the Na-
tional Jewish Welfare Board
and the Milwaukee Jewish
Federation, among other
organizations, tries again.
"Identification with Berger
and Chomsky as people to be
emulated is a rejection of
Zionism and of the State of
Israel. It does not give you ac-
cess to those with whom you
have to take peace."
The Palestinians. inject a
dose of unpleasant reality:
"The (real) negotiations will
take place between people
less pleasant than us, on both
sides;' says Rashid Khalidi, a
history professor at the
University of Chicago. "Don't
expect ranked unanimity
from Palestinians. We have
many views."
A barrier that will not be
overcome at this conference
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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

37

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