Edward Said: Palestine and Palestinians

But in the end the Palestinian problem is the Middle East problem. It is about the denial of human rights for “natives”. It is about unremitting war waged by Israel against the non-European Arab inhabitants of Palestine, a war that continues today in war-destroyed southern Lebanon and in the Occupied Territories. it is about unrestrained militarism, destruction, and overspending. Palestine is the human truth hidden beneath propagandistic thought-stopping headlines, like “resurgent Islam,” “Middle East crises,” and “Israeli democracy”. The Palestinians are everywhere  in the region: the Gulf is dependent on them, every Islamic movement support them, every liberation movement sees their struggle as the vanguard struggle. Above all, the independence and democracy of the Palestinian political struggle represents a genuine alternative to superpower maneuvers in outmoded, unacceptable spheres of influence. After all, the Palestinian idea in its essence opposes religious and ethnic exclusivism, which have  dispossessed all four million “non-Jews” (as Israel designates them officially), and proposes instead equality for Jews and Arabs alike. This is not an idea to be backed away from, especially at a time when Americans have been fed a diet of ideological hatred for nonwhites and for “Islam,” and no criticism of Israel is the easiest line to take in a country that is less critical of Israeli policies than Israelis themselves.


This is a part of chapter 7 from The book: Politics of Dispossession. An essay written by the late Edward Said in 1982 The Formation of American Public Opinion on the Question of Palestine.


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