6 November 2003

Peace not a question of legitimacy, but of humanity

The notion that a whole nation can be brought to its knees by the use of unbridled violence, or that the will of a people can be defeated by military means must be discarded once and for all. Armies may be able to defeat other armies, but the limits of power are most apparent when used against civilians and non-combatants. Along with that, the fallacy that there is or can be a military solution to the conflict must be completely and irrevocably discarded.

I think Ashrawi probably won her recent contest of legitimacy with the Jewish lobby. Once upon a time, when South Africa's apartheid regime was still planning to stay in power forever, they had great difficulty justifying why someone like Desmond Tutu could not vote and were never going to vote.

Ashrawi's opponents seemed to have the same trouble justifying why she should be silenced. All they could produce to justify that silencing were fabrications. Palestinians are human and that gives them the same rights as Israelis. Denying those rights is not the road to peace. Nor is keeping them silent.

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