Ifat Maoz Department of Communication

Nasser (uneasy): I can’t live there

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Nasser (uneasy): I can’t live there.

Avner: Why not?

It is Avner’s turn to “enjoy” Nasser’s distress. He turns from him to the group, taking advantage of Nasser’s lack of an immediate answer. The latter tries to answer in two ways:

Nasser: My land is here. Most Palestinian people, should a state be established, will feel they belong there. But there are those who won’t leave their land to live with their own nation. Do you understand? There are two issues here. Why didn’t you agree to go to Uganda?13 You said that you differentiate between the nation and the land. So why didn’t you go to Uganda? After all, you wanted a Jewish state. Had you gone to another country, you would have felt comfortable [there] with each other and you would not have felt anti-Semitism. [But] another place has no meaning for you; it’s the same for us.

Nasser tries to differentiate between the right of the majority of the Palestinian people to fulfill their national aspirations and the Israeli Palestinians who are connected to land and are thus willing to give up living in their own nation-state (“There are two separate issues here”). Secondly, Nasser gives the example of Herzl’s Uganda plan in order to try and show a similar need by Jews to fulfill their national aspirations in a location that has had a special meaning for them (“No other place has any meaning for you? It’s the same for us”).

Avner: So, this means that the establishment of a Palestinian state, even with Jerusalem as its capital, will not resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict….Now, if I have an argument with some hawkish extremist and he says to me: “Listen, they want the Territories, they want Jerusalem and tomorrow they will want Haifa and Jaffa,” I won’t be able to tell him it isn’t true….You are fighting for a state you have no intention of living in. In my opinion, you are wrong, because once the Palestinian state is established and you come along with complaints, the first thing you’ll be told is: “You have a state, go and live there.” You are only making your own situation worse.

Nasser: I think that once there is a Palestinian state, it will be easier for us to define ourselves as Palestinians living in Israel.

This last exchange expresses the deep gap between Avner’s assertion (“you are making things worse for yourselves because you are in favor of a state you don’t want to live in”), which is a pragmatic claim, and Nasser’s belief (“it will be easier for us to define ourselves”), which is an emotional claim.

Avner: Speaking for myself, I identify with the struggle to establish a Palestinian state. Today I admit that the idea that the conflict will not be resolved when the Palestinian State is established came as a complete surprise to me.

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