Just try to imagine what would have happened had Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stood before some Jewish forum and exclaimed that “from now on we won’t allow the presence of one Arab in our independent Israel with Jerusalem as its capital.”
The cacophony of condemnation from abroad, we can safely assume, would instantly surge into hysterical pandemonium. Livid politicos, their press and the public opinion they mold would seethe and fume as if nothing more racist were utterable. Inside Israel, the righteous ruckus would be no less frenzied and deafening.
But we can heave a sigh of relief. Luckily these words could never conceivably cross Netanyahu’s lips. This unkind sentiment, however, isn’t unfamiliar in our neighborhood. The Palestinian Authority’s head honcho and self-styled moderate keeps serially mouthing it – though in reverse.
Addressing a recent emergency session of Arab League foreign ministers in Doha, Qatar, Mahmoud Abbas unabashedly declared that “when an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital is established, we won’t allow the presence of one Israeli in it.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, this is the Arabic version of the German-minted Judenrein – “clean of Jews.” Yet no Arab diplomat was discomfited or shocked. Abbas consistently accentuates the same sentence with only trivial verbal variations. In December 2010, for instance, he put us on notice that “I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land.”