There is no equality between victors and vanquished, especially if the latter were the aggressors. Whatever were the Jews’ original intentions, Israelis launched military aggression which incidentally expelled the Arabs only after the Arabs invaded the Jewish country in the War of Independence. Since Edward Said speaks of “historical Palestine,” he should accept other historical parallels as well. Should Netherlands claim equality with the United States? Should native Americans ask for the “end of occupation, removal of settlements, real self-determination and equality”? Moreover, those actions are mutually exclusive: what kind of equality would a Palestinian state give Jews, who may not settle there and were unwelcome in pre-1948 Palestine? Yet Edward Said repeatedly claims that since Jews and Arabs have equal rights in Israel, they must have the same rights “in the occupied territories.” How can people in occupied territories be equal to the occupiers?
Israeli-Arab agreements reveal “the huge difference in power between the two sides,” but so the real world works. Laos imposed no terms on Vietnam which used it for anti-American operations, Italy pressured the Vatican to concede most of land holdings, and Mexico is grateful for whatever piece of free trade the United States offers it. Edward Said claims that peace is possible only between equals. Were that true, America would be at war with everyone.