Edward Said's demand for statehood and the right of return for Palestinian "refugees" implies a double standard for Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinians can choose between an ethnically homogenous Arab state without Jewish settlements or living in economically attractive Israel. Edward Said, however, does not demand that Israelis be authorized to resettle peacefully in, say, Iraq and Arabs restitute them for property their ancestors abandoned. Many reject the concept of Israel as a purely Jewish state, but the Palestinians do not want Jews in their midst. The same perverse logic is applied to the Jewish settlements: Jewish towns may not exist in the Palestinian territories, even in the religiously sensitive areas for Jews, but the Arabs administer Muslim shrines in Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, central to Judaism.
The Palestinians want an ethnically homogenous state, no Jews. Edward Said objects to the small Jewish settlement in Hebron whose 450 people “must be made to leave.” But Hebron is significant for religious Jews and has been for three thousand years, not just for the last thirty years that Palestinian Arabs have found Jerusalem important.
Edward Said says Israel must apologize for the grief Palestinians suffer, though he does not expect Arabs to regret what they did to Jews for years before the Israeli state was formed in 1948. Professor Said laments the Palestinians who died but excuses the Jews killed by Palestinians before 1948, during the Israeli War of Independence, in the Arab-Israel War of Attrition, in Israeli border shelling, and in Palestinian terrorist attacks. If, on the balance, anyone deserves reparations for lives and property, it is Israel.
Edward Said wants Israel not only to give away the Palestinian territories to Arabs but also to do so “in humility and reconciliation.” Imagine Mexico asking this much of the United States. Edward Said can concede to “recognizing Israel in our [Arab] midst,” provided Israel resolves certain issues to Said's “minimum satisfaction.” That is nonsensical bravado coming from a defeated Arab enemy. The defeated Palestinians hope to appeal to Israeli Jewish morality after failing with other means.