Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
[ Palestinian settlements ] [ Palestinian racism, anti-Israeli incitement ]

The Palestinian Authority refuses the Jews the right of return to Palestine

Edward Said says Jews claim “fourteen Jewish buildings dating back to the Old Testament times but no longer in evidence” in Hebron. The “buildings” include what Orthodox Jews and Muslims alike believe to be the tomb of the patriarchs—and Jews are willing to live among a hostile Palestinian population to be near it. But while Palestinians demand free access and jurisdiction over the Aqsa and the right to settle in Jerusalem, they want to run the Jews out of Hebron.

Jews have some autonomy in the settlements in the Palestinian Authority but not much beyond what ancient Muslims allowed to dhimmi: self-government inside the Jewish settlements, arbitration of Jewish internal matters,[1] and light arms for protecting themselves, all Jewish household matters which do not infringe Palestinian jurisdiction. Jewish settlers have no authority outside the townships. Palestinians routinely insist on evicting the Jews, not just putting the settlements under Palestinian jurisdiction or even letting Jews live in Arab settlements.

Palestinians have comparable—and uncontested—autonomy in Israel. The Israeli government hardly involves itself in the Palestinian villages, traditionally ruled by the local Arab aristocracy or councils. Israeli Arabs are free to decide among themselves, to practice Islam, and to visit Muslim shrines in Israel. Most Israelis tolerate them; Israeli Palestinians have no formal restrictions in business or employment. Israeli Palestinians may not bear arms, but they do not need weapons since Israeli Jews do not threaten them.

Beyond a few accidents, Jewish settlers have never instigated any violence against Palestinians. How could a few Jews locked among millions of Arabs cause trouble in Palestine? Yet Edward Said claims that “horrendous [Jewish] settlers are about to let loose on the largely unprotected [Palestinian] citizens.” The Palestinian security forces and the armed Islamic terrorists alone outnumber the adult Jewish settlers, and the heavily armed Palestinians are no more “unprotected” than a third-world army.

[1] Muslim courts historically have jurisdiction over criminal cases even when all parties are dhimmis, but this is insignificant in zero-crime Jewish religious communities.