Many stereotypes and assumptions that Mike Needham ’04 invokes in his op-ed piece in last week’s Record are simply not true, misleading or ambiguous at best. Needham mentions that Palestinian violence continues despite “substantial concession” made by the Israelis. Yet, despite these concessions, Palestinians still live in a de facto state of oppression. Their lack of representation, social benefits, and economic mobility indicate that despite “concessions” made by Israelis, Palestinians still live as second-class citizens without basic rights under a state of apartheid.
Moreover, Needham also brings up the misleading image of the Arab terrorist by mentioning the recent attack on an American ship and the releasing of over 400 Hamas “terrorists.” This is not the case. In fact, these Hamas terrorists are often at odds with Palestinian leaders such as Yasser Arafat. It is wrong to assume that Palestinian preferences are manifested within Hamas. Rather, Hamas, Arafat and other Palestinian leaders are concerned more about securing a Palestinian state than destroying Israel. In fact, it is dangerous to associate the notion of terrorist to Palestinians because the image conjures up negative stereotypes of Arabs.
Are Palestinians fighting an “immoral and anti-Semitic” battle as Needham suggests? Or are the Palestinians a nation without a state and simply trying to exercise their right of self-determination?