Hi Peter ~ I have been an admirer of your writing for some time. I was much inspired by your essay in the New York Times yesterday - Palestinian Refugees Deserve to Return Home. Jews Should Understand. If only the world could honestly and sincerely get to have such a conversation, so much could change for the better in the Middle East.

I wrote a comment on your essay - which was censored and not published by the NYT. So I thought I would forward it to you here - see below. If you read it through to the end, you will see I retell a story that has always inspired me - about two men - one a Jew the other a Muslim - who were close friends and successful business partners in Tangiers, whom I met in 1968.

The need for real change in the Middle East has never been more important than now. The demographic explosion taking place across the region (Egypt's population will triple in 30 years!) coupled with the inability of all major nations to adequately bring about progress and an end to poverty and exclusion mean things can only get much worse. Add to that the dependence upon fossil fuels - which climate change requires we stop using now. Yet all major powers - Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran - are in effect repressive one-party states that repress major segments if not all their populations.

Isn't this why a multi-decade long continuation of the status quo risks leading to cataclysm?

As I see it the stakes are high. But against this, the region has great human resources that if compassionately humanly mobilized could engineer a transformation.

Let's hope that can happen.

Here's my comment :

~~ "Bravo! Very well said, Prof. Beinart. I salute your courage in writing so directly in a space most often filled with extremist hate-filled visions.

Tragically, the blindness of both the repressive militarist land-crazed Zionists and their Western enablers (who supplied the nuclear weapons Israel has in abundance though professes it does not) for long decades has wrought nothing but human brutalization and tragedy.

But this surely never had to be the case?

Theodore Herzl envisioned a Zionism that peacefully purchased land to re-establish a Jewish community in Palestine. Not one that drove out an entire local population through terror at gun and knife point.

And this region's history for millennia - and much of its wealth and dynamism - came from being poliglot - the thriving commercial mercantile hub at one end of the Silk Road.

Between them Palestinians, Israelis, Lebanese, Syrians are among the most educated, professional and cultured peoples of the Middle East. Working together they could form a revitalized economic and educational hub that could transform the entire Middle East in a generation.

In 1968, in Tangiers, as a young man, I met Baruch (a Jew) and Mohamed (a Muslim) who were partners co-owning a successful travel agency. I asked them how they managed to stay partners after 1967. They replied : that's just foolish politics, we are long time business partners and friends.

Let us hope the spirit of Baruch and Mohamed can inspire now to overcome the past."

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What would Mr. Beinart say to the thousands of Jewish refugees who fled from Arab lands in 48 and the early 50’s. My wife’s family got a one way ticket out of Baghdad in 1951.—all their property and assets were seized. Should they be now compensated? They were absorbed by Israel to start anew. Should not Arab countries absorb their refugees and grant them citizenship rather than isolating them in stateless refugee camps as in Lebanon. Promoting a fantasy of return to Israel only perpetuates the conflict.

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Dear Peter Beinart, A friend who admires your writing shared your message with me today. It’s a very heartfelt message and it would indeed be excellent if what you propose came true. There are at least three reasons why it has not come true for the past 54 years, however, and is vanishingly unlikely now. The first is that successive Israeli governments, with their overweening military might, treat all Palestinians like an enemy. To the extent that during this current episode of Israeli-initiated violence, Benny Gantz, Israeli Defence Minister, said: “The army will continue to attack to bring a total, long-term quiet. Only when we reach that goal will we be able to speak about a truce.” This is not a government planning to open any doors any time soon, but a government that supports its citizens to attack people in their homes in East Jerusalem and other mixed ethnic areas of cities, to try to throw them into the street and occupy their houses, having already occupied and pushed them off most of their land. The second is that the international community have cravenly failed to withdraw all economic and military support for Israel until and unless Israel protects, respects and fulfils the human rights of the millions of Palestinian people living outside Israel-Palestine as well as inside. They have been reduced to the status of “refugees” in many people's eyes, including yours, in spite of the fact that everyone born in the territory of Israel-Palestine has a right to full citizenship and to live in the land of their birth. They are not "just" refugees. The third is that the Israeli government passed the "Basic Law: Israel – The Nation-State of the Jewish People" in 2018, which made national self-determination exclusive to the Jewish people, which is interpreted as removing citizenship from Palestinians precisely to prevent them ever claiming a right of return. In all three of these cases, the actions are illegal under international human rights law but are being carried out with impunity.

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Beautifully and courageously said. Writing like this gives me hope for a near future where a basic case for moral decency is no longer courageous, but obvious: I'm grateful to you for helping break the taboo around Israel/Palestine in U.S. political discourse.

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Sir..I need your help. If Salman Abu Sitta will endorse the Supranational Federation Model it will put the onus on the Israelis who could no longer cite the demographic threat as a reason not to move forward. https://www.pa-il.org/ Until now when approached by some of his disciples who support the model Abu Sitta rejected it and insisted that his colleagues stay away from Israelis who are promoting Federal solutions.

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"Hi Ephraim, the ideas underlying the supranational federal constitution are principally good and I think they are an important move towards a solution that accommodates the concerns of both peoples, and my first gut feeling is YES. The real challenge is how move this forward and make a disconnect with a very depressing reality where hearts on both sides are hardened and there is a represssive structure of control and occupation that makes our talk a luxury. People here say 'well, bring the occupation and siege to an end'.

Mosheer Amer

Professor of Discourse Analysis & Linguistics at the English Department of the Islamic University of Gaza

Mosheer Amer is a disciple of Salman Abu Sitta. Why cant he go public with his endorsement? He like so many others is a hostage. What Salman Abu Sitta says goes and Abu Sitta rejected the model.It is your job as a journalist to expose the fact that there are many Palestinians who are ready to embrace a just resolution to the conflict that does not include undermining the State.

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Salman Abu Sitta's rejection of Yehuda Alain Schwartz's model proves that the BDS movement is a supremacist organization that seeks a majority in a single state so that they can repeal the Law of Return for Jews. Yehuda's model offers both economic and political equality to the Palestinians while denying either party the ability to dominate the other. Abu Sitta's refusal to endorse the model should be exposed on the international stage. It is a strategic error to let sleeping dogs lie.You folks are afraid of your own shadows because you know that if Abu Sitta is exposed he will have to give his endorsement and then the Israeli government will try to suppress the Federation movement. https://www.pa-il.org/

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