Patrice Riemens on Thu, 7 Feb 2008 10:38:45 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Daniel Barenboim: Israeli and Palestinian (IHT)

I think Daniel Barenboim speech is yet another very worthwhile (and worth 
reading) contribution to the decrispation of the Israel-Palestine 
stalemate, based on the acceptance of the 'Other', and her right to be 

Cheers from Coulanges sur Yonne,
patrizio & Diiiinooos!

Original to International Herald Tribune: 

Israeli and Palestinian 
By Daniel Barenboim

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

BERLIN: I have often made the statement that the destinies of the Israeli 
and Palestinian people are inextricably linked and that there is no 
military solution to the conflict. My recent acceptance of Palestinian 
nationality has given me the opportunity to demonstrate this more 

When my family moved to Israel from Argentina in the 1950s, one of my
parents' intentions was to spare me the experience of growing up as
part of a minority - a Jewish minority. They wanted to me to grow up
as part of a majority - a Jewish majority.

The tragedy of this is that my generation, despite having been
educated in a society whose positive aspects and human values have
greatly enriched my thinking, ignored the existence of a minority
within Israel - a non-Jewish minority - which had been the majority in
the whole of Palestine until the creation of the state of Israel in
1948. Part of the non-Jewish population remained in Israel, and other
parts left out of fear or were forcefully displaced.

In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there was and still is an
inability to admit the interdependence of their two voices. The
creation of the state of Israel was the result of a Jewish-European
idea, which, if it is to extend its leitmotif into the future, must
accept the Palestinian identity as an equally valid leitmotif.

The demographic development is impossible to ignore; Palestinians
within Israel are a minority but a rapidly growing one, and their
voice needs to be heard now more than ever. They now make up
approximately 22 percent of the population of Israel. This is a larger
percentage than was ever represented by a Jewish minority in any
country in any period of history. The total number of Palestinians
living within Israel and in the occupied territories (that is, greater
Israel for the Israelis or greater Palestine for the Palestinians) is
already larger than the Jewish population.

At present, Israel is confronted at once with three problems: the
nature of the modern democratic Jewish state - its very identity; the
problem of Palestinian identity within Israel; and the problem of
the creation of a Palestinian state outside of Israel. With Jordan
and Egypt it was possible to attain what can best be described as an
ice-cold peace without questioning Israel's existence as a Jewish

The problem of the Palestinians within Israel, however, is a much
more challenging one to solve, both theoretically and practically.
For Israel, it means, among other things, coming to terms with the
fact that the land was not barren or empty, "a land without a people,"
an idea that was propagated at the time of its creation. For the
Palestinians, it means accepting the fact that Israel is a Jewish
state and is here to stay.

Israelis, however, must accept the integration of the Palestinian
minority even if it means changing certain aspects of the nature of
Israel; they must also accept the justification for and necessity
of the creation of a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel.
Not only is there no alternative, or magic wand, that will make the
Palestinians disappear, but their integration is an indispensable
condition - on moral, social and political grounds - for the very
survival of Israel.

The longer the occupation continues and Palestinian dissatisfaction
remains unaddressed, the more difficult it is to find even elementary
common ground. We have seen so often in the modern history of the
Middle East that missed opportunities for reconciliation have had
extremely negative results for both sides.

For my part, when the Palestinian passport was offered to me, I
accepted it in the spirit of acknowledging the Palestinian destiny
that I, as an Israeli, share.

A true citizen of Israel must reach out to the Palestinian people with
openness, and at the very least an attempt to understand what the
creation of the state of Israel has meant to them.

The 15th of May, 1948, is the day of independence for the Jews, but
the same day is Al Nakba, the catastrophe, for the Palestinians. A
true citizen of Israel must ask himself what the Jews, known as an
intelligent people of learning and culture, have done to share their
cultural heritage with the Palestinians.

A true citizen of Israel must also ask himself why the Palestinians
have been condemned to live in slums and accept lower standards
of education and medical care, rather than being provided by the
occupying force with decent, dignified and liveable conditions, a
right common to all human beings. In any occupied territory, the
occupiers are responsible for the quality of life of the occupied, and
in the case of the Palestinians, the different Israeli governments
over the last 40 years have failed miserably. The Palestinians
naturally must continue to resist the occupation and all attempts to
deny them basic individual needs and statehood. However, for their own
sake this resistance must not express itself through violence.

Crossing the boundary from adamant resistance (including non-violent
demonstrations and protests) to violence only results in more innocent
victims and does not serve the long-term interests of the Palestinian
people. At the same time, the citizens of Israel have just as much
cause to be alert to the needs and rights of the Palestinian people
(both within and outside Israel) as they do to their own. After all,
in the sense that we share one land and one destiny, we should all
have dual citizenship.

(Daniel Barenboim, a pianist and conductor, is music director of the
Staatskapelle Berlin and principal guest conductor at La Scala Opera
in Milan. He is co-founder with Edward Said of the West-Eastern Divan
Orchestra, which brings together Arab and Israeli musicians.)

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