Rami G. Khouri at PostGlobal

Rami G Khouri

Beirut, Lebanon

Rami George Khouri is a Palestinian-Jordanian and U.S. citizen whose family resides in Beirut, Amman, and Nazareth. He is editor at large, and former executive editor, of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper, published throughout the Middle East with the International Herald Tribune. An internationally syndicated political columnist and book author, he is also the first director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, and also serves as a nonresident senior fellow at the Kennedy School of Harvard University and the Dubai School of Government. He was awarded the Pax Christi International Peace Prize for 2006. He teaches annually at American University of Beirut, University of Chicago and Northeastern University. He has been a fellow and visiting scholar at Harvard University, Mount Holyoke College, Syracuse University and Stanford University, and is a member of the Brookings Institution Task Force on US Relations with the Islamic World. He is a Fellow of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (Jerusalem), and a member of the Leadership Council of the Harvard University Divinity School. He also serves on the board of the East-West Institute, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University (USA), and the Jordan National Museum. He was editor-in-chief of the Jordan Times for seven years and for 18 years he was general manager of Al Kutba, Publishers, in Amman, Jordan, where he also served as a consultant to the Jordanian tourism ministry on biblical archaeological sites. He has hosted programs on archeology, history and current public affairs on Jordan Television and Radio Jordan, and often comments on Mideast issues in the international media. He has BA and MSc degrees respectively in political science and mass communications from Syracuse University, NY, USA. Close.

Rami G Khouri

Beirut, Lebanon

Rami George Khouri is a Palestinian-Jordanian and U.S. citizen whose family resides in Beirut, Amman, and Nazareth. He is editor at large, and former executive editor, of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper. more »

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A Massive Moral Black Hole

Israel and its foundational ideology of Zionism have always had a structural problem with how to accommodate Arab and Jewish nationalism in a single country. Most of the world believes that the best answer is two Israeli and Palestinian states side by side, with a negotiated and fair resolution of the Palestine refugee issue that is the core of the conflict for Palestinians and Arabs. Some Israelis feel the solution is to expel Palestinians within Israel, and treat those living under Israeli occupation as residents but not as citizens with equal rights. Few Israelis accept the principle that Palestinians and Israelis should enjoy fully equal rights in two adjacent states, with the Palestinian refugeehood issue resolved through negotiations on the basis of UN resolutions and prevailing international law.

The dilemma increases every year for Israel, as the Palestinian population grows; the 1.5 million Palestinians in 1948 are now over 8 million; the 800,000 Palestinian refugees of 1947-48 are now nearly 4.5 million. No wonder Israelis increasingly fear the "demographic threat" and seek solace in right-wing parties that now form a majority in their parliament. Openly racist parties now seem perfectly legitimate in the Israeli political system -- parties that would be rightly shunned, say, in Europe or the USA.

Israel still has not come to grips with the fundamental dilemma that its creation in 1947-48 came at the expense of the integrity and rights of the native Palestinian Arabs, who now find themselves in exile, under occupation and siege, or living as second-class citizens inside Israel. That fact must be acknowledged and rectified if there is ever going to be peace for Israelis and Palestinians and many others in the region.

Proposals to expel Arabs or disenfranchise them in order to safeguard the Jewish purity of Israel are racist, Apartheid-like ideas that will never work logistically and should never be considered morally. The fact that such ideas are part of mainstream Israeli society today should be a great shame to otherwise impressive Jewish ethical traditions. There is only one resolution of this dilemma, and Moses passed it on to his people thousands of years ago to spread to all humankind: "pursue justice and only justice," and treat all people alike on the basis of a single standard of law that is adjudicated by fair judges.

Speaking of Israel disenfranchising and expelling Arabs reminds us of this massive black hole in the morality of the state that says it represents all the Jewish people. If so, the Jewish people and their state have some serious work to do in moral and psychological rehabilitation. Failing that, they risk being taken over completely by a growing mob of electorally legitimized political skinheads and moral thugs who use the fear of ordinary Israelis to create an edifice of state racism that will only perpetuate the fears and vulnerabilities of the Israeli and Jewish people, rather then resolve them.

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