Jason Koutsoukis’s profile of Palestinian MP Haneen Zoubi’s fight for “equality” is so riddled with irony, I could barely contain myself. It starts from the subheading, “a female Palestinian MP in Israel’s Knesset”. Are there any female Palestinian MPs in either of the Palestinian governments in the West Bank or Gaza? In the former, perhaps. In the latter, the repressive Islamist regime of Hamas, most definitely not! The world claims that Israel should talk to Hamas, as it is the “democratically elected” representative of the Palestinian people, but do they run a democracy? Do they act for their constituents? Do they care for the rights of women?
Where else might I find a female Palestinian MP? Perhaps in Jordan, which is over 60% Palestinian? Wrong again! On a population basis, Jordan is probably the closest thing to a genuine Palestinian homeland, but as a monarchy of the Hashemite kingdom (who are themselves a minority in that country), it is anything but a democracy.
So where is there a female Palestinian MP? In Israel, of all places.
Zoubi rejects the notion of a Jewish state, but she throws stones into the well she drinks from, as her very opportunity to represent the interests of her people arise only because the Jewish state she rejects is a genuine democracy. How many other countries would permit the election of someone who rejects the country’s very raison d’etre? How many Arab countries would even give her a vote?
She complains of the population density and infrastructure in the Arab town of Nazareth, compared with the nearby Jewish town of Nazareth Illit. “Count the parks, the sporting facilities, … cinemas … schools …”, she says. Why doesn’t she count the parks, sporting facilities, cinemas and schools that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have built using the billions of dollars the world has sent their way?
She claims to stand for the universal principle of equality, and to do this she directs world attention toward the plight of Arabs living in Israel. Relatively speaking, she just doesn’t know how good things are! She has the protection of a free press so say what she thinks. However, just a stone’s throw (or rocket launch) away, her Arab brethren (in Gaza, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and many many more places) suffer under such societies so awful that the world doesn’t even get to know how bad they are!
She says that Israel, her native country, treats her as an outsider. How have Arab countries treated the Jews native to their countries? Most have been forced to leave, and have made better lives for themselves elsewhere. It’s fine for Arabs to live in Israel, but not the reverse. Is that equality?
Coming from a priviledged background as she has, she should better use her influence to draw world attention to places that could really benefit from reform. Brought up with such a strong belief in the power of education, she should better preach that the Palestinians cease teaching malicious anti-semitism, hatred, and death culture to their children.
Haneen Zoubi, fighter for equality, doesn’t need to look far to see the inequality in the way the world treats Israel, compared to what it expects from its Arab neighbours.