A Palestinian Non-Starter

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The PLO's representative in Washington, Maen Areikat, has stated that Jews would not be allowed to live in a future state of Palestine:

 "After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated," Maen Areikat, the PLO ambassador, said during a meeting with reporters sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. He was responding to a question about the rights of minorities in a Palestine of the future.

Such a state would be the first to officially prohibit Jews or any other faith since Nazi Germany, which sought a country that was judenrein, or cleansed of Jews, said Elliott Abrams, a former U.S. National Security Council official.

The second-holiest city in Judaism, Hebron, is located in what would be a future state of Palestine. I find the current Jewish settlers in Hebron to be egregious people, but Jews have a natural and moral right to pray and live in their second-holiest city. No one would demand that Medina, Islam's second-holiest city, be made free of Muslims. How could a representative of the PLO possibly think that Jews would agree to the ethnic cleansing of Hebron? This is not about continuing the occupation. The Jews who would theoretically live in Hebron under the framework of a theoretical peace deal should be offered Palestinian citizenship, and would have to live under Palestinian law, and be protected by Palestinian authorities. But the idea that Israel would agree to a settlement in which Jews were denied their religious rights in Hebron is ludicrous.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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