Ed: 41: May/2016
If we go back in history, Abbas used to plump for ethnic cleansing of Palestine - which was more or less official PLO policy under the Palestinian National Charter of 1968.
Abbas wrote a book in 1981 entitled Taking Advantage of Victory penned in the lead-up to the first Lebanon war, and seeking to justify the PLO's strategy at the time of striking northern Israeli communities with rockets from Lebanon.
Why do people who are not clinically crazy throw themselves into campaigns of murder and suicide? The sociological answer to this question assumes a pettiness in human nature, such that even the slightest of humiliations and misfortunes may be regarded as sufficiently devastating, under certain conditions, as to sweep aside the gravest of moral considerations. I prefer to invoke the history of ideas.
If Jews and Arabs are to exist peacefully and achieve justice in the framework of a single democratic state, as proposed by Perry Anderson, the acceptance by both peoples of the equality of the other, both as collectives and as individuals, is a necessary condition.
If Jews and Arabs are to draft a constitution that would be more than a useless piece of paper and which would secure their joint lives together, they must recognise each other as equal claimants to the land, and must recognise each other as people of equal value, regardless of their differences.
I felt a firm grip on my arm - the sudden, unexpected gesture at once a sign of solidarity and an appeal for support.
We, amongst Jews and Catholics from five continents, were standing on the grounds of the Treblinka Murder Camp, fighting back tears as we sang, together, psalms and hymns.
We had already spent two days together, as participants in the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee's twenty-third Consultation, this time in Warsaw, Poland.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigners and their supporters like to claim that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated internationally. Israel's supporters also sometimes express concern that the relentless campaign of misinformation and false blame may be having a detrimental effect on Israel's international standing.
Yet, as is so often the case with Israel, the reality is somewhat different to the perception.
Allow me to paint a picture: The office of the Mayor of the Molenbeek municipality in Brussels sits alongside a picturesque, typically European cobblestone square. Across the square, within plain view of the municipal government, sits the family home of Salah Abdeslam, the Islamic State terrorist who was finally captured on March 18th after evading authorities since the November Paris attacks. Nothing separates the two buildings, but they are a world apart.
Surveying the post-war international system in 1952, Israel's founder David Ben-Gurion wrote that European hegemony was on the decline, and that it stood to be replaced eventually by Asia.
As would happen with many of his varied insights, this one, too, proved prophetic.