by Leonard Stern
The reason for the latest fighting in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is, so we're told, easy enough to understand: Palestinians in the
But what really is this about?
Richard Landes could have the answer. A professor at
Mr. Landes notes that to westerners, Arab rejectionism - the refusal to acknowledge or accept
What if the conflict is something else entirely from the Palestinian point of view? What if it derives "from a calculus of honour and shame" and thus is not amenable to negotiation but instead can be resolved only "in victory over the humiliating enemy"?
A historian, Mr. Landes argues that outsiders do not appreciate just what a profound symbol of humiliation
It was bad enough that over the generations Islam had already lost ground at the frontiers of its dominion, in
It doesn't matter that the modern state of
This humiliation expresses itself in the dysfunctional behaviours of Arab leaders, such as denial (refusing to recognize or even speak the name "
"As long as the Arab world does not recognize
If Mr. Landes is right about the Arabic culture of honour and shame, it's hard to see how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will resolve. As a western society,
A compromise that accepts
The Palestinian decision to fire rockets into
Mr. Landes essay was written before the current troubles in
A final point: Analyzing the
That's unfortunate. For six decades
LEONARD STERN is the Citizen's editorial pages editor.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
Richard Landes and Philip Carl Salzman are members of the SPME Board of Directors and Postcolonial Theory and the Arab-Israel Conflict (Routledge, 2008) was the resultant publication from an SPME Conference at