Fateful Triangle - Noam Chomsky

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Fateful Triangle - The United States Isreal and Palestine (Updated Edition)
by Noam Chomsky

"Fateful Triangle may be the most ambitious book ever attempted on the conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians viewed as centrally involving the United States. It is a dogged exposé of human corruption, greed, and intellectual dishonesty. It is also a great and important book, which must be read by anyone concerned with public affairs. (foreword : Edward Said)"

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Chomsky - Fateful Triangle - The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (1999)

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I had read it beforehand. I like this part:

Some further attention should be given to Howe’s demand for acknowledgement of the “legitimacy of Israel” as a precondition to negotiation. The wording is so common here as to pass unnoticed, but little thought will show that it constitutes still another device of American and Israeli rejectionists to block any possibility of a peaceful political settlement. There is no relevant concept of legitimacy” or “right
to exist” in diplomatic interactions or international law. States are recognized because they exist and function, not because they are “legitimate” or have a “right to exist.” The U.S. would certainly not declare that the USSR is “legitimate” or has a “right to exist” in its present form, or that the governments of its satellites are “legitimate.” In fact, the U.S. officially rejects the forcible incorporation of the Baltic states into the USSR, to this day. Nevertheless, the U.S. recognizes the USSR and its satellites. There are others who regard no state as legitimate, but they do not thereby oppose the mutual recognition of existing states with whatever rights are accorded them within the existing international system, though no abstract “right to exist.” Note that the demand that Palestinians recognize the “legitimacy” of Israel goes well beyond the demand that Israel recognize the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians,” as Palestinians have insisted with remarkable near-unanimity and as Israel has of course always refused to do. One can recognize that some group regards a particular institutional structure (state or organization) as its legitimate representative without thereby according it “legitimacy” as an institution.

There is no more reason to expect Palestinians to accept the “legitimacy” of Israel-that is the “legitimacy” of their dispossession from their homes-than there is for Israel to accept the “legitimacy” of Syria under Alawite tyranny, or for Mexico to accept the “legitimacy” of the United States, which stole much of its land; etc. To impose this unprecedented demand is simply to place still another barrier in the path of eventual negotiations and political settlement. Israelis may regard their state as presently constituted as “legitimate,” and Palestinians may regard the PLO as their “sole legitimate representative,” but these commitments need not be adopted by others who, nevertheless, recognize the fact of these commitments and accept the right to self-determination, whatever their attitude towards the institutional structures that result from the fulfilment (partial and distorted as always) of this right. (pp. 648-649)