ISRAELI LAWMAKERS have been given a new reason not to support a state of Palestine: it turns out that Palestinians can’t pronounce the letter ‘p’.
That was the bizarre reasoning of Likud parliamentarian Dr Anat Berko in a Knesset speech. She was alluding to the fact that Arabic does not include a ‘p’ sound (instead pronouncing Palestine as “Falastin”) but was rightly pulled up on it by fellow Jewish politicians, who asked the esteemed academic whether she was, bluntly, “an idiot”.
Yet beyond the ridicule, it demonstrates something rather tragic: the current levels of hostility between Palestinians and Jews in Israel is such that dialogue – even from supposedly responsible lawmakers – has dropped to the level of playground insults.
“You can’t have a state because you can’t even pronounce it.” That is the state of the debate. For all those in Israel and beyond who hope and pray for a lasting peace in the Holy Land, a day when millions of Palestinians and millions of Jews might finally live side-by-side with mutual respect and understanding, it was yet another [as if another were needed] depressing low.