The "Right To Exist".
Counterpunch has a great knack for publishing articles at the precise moment the discourse requires them. This one, on the question of Israel's sacred "right to exist", is no different. Given the election of Ehud Olmert, a man quite possibly more reactionary and racist than the Fat Butcher himself, there is a dire need for a bit of realism in the debate. The author, Virginia Tilley, says exactly what needs to be said:
It is entirely legitimate for Hamas to require firm confirmation of Israel's borders before recognizing it. It should also be incumbent on the international community to confirm where those borders will be before insisting that Hamas recognize Israel's "right" to them. Otherwise, recognizing Israel's "right to exist" could be construed to mean that Israel has a "right to exist" within whatever borders it chooses in coming years.
It's bizarre. Israel has a "right to exist", but the Palestinian nation either does not exist or doesn't have a right to exist depending on what particular Zionist one is speaking with. How is this? Furthermore, what about the right of Palestinian children to exist - rather than be murdered or starved to death. What about the right of the Palestinians to collectively decide who their representatives will be? What about the rights of Palestinians who were forced off their land by the militias to return to their homes? What about the right of the Palestinian people to resist occupation?
You see, this is the problem. You can't deny other people their rights for 5 decades and then complain when they fail to respect yours. Either everyone has the rights that Israel has (the right to land-grab, expand, kill people with impunity) or no one has them. If Israel has them alone, then they are not "rights", they are privileges. They are privileges that have been accorded to Israel simply because of its importance to the system of Imperialism.
Hamas shouldn't declare that Israel has a right to exist for two reasons:
1) To do so would be a betrayal of the platform on which they were elected in a democratic election
2) The Israeli state exists on the precondition that others nations - principally, the Palestinian nation - don't have the right to self-determination. Therefore, to recognise to Israel's right to exist, the Palestinians would be recognising their own right not to do so.
Their "rights" would remain the same as they are today: the right to be humiliated and debased, the right to be poor, the right to be oppressed and occupied, and the right to be killed.