Yesterday, we learned about Mitt Romney’s country-club view of his fellow Americans.
We also learned about Romney’s view of Palestinians, which Juan Cole has highlighted and placed in a larger context.
Romney typifies the American duplicity toward the 12 million Palestinians. His campaign speaks of a ‘two-state solution.’ But in private he admits that such a thing, involving giving Palestinians their own state, is “almost impossible to imagine.” So the talk of a two-state solution is just a smokescreen for keeping the Palestinians stateless.
What does it mean to be stateless? The UNHCR has laid out the situation. Imagine that you went out to a movie and when you came back home, you found that other people had moved into your house! What would you do? You’d call the police, right? You could always prove to a judge that the house belongs to you because it is registered as your property. So the police would arrest the home invaders and restore your property to you.
But if you didn’t have a state, if you were without citizenship, then what? What if the police sided with the home invaders, on the grounds that they were citizens? What if you had no place to register your property, since you have no state to hire bureaucrats and staff archives? What if the judge rules that you don’t really own your property, since you bought it before the current government came to power and your claim to it is not registered.
Then you could just be thrown into the street at will. Stateless people don’t really own property. They don’t have a long-term claim on water, or land, or health care.