"How about this idea: Since Israel is obviously such a militaristic and genocidal state, isn't it irresponsible to want to live next to it? Shouldn't Palestinian Arabs move elsewhere in the Arab world so that their children are not put in danger from the IDF and the wildly rampaging settlers we hear so much about? In fact, when an Arab olive tree is allegedly uprooted by those evil Jews, doesn't that mean that it is time to move?"There's a lot of truth in this short paragraph. After all, hundreds of Huffington Posters and bloggers like Sharmine Narwani responded to the settler killings with the following reaction: "If it is so dangerous, why don't they just leave?"
The problem, of course, is that you can say the exact same thing about the Palestinians too. And the Lebanese, and the Syrians, and the Gazans, whoever. If Gaza is a "concentration camp," and if the people living there are being "slowly exterminated," then why not flee the country? We know they have tunnels, and the last time I checked tunnels work in both directions, so there is nothing physically stopping them from going. That's the way it always works for people who are really in danger of their lives, they run away and become refugees.
Of course, the classic response to this is that the Palestinians are living in their homeland, and why should they leave? Exactly. The Palestinians make a choice to stay every single day, even though they recognize that may mean suffering and more violence. I will not fault them for that decision, because I can understand it. However, choices continue to have consequences. If you complain about the settler-on-Palestinian violence, but your only response to Palestinian-on-settler violence is to tell the settlers to leave, that strikes me as hypocritical. The Palestinians can leave too, if their lives are so hard. And to the settlers, the West Bank is just as much their homeland as the Palestinians, and unlike the Palestinians most of them wouldn't mind sharing it.
This in turn brings me back to one of the points that critics of Israel always love to make: That the Palestinians have no choice, have never had choices, and always "react" to the choices of Israel (or in this case the settlers). It is good to remind them that the Palestinians do have choices, and make them every day. Sometimes we all forget that.