The Palestinian view, home-consumption version

Just FYI:

    Just a day after Israeli and Palestinian leaders at the Annapolis peace
conference pledged to negotiate a peace treaty by the end of 2008,
Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority continues to paint a picture for
its people of a world without Israel.

Find the report at the Web site of an organization called Palestinian Media Watch.

How is Israel supposed to negotiate, in any rational sense of the word, with a party whose dream for the future is a world in which Israel does not exist?

I mean, I sincerely hope Annapolis leads to progress — we’ve got to do something. But what sort of concessions can you hope for from the genocidally insane? Of course, maybe the handshakes were for real, and PMW is engaging in propagandistic fantasy. Unfortunately, I doubt it.

13 thoughts on “The Palestinian view, home-consumption version

  1. Herb Brasher

    It is sad that we can only refer to the Palestinians as “genocidally insane,” which expresses no sympathy whatsoever for the plight and suffering of the Palestinian people. I’m afraid it is this kind of polarizing language, on both sides, that continues to exacerbate the problem. The spirit of the Crusades lives on. . . .

  2. Mike Cakora

    According to Daniel Pipes Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has injected a bit of clarity into the Annapolis meeting:

    Unless the Palestinians recognize Israel as “a Jewish state,” Olmert announced on November 11, the Annapolis-related talks would not proceed. “I do not intend to compromise in any way over the issue of the Jewish state. This will be a condition for our recognition of a Palestinian state.”

    This has not gone over real well with the Palestinian team, one of whom remarked that there is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined. Pipes helpfully points out the idiocy of this statement, noting “Saudi Arabia even requires that every subject be a Muslim.”
    Palestinians won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state because they want to eliminate it as a Jewish state, one way or another. Pipes concludes:

    Arab recognition of Israel’s Jewish nature must have top diplomatic priority. Until the Palestinians formally accept Zionism, then follow up by ceasing all their various strategies to eliminate Israel, negotiations should be halted and not restarted. Until then, there is nothing to talk about.

    Hey, the Saudis made plans to attend only after they wouldn’t have to shake hands with the Israelis, so why bother meeting at all?

  3. Michael Berg

    Mr. Warthen,
    You look at a website which shows the Palestinian desire for a united Arab Palestine, and then conclude either that the Palestinian Authority or the entirety of the Palestinian people are “genocidally insane” (It’s not clear which from your writing).
    First of all, Israeli media and schools are just as able at promoting Jewish hatred towards Palestinians as Palestinian media and schools are at creating Palestinian hatred towards Jews.
    Second, the desire for a united Palestine is most likely unfeasible, but is not an indication of the “genocidal insane”. It’s the rhetoric of a powerless people who have experienced the having the the Zionists take their homeland in successive steps over the last one hundred years. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert now publicly acknowledges what Jimmy Carter and thousands of other have shown before – the present Israeli Zionist state is a racist state where Jews have more rights than non-Jews, just as in Apartheid South Africa whites had more rights than black. The desire of the native inhabitants of Palestine to overthrow such a system is no more genocidal than the desire of the native black South Africans to overthrow the Apartheid regime. (Recall that before Mandela was called a hero, the U.S. Dtate Department referred to him as a terrorist).
    Getting beyond the realm of rhetoric and into the realm of reality, a place you claim to reside in, the leadership of both the PA, Hamas and the entire Arab world have agreed to a two state solution according to the outline of UN Resolution 242. This solution would grant 22% of historical Palestine (Gaza and the West Bank) to the Palestinian people. The other 78% of historical Palestine would be the Jewish state of Israel. The Arab states would work with both parties to secure their mutual security. Israel would need to provide some type of compensation to the 7 million Palestinian refugees and decedents whose land was taken in 1948 and 1967, and an equitable agreement on water rights. In return, Israel would gain a full peace and recognition in the Arab world. Israel could then exist as a normal state with normal trade and political relations with its neighbors.
    The leadership in the Arab world is sick of war, and wants some sort of settlement that their populations would accept. Thus, they have offered one, which complies with international law.
    However, Israel, with American support to the tune of billions of dollars of yearly aid, will not agree to a solution. Israel has been building Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank since it occupied the territory in 1967. The settlement building greatly increased with the beginning of the Oslo Accords and has continued throughout every Isreali administration, regardless of political party. These settlements occupy the best land and give Jews control the water in the West Bank, allowing Jewish agriculture to flourish at the expense of Palestinian agriculture. The settlements are connected by Jewish-only roads which divide Palestinian society into tiny, fragmented section. To get from one section to another requires long, humiliating waits and searches at Israeli checkpoints, a process which has devastated the Palestinian economy. There are now 275,000 Jews in West Bank Settlements and another 200,000 in what was formerly the Palestinian portion of Jerusalem, East Jerusalem.
    Some of these settlements are populated by Jewish fanatics who are allowed to carry arms and terrorize the Palestinian population.
    These settlements effectively make a two state solution impossible unless they are dismantled or Israel allows Jews in the settlements to be under Palestinian jurisdiction, something they have made no indication of doing.
    Meanwhile Gaza has been cut off from the world. While militants in Gaza shoot rockets out of Gaza into a Jewish town of Sderot in the Negev, terrorizing the town of 22,000 people and occasionally killing someone, Israel routinely invades Gaza, killing hundred of people and terrorizing a population of 1.5 million people. Israel targets the civilian infrastructure in Gaza, destroying their capacity to produce power and manage their sewage and health system. Gaza, which once was somewhat prosperous by third-world standards, now is one of the worst places in the world to live, the world’s largest prison camp. The majority of Gazans are refugees displaced by the 1948 and 1967 wars.
    I suggest that you spend some time in the Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin, Bethlehem and in Gaza so you can learn about what the Palestinian people endure everyday. The rhetoric can be nasty on both sides, but when you get beyond the rhetoric, it is the state of Israel that is the main obstacle to a peaceful settlement to this crisis.

  4. Brad Warthen

    It occurs to me that y’all are not looking at the map in the picture. See anything missing? Like, you know, Israel?
    Now stop and think a moment, and think what it would take to make Israel disappear like that. Then get back to me on the genocide thing.

  5. Michael Berg

    First of all, if Israel as a Jewish state disappeared, that wouldn’t neccesarily mean there was a genocide. The disappearance of South Africa as a Afrikaaner dominated Apartheid state did not lead to a genocide of White South Africans. I bring this up to point out that the rhetoric of a united Palestine is not neccesarily genocidal rhetoric.
    More importantly, do you really think that Israel is that fragile? I don’t know what you see in your map (that it’s small?), but there is no significant military threat that could make Israel disappear like that. Israel has the strongest military in the region, outside the United States forces in Iraq. Israel has nuclear weapons, and would nuke the capital city of any Arab state that seriously made any progress in destroying Israel. At a military level, Israel can destroy its neighbors but the neighbors can’t destroy Israel.
    Who are the neighbors of Israel? The potentially strongest neighbor of Israel is Egypt, which has a peace agreement with the country and has the large buffer zone of the Sinai between its forces and Israel. Syria is the second strongest, but still quite weak compared to Israel, and appart from rhetoric Syria’s objective is not the destruction of Israel but rather the regaining of the Golan Heights, which it lost in 1067.
    Jordan has a peace agreement with Israel, and is a weak, poor state. Lebanon is fractured, and while Hezbollah is a significant foe on the border, nobody seriously believes that Hezbollah can conqueor Israel.
    Iraq is occupied by the United States. Iran is far away, and any air attack on Israel would be met my nuclear weapons in Tehran.
    Who is going to destroy Israel, Yemen?
    Israel cannot be destroyed from without. Terrorism (warfare of the stateless) can create hardship for Israelis but poses no existential threat to Israel.
    The biggest threat to Israel is its essential contradition of claiming to be both a racially based Jewish state and a democracy. The biggest threat is the contradition of claiming to negotiate for peace and expanding settlements. Israel’s behavior is not only destructive to others but it is self-destructive, and the only way it can survive as a state is to acknowledge these contradictions, acknowledge the wrong done to the long suffering Palestinian people, and agree to the terms of international law.

  6. bud

    Good job Michael pointing out the other side in this very difficult situation. We should be reaching out to moderates on both sides in this dispute. To selectively condemn all Palestinians while completely exhonirating all Jewish Isrealies misses half the picture.

  7. Michael Berg

    I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying that there is a difference between opposing a political system in which one race dominates another, and the belief that all the people of the dominating race should be killed.
    Was Nelson Mandela genocidal for rejecting the little puppet Bantustans and insisting on a united, democratic South Africa?
    You trivialize the word genocide when you throw it around like this. This is a disservice to those who have died in real genocides in this world. It is especially grotesque to label a people who are at this moment under the yoke of an oppressive occupation as genocidal towards there occupiers. It is the same rhetoric of fear that the Whites in South Africa used to demonize those they oppressed.
    The “fervently held” intention of the Palestinian people is to be able to live, farm, drive, in their land. The hatred towards Jews arose in response to the fact that Jews took their land. The hatred on both sides can be overcome, but it is the fact of one side being an occupier and the other being occupied that is the essence of the problem, not the hatred.

  8. Brad Warthen

    Michael, the people who made that map want the Jews gone. You know — POOF! Gone.
    As for bud’s comment: “To selectively condemn all Palestinians while completely exhonirating all Jewish Isrealies misses half the picture.”
    And who, pray tell, did anything of the kind?

  9. Michael Berg

    Brad, you keep talking about cartography. Do you know set the borders for the map of the Middle East east? It wasn’t the Arabs. Here are the parties responsible for the map:
    1. The British
    2. The French
    3. The Zionists
    Do you think that these parties want the Jews gone?
    The irony of this situation is that rhetoric aside, all the Arab parties have accepted the existence of Israel and necessity of a two state solution. Israel has achieved victory and refuses to accept it, for political and ideological reasons. Normal economic and political relations with its neighbors in exchange for a degree of justice for Palestinians. This offer is on the table and has been for years. No party has demanded that Israel disarm or nor defend itself.
    Until Israel agrees to meet the basic framework of a just solution outlined by Resolution 242, and until the United States threatens to stop all aid until this happens, every one these conferences will be as much of a farce as this Annapolis conference.
    Every new Jewish settlement makes a two state solution less and less likely. A one state solution, that is a democratic, bi-national Palestine/Israel, like what happened in South Africa, would be ideal, but is unlikely considering the mutual antagonism and distrust of the two parties. The only one state solution in which the Jewish Zionist nature of the state remained would be if Israel either expelled or killed the majority of Palestinians in their territory. By the way, these ideas are openly talked about in the Israeli media, and debated by Israeli politicians.
    Israel would be wise to accept victory before it turns it’s too late.

  10. Brad Warthen

    Michael, I’m happy to let you go on about all sorts of other issues here if you want to, such as castigating the insane settlements in the West Bank, etc. Have at it.
    None of it changes the fact that the “government” (and whether it’s the government or not is highly debatable — ask Hamas) that drew an publicized a map WITHOUT ISRAEL is the same one negotiating, or posing for a photo op, or doing whatever it’s doing, in Annapolis. That is an enormous (and, on my pessimistic days, I would say insurmountable) problem.
    I get the impression here that you’re new to the blog, and you’re reading something into what I said that simply isn’t there. You seem to be arguing with some absolutist view that sees Israelis as all good and Palestinians as all bad. Anyone familiar with my world view knows better. At the same time, I don’t shy away from describing something as I see it just because it might offend someone’s delicate sensibility.
    The genocidal attitude — which I would also describe as ‘suicidal,’ because it is self-destructive in the extreme — that has long been embraced by Fatah, and finds and even more extreme expression in Hamas, is, in and of itself, regardless of any other factors that exist in the universe, a massive stone wall across the road to peace.
    You only way you make peace with somebody you want to disappear is to make them dead. And this is not a good thing. It’s not wise; it’s not praiseworthy, and it is not excusable, even in the face of the worst persecution in the history of the world (which doesn’t quite describe the current situation, despite the stupidity of the settlements). In light of all those things that it is not, I do not consider it to be a sane way or dealing with the world.
    That is my point, that was my point, that remains my point. So what is it you THINK I said?

  11. Michael Berg

    I understand your point, that you believe the map on this webpage you cite is a danger because it represents the impossible Palestinians dream of a united Palestinian under a Palestinian flag. Because this flag doesn’t have Israel inside it, you say Palestinians are genocidal and cannot be negotiated with. You are not correct in this assessment.
    I remind you that there are many maps of Israel made in Israel, used by tourist agencies and flouted by many Israeli officials that call the occupied territories Judea and Samaria, part of a biblically given Israel that can never be divided. Few Israeli maps have “Palestine” written on them anywhere.
    So Palestinians don’t put Israel on their maps, and Israelis don’t put Palestine on their maps. So what?
    Guatemala doesn’t put Belize on its maps. On maps of Guatemala, Belize is part of Guatemala. Is Guatemala about to invade Belize? Can there be no peace between Guatemala and Belize?
    Argentina includes the Faulkands (Islas Malvinas to them) as part of their map of Argentina. Does that mean there hasn’t been some sort of reasonable peace between Argentina and Britain for the last 24 years?
    People have their nationalist dreams, but what is important is the reality of who controls what, what is feasible, and the reality on the ground. The fact of the situation is that an existing Israeli government actually controls a real map of occupied Palestine – and I write about the settlements because they are the single most difficult obstacle to negotiation and were built for the purpose of being the single most important obstacle to negotiation.
    Right now the Palestinians don’t have a country, all they have is a meaningless map. So if all you’ve got is a map, you might as well make it a pretty one that represents want you want, that represents all the land that was taken from you.
    If the two state solution is successful and Palestinians are offered an acceptable compromise that consists of the West Bank and Gaza within the parameters of UN Resolution 242, maybe you’ll get to see a map you like better, which contains both the blue Star of David and the black, red green and white of Palestine.

  12. Herb Brasher

    I think Michael has made some very good points. We are not saying that the Palestinian side is not without a lot of fault, but the West has been exacerbating the problem for decades. Brad, do you have any understanding for a people whose houses and lands were basically taken from them by force, and you were forced into a refugee camp? Would you be angry?
    Of course that does not excuse the hatred that the Palestinians have, but the situation is not helped by our total disregard of their situation, and our treatment of Israel as having a “divine right” to the land.
    Everyone I know who has actually lived close to the Palestinian situation sees things much differently that we do, as misinformed as we are by the media here. We have about as much understanding of Muslims, Palestinians, and their situation as I do of a Picasso painting–which is none at all, as you can imagine.


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