The Palestinian Authority’s Campaign against Negotiations with Israel

April 16 2019

Over the course of the past year, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and several Palestinian organizations have been propagandizing against the anticipated White House peace plan, the content of which remains unknown. In fact, the PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, has made clear that he has no intention of even considering it. Bassam Tawil comments:

Abbas has . . . repeatedly announced his rejection of the unseen “deal of the century,” [as President Trump once dubbed it]. He has referred to the plan as a “conspiracy” and the “slap of the century.” How then can he turn to his people and suddenly accept it—or any deal that might recognize Israel’s right to exist? . . .

[PA officials as well as] anti-Israel activists in the Arab and Islamic countries appear worried that, should they make peace with the “Zionist entity,” their people might be exposed to democratic values and freedom of expression. They seem concerned that Arabs and Muslims will wake up one morning and start demanding free and democratic elections like the ones held every few years in Israel. . . .

The anti-Israel campaign in the Arab and Islamic world sees peace with Israel—and not failed leadership, bad economic policies, and corruption—as the biggest threat to Arabs and Muslims. . . . Yasser Qadoura, who represents a Lebanon-based group called the Popular Committee for Palestinians in the Diaspora, says that his organization is now making a major effort to educate Arabs and Muslims about the “dangers” of peace and normalization with Israel. He said that his followers and he are planning to publish a “list of shame” containing the names of Arabs and Muslims who are caught . . . trying to make peace with Israel.

Anyone whose name appears on the list will immediately be denounced by Arabs and Muslims as a “traitor.” Treason, in many of the Arab and Islamic countries, is a charge punishable by death. The “list of shame” would therefore be seen by Arabs and Muslims as a license to kill anyone who dared even to talk about peace with Israel.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Peace Process

 

Who Changed the Term “Nakba” into a Symbol of Arab Victimization?

April 19 2019

In contemporary Palestinian discourse, not to mention that of the Palestinians’ Western supporters, the creation of the state of Israel is known as the Nakba, or catastrophe—sometimes explicitly compared with the Holocaust. The very term has come to form a central element in a narrative of passive Palestinian suffering at Jewish hands. But when the Syrian historian Constantin Zureiq first used the term with regard to the events of 1948, he meant something quite different, and those responsible for changing its meaning were none other than Israelis. Raphael Bouchnik-Chen explains:

In his 1948 pamphlet The Meaning of the Disaster (Ma’na al-Nakba), Zureiq attributed the Palestinian/Arab flight to the stillborn pan-Arab assault on the nascent Jewish state rather than to a premeditated Zionist design to disinherit the Palestinian Arabs. “We [Arabs] must admit our mistakes,” [he wrote], “and recognize the extent of our responsibility for the disaster that is our lot.” . . . In a later book, The Meaning of the Catastrophe Anew, published after the June 1967 war, he defined that latest defeat as a “Nakba,” . . . since—just as in 1948—it was a self-inflicted disaster emanating from the Arab world’s failure to confront Zionism. . . .

It was only in the late 1980s that it began to be widely perceived as an Israeli-inflicted injustice. Ironically, it was a group of politically engaged, self-styled Israeli “new historians” who provided the Palestinian national movement with perhaps its best propaganda tool by turning the saga of Israel’s birth upside down, with aggressors turned into hapless victims, and vice-versa, on the basis of massive misrepresentation of archival evidence.

While earlier generations of Palestinian academics and intellectuals had refrained from exploring the origins of the 1948 defeat, the PLO chairman Yasir Arafat, who was brought to Gaza and the West Bank as part of the 1993 Oslo Accords and was allowed to establish his Palestinian Authority (PA) in parts of those territories, grasped the immense potential of reincarnating the Nakba as a symbol of Palestinian victimhood rather than a self-inflicted disaster. In 1998, he proclaimed May 15 a national day of remembrance of the Nakba. In subsequent years, “Nakba Day” has become an integral component of the Palestinian national narrative and the foremost event commemorating their 1948 “catastrophe.”

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Arab World, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, New historians, Yasir Arafat