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Week 2360 of Occupation
Week 2360 of Occupation
Daniel Breslau

The Palestinian modest proposal postponed

Through the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, it was announced last week
that the Palestinians would not submit a formal application to the UN General
Assembly for recognition as a non-member state at this time.

The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority treads a very thin line. For years it has
struggled to find the balance between pleasing its funders and clinging to what
remains of its credibility in the eyes of the people it represents; or between
suppressing resistance and channeling popular anger. It is both an agent of the
occupation and leading a national liberation movement.

For the last two years, Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah leadership in the PA
thought they had found a successful formula for containing these tensions. They
would repress militant resistance groups in the West Bank, including not only
Hamas, but its Fatah-affiliated fighters as well. But they would carry on the
national struggle on the diplomatic level. This meant pulling out of the
discredited “peace process” (Fall of 2010) as long as Israel continued expanding
its settlements on occupied Palestinian land. And it would pursue statehood on
the international stage, through the United Nations. The reasoning was that the
more the Palestinian leadership behaved like a government, rather than a
resistance movement, the more likely it was to advance its agenda in
international forums.

US President Barack Obama has been the major reason for the failure of the
PA/Fatah strategy. At the height of Palestinian optimism about bringing the case
for statehood to the UN, in Fall of 2011, Obama said that despite his support
for a Palestinian state in the pre-1967 borders, the Palestinians must seek this
outcome in negotiations with the one government in the world that is committed
to preventing its realization. Presented with the choice of Obama’s veto in the
UN security council or Israel’s veto at the negotiating table.

So now the PA, almost a year later, is proceeding with plan B, to apply for
observer status in the General Assembly. Here a majority is assured, there is no
US veto, but the decision would grant the Palestinians something far short of
recognition as a member state. Yet this week even this modest substitute move
has now been delayed due to the desire not to antagonize Obama as he runs for
re-election in November.

The great flaw in the Palestinian approach is in even increasing the
dependence of the national movement on powerful patrons. And as long as there is
relative calm in Palestine, thanks to the Palestinian Authority and even Hamas,
the powerful patrons are focused on their domestic problems and the economic

Incidentally, the Palestinian diplomatic campaign once again explodes the
Israeli lie that the Palestinians are not interested in coexistence with Israel.
The global system of nation-states, embodied in international law and the UN,
insists that, once recognized, borders are permanent and inviolable. This is an
absolutely necessary principle of international law, because it eliminates the
temptation for states to go to war to expand their own territories. For the
Palestinians to obtain recognition of statehood within the pre-1967 borders
would be to make a binding commitment to those borders indefinitely.

Incitement part II

Hebrew Source:

A video discussion with Nurit Peled-Elhanan:

Last week we discussed the “Palestinian incitement index” put out by the
Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Here are some observations from a just-
published study of Israeli government-approved textbooks, carried out by Nurit
Peled-Elhanan, Palestine in Israeli School Books (I.B Tauris, publisher). The
sixteen books were published since the Oslo accords, starting in 1993.
Peled-Elhanan shows how the textbooks reinforce an outlook on the world in which
Zionists are heroic and just, Arabs are problematic, primitive, and Palestinians
are to blame for their current situation. Among Peled-Elhanan’s observations
from these books:

  • The frequent use of maps that do not include the green line, and present
    Israel as including the occupied West Bank and the Golan Heights.
  • Failure to identify Palestinian cultural and governmental instutions on maps
    that show their Israeli Jewish counterparts.
  • `In the future your land will extend to the west, east, north and south.” As
    a caption on a map containing all the occupied territories, but with no green
    line or any dividing line.
  • Palestinian refugees are presented as those who want to infiltrate Israel,
    rather than as simply wanting to return to their homeland.
  • Palestinians are depicted only as illustrations of “problems” they represent
    for Israel: backwardness, terror, and part of the refugee problem
  • The book “Geography of the Land of Isreal” by Aharoni and Sagi, when it
    depicts Arabs, relies on stereotypes and caricatures, such as a man with
    mustache and kafiyeh, leading or riding a camel.
  • Israeli history textbooks substitute pro-Israel propaganda line for
    historical accuracy when describing the origins of the Palestinian refugees as
    “mass flight” or “panicked flight.”
  • The books always blame the Palestinians for the failure to reach a peaceful
    settlement, and do not mention systematic Israeli violations of agreements.
  • The only book to have actually provided a Palestinian point of view, from a
    Palestinian historian was withdrawn from use and replaced by one in which an
    Israeli author provided the Palestinian point of view.

Peled does not make the mistake of calling these texts as “incitement,” but
shows that they are an education for perpetuating conflict.


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