Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Palestinians pushing very different story about aims of peace process from what you’re seeing in the Western media

by Robin Shepherd

As obsession with the settlement issue as the “great barrier” to peace in the Middle East continues along its oh so predictable journey through the ministries and media establishments of the West, now might be a good time to reflect on some really rather significant items of recent news from the Palestinian side that somehow or other have not made it into the western public discourse.

The reason why you probably haven’t heard about them is that they paint an entirely different picture of Palestinian sincerity in the current peace talks than would support the narrative of oppressed Palestinian David battling vainly for peace and justice against a ruthless and exploitative Israeli Goliath, continually “stealing” Palestinian land.

So here, courtesy of the invaluable Palestinian Media Watch media monitoring organisation, is a summary of a few choice items about what the Palestinians have been telling their own people about the talks and just how sincere they have been in cultivating an atmosphere conducive to peace.

First off, time for a sing-song, just so the whole family can join in, kids and all. Here’s a ditty that Palestinian TV was pumping into homes across the West Bank on September 21, the very day that Mahmoud Abbas told Jewish leaders in the United States that any peace accord in the current negotiations would be taken by the Palestinians as marking “the definitive end to the conflict”:

“From my wounds, my weapon has emerged.
Oh, our revolution, my weapon has emerged.
There is no force in the world that can remove the weapon from my hand.
My weapon has emerged. My weapon has emerged…
This revolutionary people has sacrificed and offered in order to live in freedom!
My weapon has emerged. My weapon has emerged…
He who offers his blood doesn’t care if his blood flows upon the ground…
As the weapon of revolution is in my hand, so my presence will be forced [upon Israel].
My weapon has emerged. My weapon has emerged.” (PA TV, September 21)

One could hardly accuse them of ambiguity! So that was the line the Palestinian Authority was pushing to its own people in Arabic, while PA President Abbas was saying something rather different in English in America.

Meanwhile on September 9, the day before Barack Obama declared the previous week’s talks between Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu to have “exceeded expectations”, the Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to Lebanon Abdullah Abdullah had an interesting message on the PA’s ambitions which was related to the his people by the Al-Hayat Al-Jadida Palestinian newspaper:

“”The PLO’s representative in Lebanon, Ambassador Abdullah Abdullah, emphasized yesterday,” the paper reported, “that the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, which have started in Washington, are not a goal, but rather another stage in the Palestinian struggle… He believes that Israel will not be dealt a knock-out defeat, but rather an accumulation of Palestinian achievements and struggles, as happened in South Africa, to isolate Israel, to tighten the noose on it, to threaten its legitimacy, and to present it as a rebellious, racist state. He noted that Israel faces international isolation with doubt cast on its legitimacy, because of its actions and the war crimes which it has carried out. He added, ‘Many Israelis in senior positions are afraid to travel to European countries lest they be put on trial for their crimes.’”

Again, no ambiguity there then. I don’t think further comment is necessary at this stage. Let me simply conclude, again courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch, with another song performed (by a Palestinian dance group) just two days before the peace talks began making it quite clear that Israel proper, and not merely the “occupied territories” remains just as much the target for “liberation” as ever. This is from official Palestinian Television.

Band member recites a poem:

“Fight, brother, the flag will never be lowered,
the torches will never die out.”
On [Mt.] Carmel (in Israel) and in the [Jordan] Valley,
we are rocks and streams.
In Lod (Israeli city) we are poems, and in Ramle (Israeli city) - grenades.
We, my brother, shall remain the revolution of the fighting nation.”

Vocalist sings:

“The Zionists went out from [their] homelands,
compounding damage and enmity.
But the Palestinian revolution awaits [them].
The orchard called us to the [armed] struggle.
We replaced bracelets with weapons.
We attacked the despicable [Zionists].
This invading enemy is on the battlefield.
This is the day of consolation of Jihad.
Pull the trigger.

We shall redeem Jerusalem, Nablus and the country.”

Robin Shepherd

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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