Reclaiming the narrative

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Reclaiming the narrative

Keeping the lie alive by keeping people as eternal refugees.

The day that a million “Palestinians” lost their citizenship, and became stateless refugees, without the ROR to Jordan, bear in mind, many were relocated to the area when Jordan illegally occupied it.

This is the “collective punishment” none want to talk about.

On July 31, 1988, Jordan’s King Hussein announced that – at the PLO’s request – he was cutting all administrative and legal ties with Arabs who lived on the West Bank of the Jordan river.

With the stroke of a pen, over a million “Palestinians” changed from being Jordanian citizens to becoming citizens of nothing.

Rich and well-connected Palestinians managed to hold on to their citizenship, of course.

Mahmoud Abbas Pbuh (pox be upon him) is a Jordanian citizen as well as other top PA and Fatah officials.

There were about a million Arabs living in the West Bank in 1988.

July 31 is the anniversary of a million Palestinians suffering from a real disaster. But since it was done by Arab leaders, and supposedly for their own good, no one talks about it.

Israeli-Dutch Political Group: Netherlands Refuses to Condemn Palestinian Media Honoring Terrorists as ‘Martyrs’

JULY 27, 2016 6:12 AM

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The flag of the Netherlands. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Dutch government refused to condemn Palestinian media references to terrorists as “martyrs,” claiming such labels are protected by freedom of speech, a Dutch-Israeli political group claimed on Tuesday.

According to a statement by Likud Netherlands, the Dutch government was asked by the group whether it agrees with Palestinian news agency Ma’an’s referring to the terrorist who stabbed to death 13-year-old Hallel Ariel in her Kiryat Arba home as an “Islamic martyr.”

The question was posed to the government due to its previous funding of the news agency by the Dutch Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat.

In a response to Likud Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs defended its support of Ma’an — which it said “adds to the awareness of human rights of the Palestinian population” — as a form of  promoting “media pluralism” and a “part of the freedom of expression.”

“I understand your worry surrounding the use of the word ‘shahid’ (martyr). Different interpretations of this word, however, are possible, which makes this discussion difficult,” the ministry wrote in a Dutch-language statement and translated by The Algemeiner.

Calling to mind the expression, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” the Ministry stated: “Through Palestinian eyes, this word is considered for somebody who perished in the fight for ‘the Palestinian struggle’ and ending the Israeli occupation.”

Calling the 10-month surge in terrorism against Israelis as “unfortunate,” the ministry said that attacks by individual Palestinian terrorists are violent incidents “in opposition to the occupation,” adding, “Use of the word ‘shahid’ in this localized context is not unusual.”

In response, Likud Netherlands slammed the government, writing that “it considers this glorification of violence no reason not to give more ‘development help’ to Ma’an, because it said that this is a good method to promote ‘human rights’ and to achieve the desired ‘diversity’ in Palestinian media.”

“Is it not wrong that in the last year, dozens of innocent Israeli civilians — including children — were killed by this kind of incitement, supported with Dutch tax money?” the group asked.

Likud Netherlands said the Dutch government has “no problem in subsidization [sic] this glorification at a time when the radical Islamic terror has already reached Europe and now even the French Riviera.”

Palestinian media and leadership have repeatedly hailed terrorists killed while committing attacks as “martyrs” for the Palestinian cause. In June, following the murder of Ariel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinian leadership “to clearly and unequivocally condemn this vicious murder and take immediate action to stop the incitement.”

Bron: http://www.algemeiner.com

 

Palestinians: The Fatah Mess

by Khaled Abu Toameh
June 7, 2016 at 5:00 am


  • After many years of being gagged, Fatah’s young guard is finding its voice. But while members of this faction wish to see a “changing of the guards at the Palestinian palace,” this does not mean that they have changed their attitude towards Israel.
  • Fatah’s young guard is neither interested in, nor authorized to, give up the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees — or even take the basic step of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. In short, the actors might change, but the same show will go on.
  • The international community, meanwhile, is busy burying its head in the sand of Abbas’s very messy backyard. The participants at the Middle East peace conference held in Paris last week may have missed the latest revolt against the PA president. Had they been paying attention, instead of calling for a two-state solution, they might have demanded that Abbas and his Fatah faction get their acts together, and include Israel in the show. Perhaps they also would have mentioned that this ought to happen before Hamas takes over the West Bank and creates another Islamist regime there, too.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is once again facing insurrection — this time from the young guard in his ruling Fatah faction.

Even autocracy has its limits, and after many years of being gagged, Fatah’s young guard is finding its voice.

This renewed power struggle between the young and the old guard is probably a positive sign. It seems to signal the Palestinians wish to see new faces in power. However, just because members of this faction wish to see a “changing of the guards at the Palestinian palace” does not mean that they have changed their attitude towards Israel.

This young guard, in fact, is neither interested in, nor authorized to, give up the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees — or even take the basic step of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

In short, the actors might change, but the same show will go on.

But change is sometimes good. Injecting new blood into the old and corrupt political system known as the Palestinian Authority might be a start.

So who is behind this move to introduce changes into the Palestinian leadership and what is the goal of that drive? Will the effort have any impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

The latest campaign is being waged by senior Fatah officials belonging to the Fatah Revolutionary Council – one of the factions’ two important decision-making bodies (the second is the Fatah Central Committee). The Revolutionary Council, Fatah’s legislative body, has more than 80 members, most of whom are regarded as representatives of the young guard in the faction.

Last week, more than half the members of the Fatah Revolutionary Council signed a petitioncalling for a “correctional revolution” in their faction. Some Palestinians see the petition as marking the beginning of a “revolution within a revolution.” The petition, which calls for major reforms in Fatah, is first and foremost directed against Abbas and his old guard colleagues in the Palestinian leadership.

The petition carries the signatures of several Fatah officials who until recently were considered Abbas loyalists. Abbas is thus being challenged even by those who were until now considered within Fatah among his staunch supporters. This challenge joins the one issued by several other Fatah officials, who have come out in public against Abbas’s autocratic rule.

The petition signed by the Fatah “rebels” calls for holding long-overdue elections for the faction, and accuses Abbas of marginalizing young leaders and refusing to share powers. Divisions and internal squabbling in Fatah have effectively paralyzed its ability to hold new elections or approve reforms and changes. That is another reason why Fatah is not keen on the idea of elections. Under the current circumstances, Hamas’s chances of winning remain extremely high.

Moreover, the Fatah mess has created massive schism. Never, in its fifty years of existence, has Fatah been so divided. Some of its top brass have already defected to Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Some quit Fatah because they lost hope in its ability to reform and get rid of the icons of corruption in the faction. Others went to Hamas and Islamic Jihad because they support the armed struggle against Israel and are not prepared for any compromise.

The internecine Fatah war has breached the bounds of the faction, and even of the Palestinians. This strife should gain the attention all involved in efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After all, Fatah is the Palestinian party that is regarded as Israel’s “peace partner.” Moreover, this is the faction that claims it wants to lead the Palestinians towards statehood. The international community is doing business with Fatah. What happens within Fatah’s walls should therefore be of intense international concern.

The “revolution within a revolution” taking place within Fatah ought to set off alarm bells in the international community. Fatah’s extreme current weakness casts serious doubt on its ability to deliver peace with Israel and oversee the establishment of a Palestinian state. One might look back just a single decade and remember that in only 2006, Fatah’s venality caused it to lose the Palestinian parliamentary election in the West Bank and caused Fatah’s collapse and its forcible expulsion from the Gaza Strip. The big winner: Hamas.

One man, one vote, one time? Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (left) and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas (also president of the Palestinian Authority) are pictured voting in the last election for the Palestinian Legislative Council, which took place in 2006.

The international community, however, is busy burying its head in the sand of Abbas’s very messy backyard. The participants at the Middle East peace conference held in Paris last week may have missed the latest revolt against the PA president. Had they been paying attention, instead of calling for a two-state solution, they might have demanded that Abbas and his Fatah faction get their acts together, and include Israel in the show. Perhaps they also would have mentioned that this ought to happen before Hamas takes over the West Bank and creates another Islamist regime there, too.

Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.

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Bron: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

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Palestinians and Jordan: Will a Confederation Work?

by Khaled Abu Toameh
May 25, 2016 at 5:00 am


  • In a rare moment of truth, former Jordanian Prime Minister Abdel Salam Majali admitted that the Palestinians were not “fully qualified to assume their responsibilities, especially in the financial field…”
  • According to the study, the Jordanian public is totally opposed to the idea of confederation, even after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. They fear the confederation would lead to the “dilution” of the Jordanian identity, create instability and undermine security.
  • The reality is that the two-state solution has already been fulfilled: the Palestinians got two mini-states of their own — one governed by the Palestinian Authority and the second by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
  • Today, there is only one solution: maintain the status quo until Palestinian leaders wake up and start working to improve the living conditions of their people and prepare them for peace with Israel.

Talk about a confederation between the Palestinians and Jordan has once again resurfaced, this time after a series of unofficial meetings in Amman and the West Bank in the past few weeks. Jordan, fearing that such confederation would end up with the Hashemite kingdom transformed into a Palestinian state, is not currently keen on the idea.

Many Palestinians have also expressed reservations about the idea. They argue that a confederation could harm their effort to establish an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

The confederation talk returned during a recent high-profile visit to the West Bank by former Jordanian Prime Minister Abdel Salam Majali. During a meeting with representatives of large Palestinian clans in Nablus, Majali voiced his support for the confederation idea, saying it was the “best solution for both Palestinians and Jordanians.”

The former Jordanian prime minister told some 100 Palestinians who gathered to greet him in Nablus, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank: “Jordan cannot live without Palestine and Palestine cannot live without Jordan.” Stressing that such a confederation should be created after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, Majali said that the confederation would mean that Palestinians and Jordanians would have a joint government and parliament.

In a rare moment of truth, Majali admitted that the Palestinians were not “fully qualified to assume their responsibilities, especially in the financial field, in wake of the failure of the Arab countries to support them.” So Majali is basically telling the Palestinians: “You can’t rely on your Arab brothers to help you build a state. Jordan is the only Arab country that cares about you.”

Some Jordanians said this week that Majali was speaking only on his behalf and that his views did not represent those of Jordan’s King Abdullah or the government. They pointed out that the last time Majali met with the monarch was four months ago, when King Abdullah visited him in the hospital where Majali was being treated.

Still, it is hard to believe that such a senior figure as Majali would have advocated the confederation plan without having first received some kind of green light from the royal palace in Amman.

Let us remember that Jordan has a history on this issue. In 1988, the late King Hussein “divorced” the West Bank, announcing that the kingdom was cutting its administrative and legal ties to the territory that had been under its control until 1967. Of course, the king had good reason to renounce any claim to the West Bank: the First Intifada had just begun and the Palestinians in the West Bank were considered “troublemakers” that he did not need in his Palestinian-majority kingdom.

Thus we see why many Jordanians remain opposed to the confederation idea. A studypublished in 2014 shows that the Jordanian public was against the idea.

According to the study, the Jordanian public is totally opposed to the idea, even after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. The Jordanians fear, among other things, that the confederation would lead to the “dilution” of the Jordanian identity, create instability and undermine security in the kingdom.

Jordanian columnist and political analyst Fahd Khitan echoed this fear by declaring that the confederation idea “means suicide for the Hashemite kingdom.” Noting that many Palestinians were also opposed to the idea, even after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, Khitan said that mutual confidence between the Palestinians and Jordanians has deteriorated, particularly in wake of the recent controversy over the installment of security cameras at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Under a U.S.-brokered plan, the Jordanian government was supposed to install the cameras at the holy site as a way of easing tensions between Palestinians and Israel. The controversy had erupted over Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. However, the Jordanians were forced a few weeks ago to abandon the plan after Palestinian opposition and threats. The Palestinians claimed that Israel would use the cameras to arrest Palestinians who are stationed at the Temple Mount with the mission of harassing Jewish visitors.

“The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are not just residents who can be incorporated into this or that country,” Khitan explained in his rejection of the confederation idea. “The Palestinians are a people who have their own land and Jordan is a country that is now celebrating its 70th anniversary.” So this Jordanian analyst is telling the Palestinians: “We love you and you are wonderful people, but we prefer that you stay away from us.”

While most Jordanians seem to be strongly opposed to the idea of adding another three or four million Palestinians to the kingdom’s population, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip appear to be divided over the idea.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership, which by all accounts has failed to lead its people towards statehood because of its incompetence and corruption, has yet to spell out its position regarding the proposed confederation with Jordan.

There are, however, signs that a growing number of Palestinians are beginning to entertain the idea of being part of Jordan. A recent public opinion poll published by An-Najah University in Nablus found that 42% of Palestinians favor the confederation idea. The poll also found that 59% of Palestinians do not believe that a Palestinian state would be established within the pre-1967 lines.

This means that a majority of Palestinians have lost confidence in their leaders’ ability to achieve an independent Palestinian state. One of the main reasons is the ongoing power struggle between the PA and Hamas. It is a conflict that has divided the Palestinians into two separate cultural as well as geographic entities, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The reality on the ground is that the two-state solution has already been fulfilled: in the end, the Palestinians got two mini-states of their own — one governed by the Palestinian Authority and the second by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Another sign of growing Palestinian support for the idea can be found in the Hebron area, where leaders of large clans have also begun campaigning for the implementation of a confederation with Jordan. It is estimated that nearly one million Hebronites live in Jordan and the West Bank, and this statistic is also driving support for the idea.

In recent weeks, several Hebron clan leaders visited Jordan as part of an effort to muster popular support for the confederation idea. A prominent member of the Jordanian parliament, Dr. Mohammed al-Dawaymeh, lately visited Hebron, where he met with the heads of the city’s large clans to promote the idea. Again, it is unlikely that the member of parliament was acting without the backing of King Abdullah or the Jordanian government. But his visit to the West Bank, like that of Majali before him, has sparked a new wave of speculation among Palestinians that something is being “cooked up” to enable the confederation plan to take place.

What is notable is that the confederation idea seems to be gaining support among Palestinian clans in a society that is largely a tribal one. Both Hebron and Nablus consist of large clans, and it makes sense that the two senior Jordanian figures chose to concentrate their efforts there. If you manage to convince the clans to support the idea, that approval, they believe, would create pressure on the Palestinian leaders to follow suit.

Also intriguing is that some prominent Palestinians seem to have endorsed the confederation idea — again due to their having lost confidence in their leaders’ ability to move forward and bring them a better life.

It is unlikely that prominent Jordanian politicians, who have recently talked about a confederation between the Palestinians and Jordan, are acting without the backing of King Abdullah (left). Meanwhile, a majority of Palestinians have seemingly lost confidence in the ability of their leaders, such as PA President Mahmoud Abbas (right), to achieve an independent Palestinian state. (Image source: Abdullah: World Bank / Abbas: US State Dept.)

Two of these Palestinians are Ghassan Shaka’ah, a former mayor of Nablus and a prominent PLO leader in the West Bank, and Professor Sari Nusseibeh, a respected pragmatic academic and former president of Al-Quds University.

The renewed talk about a confederation between the Palestinians and Jordan underscores the Palestinian leadership’s failure to convince many Palestinians of its ability to lead them towards statehood. It is also a sign of the revival of the role of Palestinians clans in the Palestinian political arena. For the past two decades, the power of the clans has been undermined, thanks to the presence of central governments — the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But the weakness of these two governments has prompted clan leaders to take matters into their hands and renew talk about a confederation with Jordan.

A confederation between the Palestinians and Jordan may seem to be a good idea in the long term. But for now, it is hard to see how Jordanian leader would agree to turn millions of Palestinians into citizens of the kingdom. It is also hard to see Jordanians agreeing to absorb either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority and share power with them. Still, the talk about a confederation between the Palestinians and Jordan shows that under the current circumstances, the two-state solution (a Palestinian state alongside Israel) is no longer being viewed by Palestinians as a realistic solution that will bring their people a better life.

Jordan is not the only Arab country that does not consider the Palestinians trustworthy partners. The Jordanians still have painful memories from the early 1970s, when the PLO and other Palestinian groups tried to establish a state within a state inside the kingdom, and thus threatened Jordan’s security and stability. Today, there is only one solution: maintain the status quo until Palestinian leaders wake up and start working to improve the living conditions of their people and prepare them for peace with Israel.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist is based in Jerusalem.

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Bron: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

 

Links en de Palestijnse underdog

 22 mei 2016

 

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Zoals ik vorige keer schreef is er binnen de Britse Labourpartij al langer een probleem met antisemitische uitlatingen en incidenten. Ook in andere landen gaan (radikaal)linkse politici en activisten geregeld over de schreef. In Nederland blijft het meestal bij antizionisme, en zijn het vooral allochtonen (Appa, Abu Jahjah, Yasmina Haifi, Younes Ouaali etc. etc.) en mensen als gekke Gretta en Peter Edel die de grens met antisemitisme duidelijk overstaken. Voor deze mensen is vanuit linkse hoek echter vaak wel veel tolerantie en in de media krijgen zij ondanks hun extreme opvattingen en geschreeuw een podium en kunnen zich soms zelfs als bruggenbouwer presenteren tussen de allochtone gemeenschap en de autochtonen.

Waar komt die tolerantie voor Israelhaat en zelfs antisemitisme vandaan? Een deel van het antwoord is wellicht dat als iets zo breed leeft er in de ogen van sommigen wel wat in moet zitten, het wordt gelegitimeerd doordat het een podium krijgt. Als zoveel mensen, met verschillende achtergronden, eenzelfde afkeer delen, dan heeft Israel het er misschien ook wel naar gemaakt? Dat deze redenering niet deugt blijkt uit het feit dat antisemieten precies hetzelfde zeggen over Joden: als zoveel mensen hen haten, dan hebben ze het er blijkbaar naar gemaakt. Een walgelijke bewering die in nazi-kringen populair was, maar ik kwam hem ook bij Hamas kopstukken tegen. Ook hier geldt: over zwarten of homo’s wordt (buiten extreemrechtse kringen) ook niet gezegd dat als zoveel mensen een hekel aan ze hebben het misschien ook nare mensen zijn. Waarom wringt juist links zich in zulke rare bochten om Israelhaat te rechtvaardigen of bagatelliseren?

Binnen links is men over het algemeen kritisch naar het Westen en de eigen, soms inderdaad dubieuze rol in de geschiedenis en toont begrip voor het perspectief van de niet-Westerling, die vaak ook als de zwakkere en underdog wordt gezien. Waar rechts vooral trots is op onze verworvenheden, en die aan eigen kunnen en slimheid wijdt, heeft links meer oog voor de ongelijkheid in de wereld en hoe individuen daar de dupe van kunnen zijn. Binnen radikalere kringen wordt de Westerse dominantie gehekeld en niet-Westerse culturen, die minder materialistisch en ‘puurder’ zouden zijn, geromantiseerd. Daarbij zijn ‘zij’ in deze visie vaak arm omdat ‘wij’ rijk zijn, en houden we de derde wereld via allerlei handelsverdragen en instanties, (zowel militaire en economische als politieke) inmenging en voorwaarden die aan ontwikkelingshulp zijn verbonden, nog steeds bewust in hun ondergeschikte positie.

Dit zijn onvermijdelijk generalisaties, en een blog schiet natuurlijk schromelijk tekort voor een gefundeerde uiteenzetting over links en rechts en cultuurkritiek. In grote lijnen is deze tendens echter onmiskenbaar, zoals de vele multiculturele festivals, linkse cultuurcritici en de derde wereldbeweging enerzijds laten zien en de nadruk op onze westerse waarden en ieders eigen verantwoordelijkheid anderzijds. Voor mensen ter linkerzijde voelt het hebben en uitoefenen van macht en geweld als ongemakkelijk, en heeft men dan ook meer kritiek op machtige landen met modern wapentuig dan op volken die slechts primitieve wapens tot hun beschikking hebben.

Joden gelden voor links veelal als Westers en Palestijnen als niet-Westers, en daarmee hebben zij al gauw het voordeel van de twijfel. Een Westers volk dat een niet-Westers volk verdrijft omdat het eerder zelf als minderheid is verdreven en vervolgd, dat past mooi in het plaatje van een verdorven Westen dat zijn rotzooi op anderen afwentelt. Zoals ‘wij’ op die manier het Palestijnse vluchtelingenprobleem en eigenlijk het hele conflict hebben veroorzaakt, zo hebben we ook in de rest van het Midden-Oosten verdeeldheid gezaaid en een enorme bende achter gelaten in onze zucht naar olie en macht.

Dat de Palestijnen en andere Arabieren zich ook niet altijd netjes gedroegen en gedragen, valt in het niet bij deze Westerse zonde, en daarom is het niet aan ons om met het vingertje te wijzen en hen te vertellen wat ze wel en niet mogen doen. Vandaar dat men een Abu Jahjah of Appa zo moeilijk tegen kan spreken. Zo iemand speelt schaamteloos de antikoloniale kaart uit, en stelt zich op als de zelfbewuste allochtoon die niet langer zijn ondergeschikte positie accepteert. En dat is net wat links voorstaat, dat minderheden en de ‘zwakkeren’ zich emanciperen en mondig worden. De arbeider van vroeger is de allochtoon van nu. Dan moet je niet meteen boos en verontwaardigd reageren als die ook weleens iets zegt dat in onze Westerse oren niet zo prettig klinkt.

Maar zoals de hoop dat men de arbeider kon verheffen in sommige opzichten ijdel bleek, zo valt de ‘geëmancipeerde’ allochtoon soms ook wat tegen. Het is wel erg makkelijk voor allochtonen om met wat antikoloniale retoriek in hun slachtofferpositie te blijven zitten en met het vingertje te wijzen naar dat verdorven Westen dat er overal zo’n puinhoop van maakt. Het is schijn-emancipatie, waarbij de tegenstelling tussen allochtonen en autochtonen wordt versterkt in plaats van overwonnen. Door de ander in zijn slachtofferrol te bevestigen houdt je hem juist in zijn ondergeschikte positie. Daar is men binnen links een tijd geleden al achter gekomen, en vandaar dat sommigen binnen bijv. de PvdA een stevig standpunt innamen met felle discussies tot gevolg. Men is behoorlijk verdeeld en zoekt een evenwicht tussen enerzijds begrip en mededogen voor wie als zwakker en minder kansrijk wordt gezien, en anderzijds het mensen aanspreken op eigen kunnen en verantwoordelijkheid. Zonder dat laatste is werkelijke emancipatie immers niet mogelijk.

Helaas is dit inzicht wat betreft de Palestijnen nog niet erg doorgedrongen. Zij worden, vooral binnen links, als handelingsonbekwaam en machteloos slachtoffer gezien. Pro forma worden Palestijns geweld, extreme posities en uitspraken nog weleens veroordeeld, met name als er onschuldige doden aan Israels kant zijn gevallen. Maar in de praktijk wordt alle verantwoordelijkheid eenzijdig bij Israel gelegd. Israel is immers de sterkere partij en maakt veel meer slachtoffers. Door de focus op wie sterker is verliest men oorzaak en gevolg uit het oog: wanneer Israel niet zo’n sterk leger had, was het er al lang niet meer geweest. En als het niet zo adequaat zou reageren zou er een veelvoud aan Israelische burgers zijn omgekomen. Israel is niet uit op het doden van onschuldige Palestijnen, al gaat er helaas geregeld wat mis.

Om een constructieve bijdrage aan een oplossing van het conflict te leveren is het van belang dat niet alleen Israel maar ook de Palestijnen worden aangesproken op zaken die daar tegenin druisen, en dat zijn er nogal wat. Juist door hen op hun verantwoordelijkheid te wijzen, zie je de Palestijnen als volwaardig, als volk dat keuzes maakt waaraan consequenties verbonden zijn. Helaas blijft links doorgaans steken in de bekende tirades tegen de bezetting en de nederzettingen, en worden de werkelijke oorzaken uit het oog verloren.

Dit werkt op twee fronten averechts: Israel is de eenzijdige veroordelingen meer dan zat, en hoe negatiever en vijandiger de buitenwereld zich in Israels ogen opstelt, hoe meer dat de hardliners bevestigt in hun idee dat men niks kan verwachten van de rest van de wereld en men er alleen voorstaat. Daarbij wordt graag naar de Holocaust verwezen; ook toen stond men er vrijwel alleen voor en liet de wereld het allemaal gebeuren. Nu hebben de Joden de mogelijkheid zelf actie te ondernemen om zichzelf te beschermen. Dan moet men niet zeuren als het resultaat ze niet bevalt.

En ten tweede bevestigt deze eenzijdige houding de Palestijnen in hun slachtofferrol, die zij net als sommige allochtonen erg goed weten uit te buiten. In plaats van hen aan te moedigen ook kritisch naar hun eigen aandeel te kijken, zoals sommige Israeli’s al lang doen, worden ze als willoos slachtoffer beschouwd. Ondertussen hebben Palestijnen die wel kritisch zijn het moeilijk; journalisten en ‘dissidenten’ worden door zowel Hamas als Fatah niet gewaardeerd en beknot in hun vrijheden. Sporadisch is daar aandacht voor in de media, zoals een artikel en reportage van Monique van Hoogstraten over politieke zelfmoorden in Gaza.

Macht corrumpeert vaak, maar het ontberen van macht betekent niet dat een partij geen schuld draagt. Daarbij is macht relatief. Israel lijkt in de ogen van sommigen oppermachtig met een ultramodern leger en de steun van het machtigste land ter wereld. Die band begint echter aardig wat barstjes te vertonen, en was ook vroeger niet altijd even hecht. En Israel vindt de gehele Arabische en islamitische wereld tegenover zich. In de VN en in talloze gremia trekt het daardoor aan het kortste eind, terwijl Europa en andere Westerse landen zich op de vlakte houden. Israel heeft weinig natuurlijke bondgenoten, en al helemaal niet in de regio, en is daarnaast klein en kwetsbaar. Links zou meer oog moeten hebben voor die kwetsbaarheid en voor de virulente Jodenhaat in de Arabische wereld.

Meer over de kwestie volgt in het laatste deel van dit drieluik.

Ratna Pelle

Bron: http://www.israel-palestina.info

 

Palestinian Leaders and Child Sacrifice

by Khaled Abu Toameh
May 13, 2016 at 5:00 am


  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) is now hoping that the tragedy of the Abu Hindi family will push Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to revolt against Hamas.
  • Hamas is hoping that the tragedy will further undermine the credibility of the Palestinian Authority among Palestinians, shown as being complicit in the blockade on the Gaza Strip to prevent it from receiving weapons.
  • These charges and counter-charges constitute yet more proof that the PA and Hamas are determined to pursue their fight to the last Palestinian child.
  • What happened in the Abu Hindi home is an unspeakable family tragedy. What is happening to the Palestinian people, who have forever been led by leaders who care nothing for their well-being, is a tragedy of national proportions.

The tragic death of three Palestinian siblings, killed in a fire that destroyed their house in the Gaza Strip on May 6, demonstrates yet again the depth to which Palestinian leaders will go to exploit their children for political purposes and narrow interests.

The three children from the Abu Hindi family — Mohamed, 3 years old, his brother Nasser, 2 years old and their two-month infant sister Rahaf, died in a fire caused by candles that were being used due to the recurring power outages in the Gaza Strip.

The electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip is the direct result of the continued power struggle between the two Palestinian rival forces, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

In recent months, the crisis has deepened, leaving large parts of the Gaza Strip without electricity for most of the day. Hamas blames the Palestinian Authority for the crisis because of its failure to cover the costs of the fuel needed to operate the power plants in the Gaza Strip. The PA has retorted by blaming Hamas’s “corruption” and “incompetence.”

The Abu Hindi family resides in the Shati refugee camp, where Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and other leaders of the Islamist movement live. But unlike the senior Hamas leaders, the Abu Hindi family could not afford to purchase their own power generator to supply them with electricity during the power outages. Instead, the tragedy-stricken family, like most families in the Gaza Strip, resorted to the cheapest alternative lighting method — candles.

On that horrific evening, the Abu Hindi’s three children went to sleep while the candles were burning. Hours later, the charred bodies of the three siblings were taken from the house while it was still on fire and engulfed with smoke.

In any other country, this incident would have been reported as a routine tragedy — one of the kind that could happen in any city such as New York, London or Paris.

Here, however, the death of the three children is not just another personal tragedy. This was a case, rather, of child sacrifice: the Abu-Hindi children were sacrificed on the altar of the decade-long war being waged between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. And these children are far from the first or last such victims.

In equal measure, the PA and Hamas are exploiting the tragedy of the Abu Hindi family to wage a smear campaign against each other. It is not as though these rivals have lived in harmony until now. But the political mud-slinging at the expense of the three dead children has reached repulsive levels.

The children were not even buried before Hamas leaders pointed their fingers at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, who it claimed were held personally responsible for the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri claimed that the electricity crisis was part of the PA leadership’s effort to keep the entire Gaza Strip under blockade. The PA’s ultimate goal, he explained, is to see Hamas undermined and removed from power in the Gaza Strip.

Other Hamas officials said the crisis was the direct result of the Palestinian Authority’s instance on imposing a tax on the fuel it supplies to the power plants in the Gaza Strip — a financial burden that Hamas could not afford to pay because of the already high cost of the fuel. They said that the tax was unjustified because the PA, through an arrangement with Israel (from which it purchases the fuel), gets the tax refunded. In addition, they pointed out, the PA has refused to file a request with Israel to increase its supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip.

Translation: Hamas takes no responsibility for the fact that two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip spend nearly 12 hours a day without electricity. Instead, in their view, it is the sole responsibility of Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister, whose only interest is to strip Hamas of its power.

But where did the millions of internationally donated dollars go? How much do the tunnels cost, the ones Hamas uses to launch terrorist attacks against Israel? Funding terrorists and their families? Might not that money have been better invested in keeping children from burning to death from candle fire?

Hamas leaders staged the smear well. In an unprecedented move, masked members of Hamas’s military wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam, were dispatched to attend the funeral of the three children. Hamas leaders such as Ismail Haniyeh were also present, offering condolences to the family. The cameras caught all this, demonstrating the family’s affiliation with Hamas and implying that Abbas and his Palestinian Authority were responsible for the tragedy.

Masked Hamas gunmen pose for the media at the funeral of the Abu Hindi children in Gaza, May 7, 2016.

The Palestinian Authority is also seeking to cash in on the tragedy by waging a war of defamation against Hamas. Yusuf Al-Mahmoud, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority government, dismissed the Hamas charges. “Those who continue to hijack the people of the Gaza Strip are responsible for this tragedy,” he said, referring to Gaza’s Hamas rulers. “The tragedy of the children in the Gaza Strip is the tragedy of all Palestinians. Hamas is responsible for the ongoing split (between the West Bank and Gaza Strip).” Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction has even gone as far as presenting the dead children’s grieving father as one of its own.

The Palestinian Authority is now hoping that the tragedy of the Abu Hindi family will push Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to revolt against Hamas.

Hamas is hoping that the tragedy will further undermine the credibility of the Palestinian Authority among Palestinians, shown as being complicit in the blockade on the Gaza Strip to prevent it from receiving weapons.

These charges and counter-charges constitute yet more proof that the PA and Hamas are determined to pursue their fight to the last Palestinian child.

Yet Abbas is trying to persuade the world to back his plan for establishing a sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is hard to imagine how he will even be able to step foot in Gaza after this funeral.

What happened in the Abu Hindi home is an unspeakable family tragedy. What is happening to the Palestinian people, who have forever been led by leaders who care nothing for their well-being, is a tragedy of national proportions.

Khaled Abut Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

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Israel’s Palestinian Dilemmas

by Efraim Inbar
BESA Center Perspectives
May 3, 2016

Palestinians: Preparing Their People for Statehood?

by Khaled Abu Toameh
May 3, 2016 at 5:00 am


  • The internecine strife in Fatah no longer appears restricted to the loyalists of Dahlan and Abbas. It is threatening to erupt into an all-out war between contesting camps. Some Palestinians see the internal strife as the most serious challenge to Abbas’s rule over Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, especially in wake of growing criticism among Palestinians against Abbas’s policies and autocratic regime.
  • The criticism has escalated following last week’s humiliating defeat of Fatah to Hamas at the student council election of Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah.
  • Hamas is thriving on the mayhem among the top brass of Fatah and disgust with Abbas and the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank. Rather than striving to improve the lives of Palestinians, Fatah leaders spend their time playing at being gangsters, settling scores. Meanwhile Abbas continues his charade of lies with the international community that he and his Fatah faction are ready for a sovereign state.

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction is supposed to be preparing its people for statehood. But it seems to be busy with other business.

According to sources in the Gaza Strip, Hamas security forces recently uncovered a scheme to assassinate a number of senior Fatah officials living there.

The sources claimed that ousted Fatah operative Mohamed Dahlan, who has been living in the United Arab Emirates for the past five years, was the mastermind of the alleged scheme. Dahlan’s men in the Gaza Strip were planning to assassinate Fatah officials closely associated with his rival, Abbas, the sources revealed.

Dahlan’s hit list included Ahmed Abu Nasr, Jamal Kayed, Emad al-Agha and Mamoun Sweidan.

After the alleged plot was uncovered, Hamas summoned a number of top Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip and asked them to take precautionary measures to ensure their safety.

Abbas and Dahlan have, for the past five years, been at each other’s throats. The two were once close allies and had worked together to undermine the former Palestinian Authority president, Yasser Arafat.

But the honeymoon between Abbas and Dahlan, a former security commander in the Gaza Strip and an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), ended several years ago.

Abbas woke up one morning and discovered that his erstwhile ally and friend, Dahlan, was an in fact a bitter enemy. On instructions from Abbas, Palestinian security officers raided Dahlan’s residence in Ramallah and confiscated documents and personal belongings. Dahlan fled the West Bank and has not set foot since in Ramallah or any other Palestinian city.

Next, Abbas had Dahlan dismissed from Fatah on charges of murder and financial corruption. Since then, Dahlan, who has become an “advisor” to the rulers of the United Arab Emirates, has been waging a fierce smear campaign against Abbas and his Fatah loyalists.

Now, the sources in the Gaza Strip are claiming that Dahlan was behind a plot to eliminate those loyalists.

The claim came after clashes erupted between Dahlan and Abbas supporters in parts of the Gaza Strip in recent weeks.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) and Mohamed Dahlan (right), a former Fatah commander and minister, have, for the past five years, been at each other’s throats. The two were once close allies and had worked together to undermine the former PA president, Yasser Arafat. (Image sources: U.S. State Dept., M. Dahlan Office)

Last week, the Fatah leadership expelled from its ranks nine Dahlan supporters. They wereaccused of attacking the home of Abdullah Abu Samhadanah, a senior Fatah official and Abbas loyalist.

Earlier, loyalists to Abbas and Dahlan were busy hurling chairs and stones at each other. The incident took place at a rally to commemorate slain PLO leader Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), assassinated by Israeli commandos in Tunisia in 1988. On May 1, another scuffle broke outbetween the two sides, this time in the Gaza Strip’s Jebalya refugee camp. That incident occurred during a rally held on the occasion of International Workers’ Day.

This internecine Fatah strife no longer appears restricted to the loyalists of Dahlan and Abbas. It is threatening to erupt into an all-out war between contesting camps. Some Palestinians see the internal strife as the most serious challenge to Abbas’s rule over Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, especially in wake of growing criticism among Palestinians against Abbas’s policies and autocratic regime.

The criticism has escalated following last week’s humiliating defeat of Fatah to Hamas at the student council election of Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah. Many in Fatah hold Abbas and his veteran old guard leaders personally responsible for the defeat.

In a move that shows that the plot inside Fatah is thickening, sources close to Hamas claimedthis week that another senior Fatah official in the West Bank was behind a plan to liquidate top members of the faction in the Gaza Strip.

According to reports published on a number of Hamas-affiliated websites, the former head of the General Intelligence Force in the West Bank, Tawfik Tirawi, was the mastermind behind the alleged scheme. The reports claimed that Hamas summoned Ahmed Nasr, a top Fatah official, and informed him of Tirawi’s purported plan to kill other Fatah leaders as well as Nasr himself. Nasr has confirmed that he was asked by Hamas to take precautionary measures to avoid any attempt on his life.

Hamas claims that Tirawi’s alleged plot was uncovered during the interrogation of Marwa al-Masri, a senior Fatah member. Hamas security forces arrested her as she was about to leave the Gaza Strip for Ramallah.

Dahlan and Tirawi, who were once viewed by many Palestinians as potential successors to Abbas and promising new leaders representing the “young guard,” apparently had different motives behind their alleged schemes.

While Dahlan may have sought revenge against Abbas and his loyalists, Tirawi apparently wanted to create instability in the Gaza Strip by blaming Hamas for the assassination of top Fatah officials.

Dahlan sought revenge against Abbas for expelling him from Fatah and making him into a “refugee” in the United Arab Emirates. Tirawi, for his part, wished to undermine Hamas’s rule in the Gaza Strip by killing some of his own colleagues in Fatah.

Tirawi and al-Masri, who has since been released from dentition by Hamas, have vehemently denied that they were plotting to eliminate senior Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip.

Whether true or not, Fatah’s credibility is crumbling, not only among the Palestinian public, but also among its own supporters. Hamas is thriving on the mayhem among the top brass of Fatah and disgust with Abbas and the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank. Rather than striving to improve the lives of Palestinians, Fatah leaders spend their time playing at being gangsters, settling scores. Meanwhile, Abbas continues his charade of lies with the international community that he and his Fatah faction are ready for a sovereign state.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

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Palestinians: University Students Vote For Terror

by Khaled Abu Toameh
April 28, 2016 at 6:00 pm


  • Palestinian political analysts said that the Hamas victory is an indication of what would happen if general elections were held these days in the West Bank.
  • The 3,481 students who voted in favor of the Hamas-affiliated list want to see the destruction of Israel.
  • Both Hamas and the PFLP are strongly opposed to any peace process with Israel. They continue to call for terror attacks against Israelis. The results of the election mean that most of the students at Bir Zeit University  in the West Bank, not Gaza, support groups that have chosen terrorism over peace.
  • The Hamas victory at Bir Zeit University also shows that it does not matter how much money you pour on Fatah’s campus supporter; a majority of students would still prefer to vote for terror groups that do not believe in Israel’s right to exist.
  • The main charge against Fatah is that it has failed to reform and pave the way for the emergence of new and younger leaders.
  • “Fatah needs an internal shake-up before it faces more defeats.” –Sufyan Abu Zayda, a senior Fatah official from the Gaza Strip.
  • Hamas leaders also called for holding long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories. They said they had no doubt that their movement would easily defeat Fatah.
  • Under such circumstances, it is not a good idea to promote the idea of free and democratic elections in the Palestinian territories. Worse, the talk about a renewed peace process and a two-state solution has become a tasteless joke.

Students at Bir Zeit in the West Bank celebrating Hamas victory. (Image source: Al Jazeera)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction suffered yet another  humiliating defeat at the Bir Zeit University student council elections, held on April 17. Last year, for the first time since 2007, the Hamas-affiliated student list on campus also won the vote.

The results of this year’s election at one of the Palestinians’ most important universities reflects the growing discontent with Abbas’s Fatah faction among Palestinians in the West Bank. Palestinian political analysts said that the Hamas victory is an indication of what would happen if general elections were held these days in the West Bank.

The Wafaa list, which belongs to Hamas, won 25 of the student council seats, while Fatah’s Martyrs Yasser Arafat list got 21 seats. A list belonging to the terror group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) won five seats.

Both Hamas and the PFLP are strongly opposed to any peace process with Israel. They continue to call for terror attacks against Israelis. The results of the election mean that most of the students at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank, not Gaza, support groups that have chosen terrorism over peace.

Bir Zeit University, which has 12,000 students, is located only a few miles from Ramallah, which houses the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah leadership. As such, the Hamas victory carries symbolic significance because it shows that even in Abbas’s own backyard, he Islamist movement remains as strong and popular as ever.

What Is also significant is that the Hamas victory came despite a massive crackdown by Abbas’s security forces on Hamas supporters in the West Bank. The crackdown included university students affiliated with the Islamist movement. Not surprisingly, this crackdown seems to have backfired, driving more university students into the waiting open arms of Abbas’s political enemies.

The Hamas victory at Bir Zeit University also shows that it does not matter how much money you pour on Fatah supporters on campus; a majority of students would still prefer to vote for terror groups that do not believe in Israel’s right to exist.

The results of the election should be seen more as a vote of no-confidence in Fatah and Abbas’s policies than a Hamas win.

Palestinian analysts said that the results reflected Palestinians’ distrust of Fatah, a faction that has long been suffering from internecine fighting and splits. The main charge against Fatah is that it has failed to reform and pave the way for the emergence of new and younger leaders.

Sufyan Abu Zayda, a senior Fatah official from the Gaza Strip, commented on the results of the Bir Zeit University election by saying, “Fatah needs an internal shake-up before it faces more defeats.” He noted that those who were defeated were not the Fatah-affiliated students, but their leaders.

In recent years, the Fatah leadership in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been torn apart by internal strife. In the Gaza Strip, rival Fatah activists have been beating and shooting at each other. In the West Bank, Abbas has been busy getting rid of his critics in Fatah. The latest victim of Abbas’s measures is Gen. Akram Rajoub, the Palestinian Authority Governor of the largest West Bank city, Nablus. Last week, Abbas surprisingly fired Rajoub, who is also a senior Fatah official.

Rajoub’s dismissal came days after he walked out of a Passover ceremony organized by the tiny Christian Samaritan community near Nablus. Rajoub and scores of Palestinian dignitaries walked out of the event after discovering that some leaders of the Jewish community in the West Bank had also been invited. Some Palestinians said that Abbas decided to fire the governor because his action seriously embarrassed the Palestinian Authority leadership in the eyes of the international community and threatened to damage relations between the Samaritan community and the Palestinians.

Other Palestinians, however, surmised that Abbas’s decision was related to criticism the governor had made against top Fatah officials.

Whatever the reason, many Palestinians agreed that the dismissal of the powerful and popular governor was a sign of increased tensions among the top brass of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah leaderships.

It is precisely because of this internal bickering that many Palestinians have lost confidence in Abbas and Fatah.

The results of the Bir Zeit University elections are also an indication of the Palestinian students’ rejection of Abbas’s general policies, especially regarding Israel. This is a vote of no-confidence in the Oslo Accords with Israel, the “peace process” and ongoing security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

The 3,481 students who voted in favor of the Hamas-affiliated list want to see the destruction of Israel. Similarly, the he 668 students who voted for the PFLP-affiliated list support terrorism and would also like to see the destruction of Israel. These numbers reflect the general sentiments that have long been prevalent among many Palestinians, including students and professors on various campuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“How can Fatah win any election when it is divided and its leaders are openly saying that they listen to Zionist songs?” remarked Palestinian political analyst Hisham Sakallah. He pointed out that while Hamas supporters on campus ran in the election on a ticket that promoted “armed resistance” against Israel, Fatah leaders were continuing to conduct security coordination with the Israelis.

Hamas correctly sees its victory in the Bir Zeit University election as a sign of growing Palestinian support for its “armed resistance” and the “Al-Quds Intifada” against Israel.

Hamas leaders were quick to celebrate the victory of their list. They stressed that the vote was a severe blow to Abbas, Fatah and all those who believe in any “peace process” with Israel. Buoyed by the victory, the Hamas leaders also called for holding long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories. They said they had no doubt that their movement would easily defeat Fatah. “The results of the election (at Bir Zeit University) are a victory for the path of resistance,” declared Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

The Hamas victory provides further evidence of the increased radicalization in Palestinian society. This is the direct result of the ongoing campaign of anti-Israel incitement that continues to be waged not only by Hamas, but the Palestinian Authority and Fatah too, and that is funded in large part by Europe.

Under such circumstances, it is not a good idea to promote the idea of free and democratic elections in the Palestinian territories. Worse, the talk about a renewed peace process and a two-state solution has become a distasteful joke.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

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Bron: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

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Palestinians: Insulting Religious Minorities

by Khaled Abu Toameh
April 26, 2016 at 4:30 am


  • The Samaritan incident reveals as well how the Palestinian Authority (PA) treats religious minorities in the Palestinian territories. The tiny community of Samaritans in the West Bank now faces a tough choice: continue living with the Palestinian Authority and accept its intimidation, or relocate to a safer locale.
  • In yet another blow to Palestinian Christians, the PA recently rejected demands to consider Easter an official holiday.
  • The PA has had a long-standing policy of combating “normalization” with Israelis, and this is but one unpleasant example. Yet this campaign is directed not only against Jewish settlers, but also against Jews who live inside Israel proper.
  • Showing their true colors, the activists do not hesitate to attack even Jews who are supportive of the Palestinians. Thugs assaulted people indiscriminately, including film crews, European activists and even Palestinian participants.

What happens if you arrive at a religious ceremony and discover that your Jewish neighbors are also on the guest list?

Well, if you are a representative of the Palestinian Authority (PA), you get up and leave. No matter if such a move insults your hosts: the main thing is not to sit with Jews, especially if they are from the settlements.

This embarrassing incident took place last week near the Palestinian city of Nablus, where members of the tiny Samaritan community gathered to celebrate their own Passover. The Samaritans are an ethnoreligious group in the Levant, originating from the Israelites of the ancient Near East.

Pictured above: Samaritans near Nablus celebrate their Passover holiday in April 2014.

Things went well for about two minutes on Mount Gerizim, one of the two mountains in the immediate vicinity of Nablus. That was how long it took for the Palestinian guests to walk out in protest at the presence of representatives of the Jewish settler community and IDF officers.

The Palestinian Authority Governor of Nablus, General Akram Rajoub, was an honored guest, as were Nablus Mayor Adli Yaish and dozens of Palestinians.

Rajoub later explained his decision to “vote with his feet”:

“Yes, we withdrew from the ceremony. We respect and appreciate the Samaritan community and have been regularly sharing with them in joyous and sad events. We consider them part of the Palestinian people. But we can’t accept the presence of settlers at the ceremony. Even worse, these settlers were given the privilege to speak at the ceremony, which is why we had to boycott the official event and leave the hall. We’re not prepared to talk to Jewish settlers because we don’t accept their presence among us.”

Shortly thereafter, PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank issued a statement strongly condemning the invitation of Jewish settler leaders to the Samaritan ceremony:

“This is a dangerous precedent that must not be allowed to recur. This is something unusual for the Samaritan community to do. We consider them to be part of the Palestinian people and we hope that this invitation does not represent the will of our Samaritan people. They need to fix this and prevent it from ever happening again.”

Raed Dib’i, a senior Fatah official in the West Bank, praised the Palestinian delegation’s decision to boycott the ceremony. He said that the move reflected the Palestinians’ rejection of any form of “normalization with the occupiers and the settler gangs.”

This is non-normalization in action. The Palestinian Authority has had a long-standing policy of combating “normalization” with Israelis, and this is but one unpleasant example. Yet this campaign is directed not only against Jewish settlers, but also against Jews who live inside Israel proper.

During the past few years, Palestinian political activists, including many belonging to Abbas’s Fatah faction, have been waging a fierce campaign against meetings between Jews and Arabs.

Showing their true colors, the activists do not hesitate to attack even Jews who are supportive of the Palestinians. In one incident last year, Fatah activists foiled a joint Palestinian-Israeli event called Jerusalem Hug near the Old City’s Damascus Gate. Thugs assaulted people indiscriminately, including film crews, European activists and even Palestinian participants. Needless to say, none of the Jewish participants in this “peaceful” event was a Jewish settler.

The Samaritan incident reveals as well how the Palestinian Authority treats religious minorities in the Palestinian territories.

By walking out of the ceremony, the PA leaders conveyed to the Samaritans that they are not, as it were, the ones who make up the guest list for their own party — especially if the guests are Jews living in nearby settlements, or IDF officers. The message here is clear: Follow our rules or face a boycott.

That is quite a slap in the face for the Samaritan community. And the slap came at a religious feast, not a political rally.

Time will tell, and it probably will not be long, whether the PA and its Fatah activists will strike the Samaritan community with more than a slap.

The Palestinian Authority has already “punished” the Samaritans by passing a law that cancels the only seat the community has in the Palestinian parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The only Samaritan member of parliament, Saloum Cohen, was elected in 1996. He died in 2004. Since then the community has had no representation in the PLC.

Yet lack of representation in parliament is not a top concern for the Samaritans these days. Instead, the community worries how they will be treated by the PA, now that it seems to look at them as “traitors” rather than friends. Samaritans are beginning to ask themselves whether their fate will be the same as that of the Christian minority in the Palestinian territories.

Earlier this month, Palestinian Christians accused the Palestinian Authority and Hamas of working toward erasing Christian history. The allegations came after the discovery of an ancient Byzantine church in Gaza City. Despite the important historical discovery, bulldozers were used to destroy the church artifacts in order to build a shopping mall on the site.

In yet another blow to the Christians, the PA government recently rejected demands to consider Easter an official holiday. The decision angered many Palestinian Christians. Their leaders wrote a strong letter to PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, in which they stated that they wouldn’t have been surprised if such a decision had been taken by the government of Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Malaysia.

The Samaritans are now facing a tough choice: continue living with the Palestinian Authority and accept its intimidation, or relocate to a safer locale. If they choose the former, they had better make their peace with having no peace with their Jewish neighbors.

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based Jerusalem.

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