Palestine Papers: When Pragmatism Sparks Outrage

This essay was written by Hadar Sela, and published at The Propagandist.

The broadcast and publishing of the leaked ‘Palestine papers’ by Al Jazeera and the Guardian puts a spotlight on some issues which are actually much more interesting and far-reaching  than the papers themselves. After all, it is only those who hold completely unrealistic ideas about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict who could claim to be surprised by their content; the rest of us know that in the end, the 2008 Olmert offer is more or less how the future will look because it represents the most Israel can give and the least that the Palestinians can accept.

Nevertheless, we have witnessed waves of selective outrage from foreign journalists and commentators – their words conveying a deep sense of betrayal. Horrified by the Palestinian negotiators’ pragmatism, indignant at the very idea of compromise, they rushed to brand them as traitors and sellers-out of the Palestinian cause.

What is interesting is that these voices are for the most part not coming from the people who would actually be affected by a Palestinian/Israeli agreement. They are coming from those who sit high up in the seats of the amphitheatre, demanding loudly that their favourite gladiator below carry on the fight, despite the fact that he is already wounded, bloody and exhausted.

There is nothing new about this, of course; for many years now certain far-Left journalists, academics, politicians and other ‘pro-Palestinian’ activists who have no physical link to the conflict have displayed much more extreme and uncompromising views than the people who actually live in this region. Every time I encountered the virulent bile and blind hatred spewed by ‘pro-Palestinian’ activists during my recent years spent in the United Kingdom, I would thank my lucky stars that here in the Middle East I get to live with the Palestinian people themselves who are, in general, considerably less extreme than their foreign advocates.

Others who cheer-lead the rejection of compromise from the safety and comfort include the often foreign-born people of Palestinian descent who have made careers out of the prolonged Palestinian struggle. Most of them tend to be ideologically aligned with Hamas, such as electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah or ISM founder Huweida Arraf.   In addition, there are foreign actors such as Iran, Syria and Qatar for whom the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is a mere side-show in a much bigger spectacle and who shore up the Hamas regime financially and militarily, ensuring that reconciliation with other Palestinians remains just as remote as compromise with Israel.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

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