A Guest Post by AKUS
What I think of as the Pallypapers Affair has had the remarkable effect of bursting the bubble of fantasies that so many outside Israel have clung to regarding the prospect of a future Palestinian state. Our friends at the Guardian have been reduced to desperation as evidenced in an editorial headlined with the words: The Palestine Papers: Despair. But we still need a deal.
Yes – the world as the Guardianistas knew it has come to the end. Their awakening from the dream of a Palestinian state, an impossible fantasy nurtured since 1967, is a catastrophe only to be ranked, perhaps, with the fall of the Berlin Wall or the failure of global Communism.
Although I was initially inclined to believe the Pallypapers are forgeries, the furious denunciations by Saeb Erekat have persuaded me that they are very, if not completely, accurate records. Erekat is such a congenital liar that if he says something is false, it is extremely likely that it is true. I cannot recall an accurate statement the man has ever made.
The Guardian is twisting and turning in the wind like an evil dream catcher – not sure who to blame more. If the Pallypapers are actually true records of the talks, should the Guardian excoriate one set of its former pets, the PLO and Fatah in the guise of the Palestinian Authority, whose entire history of negotiations over the period since Camp David is revealed, as a tissue of lies and taqqiyah directed at its own people as much as the outside world? Should it, as always, just blame Israel – but how can it when it is clear that it is the Palestinians – or at least, that group of West Bank Arabs claiming to represent a non-existent Palestine – have been quietly agreeing to most of Israel’s negotiating positions?
Where the Guardian seems to be settling on developing a four pronged defensive position aimed at rescuing what little remains of its tattered fantasies about a Palestinian state and its credibility on the issue:
1. The Guardian believes that there are good Palestinian leaders and bad Palestinian leaders. The good Palestinian leaders are in Gaza, leading the terrorist group, Hamas. If there was ever any doubt, it is clear now that the Guardian is a supporter of a recognized terror group, in defiance of its own government’s stand (a child-like defiance that no doubt thrills the juveniles who appear to have taken control of the paper). In fact, by electing to publish the following letter, the Guardian has apparently taken the stance of that terrorism, not negotiation, is the answer (“Terrorism, as in this case, can as exactly be self-defence”):
(The source is found on a page of letters that appears under Ian McEwan’s letter)
Strangely, I cannot recall the Guardian accepting this position in relation to Lechi or Etzel, the Jewish groups widely branded as “terrorists” for their activity against the British mandatory power. If Yitzchak Shamir were to read this, he would no doubt grin in satisfaction.
2. The Guardian (and others) is promoting the concept that the Israelis are really to blame for the PA’s failings because of their “intransigence”. Just as the word “proportionality” was promoted to decry Israel’s response to rocket attacks from Lebanon and Gaza and recast those firing rockets as victims, so now the word “Intransigence” is being used to shift blame from the PA to Israel. You will see it scattered through the comments on the CiF threads and in this revealing clip featuring Diana Buttu, a Canadian of Arab descent and self-styled Palestinian who has served as a resource to the PA in its negotiations:
(Note, by the way, her comments in passing about the lavish and undocumented spending by the PA leadership on its trips abroad and the overall lack of transparency in the West Bank. The PA leadership has lived the good life occasionally paying the price of having to attend boring and meaningless “negotiating sessions”).
3. The Guardian is creating a new political concept to explain the PA’s failures – “folly” and “betrayal”. The fact that the PA would never actually reach an agreement does not show “intransigence” – it shows the “folly” of a weaker party trying to negotiate with a stronger party and the “betrayal” of its people, according to an article titled The Palestinian cause has been betrayed. But no more by Osama Hamdan who “is head of the Hamas international relations department” (forgive me while I smile at the concept of “Hamas’ international relations”).
According to the Guardian, Israel demonstrates “intransigence” in negotiations in agreeing to many of the Palestinian positions; the Palestinians demonstrate “folly” and “betrayal” in agreeing to any of Israel’s positions.
Of course, where that leaves us in terms of reaching an agreement has not been made clear. What is the alternative? Why was the settlement of the Northern Ireland crisis (such as it is) successful when a weaker party negotiated with Britain? Was Britain “intransigent” in not agreeing to IRA demands? Why was that not “folly” and “betrayal” by the Irish? Well, no doubt the IRA has factions that think the N. Ireland agreement was exactly that, as does Hamas – but the Guardian does not appear to support the IRA, as it does Hamas.
4. Finally, the Guardian is picking out words and phrases from the documents to show how Israel has no regard for its betters – the international community. The most obvious case is the use of a quote attributed to Tzipi Livni who apparently said she did not want a working paper to be rendered lengthy and impenetrable with citations and interpretations of international law. Seamus Milne and his henchman, Ian Black, who regards himself on an expert on all of Israel’s secrets, try to claim that this meant she opposed “law – international law in particular”. See: Guardian claim about Livni in Palestine Papers contradicted by their own document.
Notably, the Guardian seems to have dropped the settlements issue as an obstacle to negotiations. From the Pallypapers, it is clear that the differences were only those of extent and location, not principle, as Erekat, in particular, has tried to claim. The Guardian’s Nicholas Blincoe, married to a woman born in Bethlehem, had the misfortune to take up this issue in his false report on Har Homa outside Bethlehem just as the news broke. His article was thoroughly debunked (Har Homa) by Yaakov Lozowick, who unfairly actually went to Har Homa to test Blincoe’s assertions that the suburb is largely unpopulated. It is not. It will be interesting to see how the settlement issue plays out in the Guardian – and at the Obama administration headquarters.
Leaving the Guardian aside, there must be several South American leaders who are wondering what they have done. They recognized a fictitious state, whose own leaders have been doing in private what they have said in public they would not do, and who in any event do not represent 1.5 million Gazans whose theocratic terrorist leaders claim that Abbas and company have betrayed their own people. In Ireland, they must be wondering just who they will have to welcome to the new Palestinian Embassy they announced just a few days earlier – the embassy of a country that does not exist, and whose leaders are losing credibility in a way that reminds us of hot air escaping from a balloon.
Truly, the bubble has burst. Could anyone be surprised if Israeli leaders came out with their own revelations and stated that it was never possible to take Abbas, Erekat, Qureiya and the rest of the bunch seriously and that they were, in fact, forced to go through a pretense of negotiations simply to satisfy world opinion?
Might it be time to revisit the Jordanian option? Once the riots there have either deposed Abdullah, or led to a second Black September, perhaps the idea of a confederation of the West Bank with their brothers and sisters across the Jordan may sound like rather a good idea.