Daily Telegraph runs shameful anti-Israel propaganda piece
The point about propaganda is that is has to be convincing. Nabeel Shaath's piece is total rubbish from beginning to end
If I were to write a point by point refutation of former PLO foreign minister Nabeel Shaath's screed in today's Telegraph I'd be here all day.
Suffice it to say that it's the standard Palestinian cocktail of falsehoods, half-truths and omissions; the Palestinian victim complex in all its shabby dishonesty. But let me just focus on two key elements which tell you everything you need to know about the real reason that, after all these decades, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians endures.
Shaath's piece sets out to persuade Britain that it should back a forthcoming Palestinian bid to get some sort of recognition as a state at the United Nations. The whole exercise is a classic piece of Palestinian subterfuge so they can avoid direct talks with Israel. But Shaath's aim in his piece is to give Britain a good telling off for trying to discourage the Palestinians from adopting such a course of action. On the contrary, we should be right behind them.
He says: "It is unacceptable that today, 65 years after the partition of Palestine, the UK has recognised the state of Israel but not the state of Palestine.... For a country with the historic responsibility that the UK carries towards Palestine, a victim of British colonialism, this should be the least we can expect in order to repair decades of occupation and exile."
Who does this guy think he is in admonishing British foreign policy as "unacceptable"?
And, more importantly, when will the Palestinians ever start telling the truth about their own past? On November 29, 1947 they were offered a Palestinian state under the UN partition plan passed by the General Assembly. They rejected it and opted for war and violence, while the Jewish/Israeli side accepted it.
Typical of Shaath's writing are sentences like this in which he refers to the, "Palestinian catastrophe of 1948, during which approximately two thirds of the Palestinian people, Christians and Muslims, were expelled to become refugees..."
That is just a flat out lie. Most of the displaced Palestinians were not expelled at all, they either simply fled the war zones to save themselves and their families or, deliberately and calculatingly, moved out of the way to allow the Arab armies in to slaughter the Jews, or "drive them into the sea" as they so quaintly described the mooted genocide.
But of course Shaath can't mention any of this because it would ruin the claim to "victim status" that he is so desperate for. Therefore, despite having almost 800 words of text at his disposal, he airbrushes the fate of the UN partition plan (or even any mention of it whatsoever) which for anyone who believes in a two-state solution is proof positive that the reason we have never arrived at two states for two peoples is because the Palestinians have always said no.
If the Palestinians had accepted the will of the international community in 1947 there would have been no conflict, no refugees, no bloodshed. The Israel-Palestine conflict, like any other conflict, can be made as complex as you like, but at its core, it is as simple as that.
The second point I want to raise from Shaath's disgraceful article is even more worth noting than the first. Referring to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, in which the then British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour offered Britain's support for a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, Shaath says: "This pledge of support was made without consulting the indigenous Christian and Muslim inhabitants of Palestine, the Palestinian people."
The only people I am aware of in Europe who rant on about indigenous peoples in the domestic political context are racists and fascists, but perhaps Shaath has another meaning and my interpretation of these remarks as a form of blood and soil nationalism is misplaced.
In any event, if one really wanted to make a claim on the basis of how "indigenous" one or another ethno-religious group is, then it's perfectly clear that the Jews as the oldest of the groups can make the prior claim, the Christians come second, and the Muslims a somewhat distant third.
Shaath's reference to a "Palestinian people" in 1917 is also utterly dishonest. As he must know, there was only the smallest sense of Palestinian nationalism at that time among the scattered villagers and townsfolk of what for centuries had been nothing more than a backwater of the Ottoman Empire.
Most of the Palestinians' most influential families would have thought the notion of a Palestinian state or a Palestinian people as quite fanciful. A national movement did of course develop, but that happened much later.
Cutting through the obfuscations, the diversions, and the errors, deliberate or otherwise, the underlying meaning of Shaath's words is clear: the Jews have no place being in the Middle East at all, except perhaps as the kind of second class citizens they were in the Arab states prior to Israel's establishment. As for a legitimate and secure Jewish state living side by side with its neighbours? Forget it.
Oh, and by the way. I forgot to mention that the Telegraph's writer is a Palestinian "moderate". God help Israel if they ever bump into any Palestinian extremists. Oh, wait...
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